9th Summer Academy

The Euracademy 9th Summer Academy of 2010

The 9th Summer Academy was organised by the Euracademy Association in cooperation with the University of Oulu, Lönnrot Institute and LAG Living Kainuu Leader, on the theme of “Social Innovation and Sustainable Rural

Development” in Karhulanvaara, Suomussalmi, Finland and took place on the 27th June – 4th July 2010.

Karhulanvaara and Suomussalmi are located in the North-East part of Finland in the region of Kainuu. When visiting the very informative website of Karhulanvaara http://www.karhulanvaara.fi/index_eng.asp?pid=49 you will notice, that it is fairly remote, surrounded by forest and close to the Russian border, which all give a special flavour to the whole region. The region of Kainuu faces some major challenges but has also big potential, which were explored during the Summer Academy.

In this rare and highly changing rural landscape, an international delegation of 36 participants, from 9 European countries, including local or regional authorities, development agencies, LEADER and other local action groups, NGOs or other local groups active in rural development met for 8 days.

Before they arrived in Karhulanvaara the students received:

  • A Participant’s Handbook, which introduced them to the programme of the 9th Summer Academy and to the highly participative approach of the training. It also set guidelines, for the participants of how to write their own case studies and bring them along and present them to the other participants.
  • A Thematic Guide on “Social Innovation and Sustainable Rural Development”. A second edition of this, revised and enriched in the light of the Summer Academy was prepared and printed in book.

The Summer Academy began with an open space session, where participants had the chance to introduce themselves and reveal their expectations from the 9th Summer Academy. Three days of lectures, workgroups and discussions on sustainable agriculture and rural development in Europe followed.

The third and fourth day of the Summer Academy, the participants split in 4 groups and took off for a two-day study tour to different locations. The groups produced reports for the locations they visited and had them presented for all the participants.

The final two days of the Summer Academy included a panel discussion, networking sessions for the participants to take further the contacts they had made in the Academy, visits to Suomussalmi center and a formal evaluation session of the Summer Academy conducted by the external evaluator of the project.