The 21st Academy

The 21st (Winter) Academy, took place in Karditsa, Greece from 26th to 30th November 2023 in cooperation with the University of Thessaly, Department of Forestry, Wood Sciences and Design in the context of the CO-GREEN project. The theme was: How can we train Green activators to engage citizens and communities in discussing climate and green.


The Training Event of the Co-Green project was integrated into the 21st Winter Academy organized by the Euracademy Association. Euracademy, a partner in the Co-Green project, has a rich history in adult education and summer academies. This specific event drew upon the knowledge and wisdom gained from 20 previous summer academies, held in various locations across Europe, covering diverse themes related to sustainable rural development.

Over the course of four days, over 60 participants from 8 European countries, including CO-GREEN trainers from Poland, Italy, Croatia, and Greece, participated in training sessions, discussions, workshops, study tours, and plenary presentations, all centered around the theme of ‘Community-Based Action for the Green Transition of Rural Communities.’ Following the arrival of participants on the evening of Sunday, November 26, 2023, an international dinner was organized to foster a sense of community and provide opportunities for participants to meet and discuss in a relaxed environment. The next day (Monday) was dedicated to lectures and workshops, while the following day (Tuesday) was devoted to Thematic Study Trips. On the third day (Wednesday), participants prepared and presented their Study Trip reports in plenary, communicating their experiences and making proposals for engaging local Green Activators.

Following the presentation of these reports, conclusions were drawn, and an evaluation of the Winter Academy was carried out.

The 21st Winter Academy explored a number of key themes referring to the prospects and challenges of the green transition of rural communities, bringing to the front a methodology for facilitating communities to undertake action towards a more sustainable future.

Questions addressed by the Winter Academy, are indicatively the following:

  • What should a rural community do in order to achieve a green transition?
  • What are the main obstacles and challenges that should be overcome?
  • What is the expected profile, background and skills of a Green Activator?
  • How would a Green Activator act to encourage the green transition of his/her rural community?
  • What type of initiatives would he or she undertake?
  • How can community development principles and practices help the green transition and give substance to the green activator’s role?
  • How can community participation in green decision making be encouraged and achieved?

Day 1 Introduction to the green transition in rural communities and the role of green activators.

The first day was dedicated to establishing the foundational comprehension for green transition in rural communities and the role of the green activators.The speakers introduced captivating subjects for further discussion. Subsequent to their presentations, participants engaged in collaborative small-group sessions to exchange their perspectives and experiences. In the afternoon session, experts shared their valuable insights by presenting successful best practices, offering firsthand accounts of community engagement and green transition. Below, you will find individual presentations:

Keynote Speaker: The green transition of rural communities. Main issues and challenges (Ass. Prof. Wojciech Goszczyński, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun)

Keynote Speaker: The role of the Green Activator (Dr Fouli Papageorgiou, Euracademy Association)

Keynote Speaker: Community development: A methodology for enabling the Green Transition through the Green Activators (Prof. Andrea Volterrani, University of Rome Tor Vergata)

Workshop 1. Good practice examples of successful green transition of rural communities 


Workshop 2. Good practice examples of community engagement methods. 


DAY 2: Study Tours 

The second day was centered around the study trips. Attendees were organized into four groups, collectively visiting a total of 12 locations in the region of Karditsa that display exemplary green transition and community participatory practices. Participants explored these sites, exchanged their insights, and engaged in dialogues with the representatives of the initiatives to explore ways to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of their practices.  

DAY 3: Study Tour Presentations, Training Workshop and Evaluation 

The last day was devoted to the study tour reports and workshop presentations about the training of the Green Activators. In the morning the groups were invited to approach the study tour as a small real-life project, and propose solutions and further actions that can be also meaningful for the local stakeholders.They provided a brief presentation of the cases visited and the lessons learnt regarding the green transition or rural communities, including suggestions about how the Green Activator and community engagement methods would help. The reports were presented by each group to the plenary of participants in the afternoon.

Workshop: Training methods for developing Green Activators’ skills and competences 

Panel: Dr. Fouli Papageorgiou, Euracademy Association, Prof. Andrea Volterrani,  University of Rome Tor Vergata, 

The concluding segment of the Training Seminar involved  the conclusions panel, an evaluation in which participants had the opportunity to share their perspectives on the event’s organization, their learning experiences, and provide valuable feedback based on their participation. The event closed with the award of diplomas, where all participants gained a written acknowledgement of completing the Training Seminar and Winter Academy.

The Co-green project is part of the CERV funding program – ” Citizens, equality, rights and values ” -, launched by the European Commission in 2021 and active until 2027.The project is funded by the European Commission .