The University of the Third Age (U3A) is an international organisation embodying the principles of lifelong education and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, in an atmosphere of mutual learning and teaching. Each U3A is a learning community, organised by and for people who can best be described as being active in retirement – the so-called “third age” of their lives.
The term “university” is used in the original and medieval sense of an association or community of teachers and scholars, united in the pursuit of knowledge. “Third age” refers to the life period of active retirement, which follows the first age of childhood and formal education and the second age of working life, and which precedes the fourth age of dependence.
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