The Euracademy 2nd Summer Academy of 2003 The setting of the 2nd Summer Academy was a modern University campus, located at the fringe of one of the most beautiful historic towns of Greece, Ioannina. The town, surrounded by dramatic mountains, monuments of the ancient Greek and Byzantine civilisations, mirrored in the waters of the lake Pamvotis under the warm sun of July, provided a most stimulating environment for learning and reflection. 60 people from 17 different European countries kept up the spirit of Euracademy by taking part in a training and networking experiment.
Amongst them 37 mid-career professionals and 23 staff taught, learned, exchanged experience, debated and did project work for 10 days, focused on the subject of “Information Society and Sustainable Rural Development”. The students came from a variety of professions –planners, ICT professionals, managers, university staff, farmers, rural animators and others. Their average age was around 40, and just over half of them were women.
Before they arrived in Ioannina, the students received:
- A Participant’s handbook, which introduced them to the programme of the 2nd Summer Academy and to the highly participative approach to the training.
- A Thematic Guide to “Information Society and Sustainable Rural Development”.
The seven chapters of the Guide guided the structure of the theoretical part of the Academy, spanning its first four days. Power point summaries of the lectures presented during this part appear under presentations. Lectures were followed by small group discussions, creative games of simulation, project work and sum-up plenary sessions. The participants also spent half of the second day on a beautiful beach, near the famous ancient walled town of Nikopolis in the coastline of the Prefecture of Preveza, socialising and creating the right atmosphere for networking.
After this largely indoor phase, the Academy split up in 5 groups, who took off for a three-day study tour, each group going to a different location in the Region of Epirus from the west coast to the Pindos mountain chain bordering the Region in the east. The groups stayed for two nights in a variety of local accommodation, met the local people, and made formal visits and interviews to a number of SMEs, Local Authorities, Chambers of Industry and NGOs. Each group prepared a written report and a live presentation, that was given to the Academy with humour and emotion the day following their return.
The final two days of the Summer Academy included a panel discussion about the use of ICT in sustainable rural development; networking sessions for the participants to take further the contacts they had made in the Academy to plan joint activities for the future; and a formal evaluation session of the Summer Academy conducted by the external evaluator of the project.