The current activities of the Association reflect its regular annual workplan, implementation of ad hoc projects and preparation for the introduction of new activities, which aim to spread the benefits of the Association’s work to a larger audience in rural areas of Europe.
Summer Academies are residential courses for managers and animators of rural development, rural entrepreneurs, NGO and local authority staff and other professionals and students with an interest and commitment to the development and social cohesion of rural Europe. Participants from all over Europe (not only members) gather for the nine-day seminar that combines field trips, theory and workgroups for experience exchange. Lecturers and group-work facilitators are recruited from across Europe. Each year the Summer academy takes place in a different country and focuses on a different theme of rural development (e.g. education, culture, tourism etc). Summer academies have proven very successful in fostering dialogue and networking among stakeholders of rural development; and in bringing together the rural NGOs with citizens that are active and interested in facilitating and promoting rural development at European level, involving the citizens of rural areas, with special emphasis on the citizens of the new member states. The initial two summer Academies were organised with support from the European commission (Leonardo da Vinci Programme) at a stage when Euracademy Association was an informal network. From 2004 onwards, the summer academies are organised with the Association’s own funds, in cooperation with its corporate members.
As part of its capacity building activity, Euracademy Association produces manuals to accompany the Summer academies, in the form of a Thematic guide on the theme of the academy. The Thematic guides are compiled by experts in the field and are complemented by material brought in by the participants to summer academies and by the reports of participants of their field trip experiences. The Thematic guides are revised and published in a book format after the Summer Academies and are available free of charge to the members. The Thematic guides are also available in electronic format.
Euracademy services include distance learning courses (e-courses) accessible from Euracademy’s website. The courses delivered so far have been based on the material of the first three thematic guides and have been delivered in English and Polish. The delivery of distant learning courses creates a common European learning platform essential in promoting the European citizenship of its learners. The chosen method of learning is suitable for the European-wide target group and remote locations of some of the potential learners. The courses are for both students and professionals and are supported by a team of tutors in various countries who assess learners’ progress and provide support.
- Running the website and promoting networking
Euracademy’s website www.euracademy.org is a powerful tool of communication with its members and among its members, offering a members’ area that includes a discussion forum. The members’ area and discussion forum is where dialogue between participants is maintained outside the more formalised activities of the Association. It helps members resolve or discuss issues, network, look for project partners, keep up-to-date or inform other members of specific events.