AGRINATURA Orientation Week 2011
organized at Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, August 29th – September 2nd, 2011
EURASIA 2 is a partnership programme that offers in total 120 mobility flows for students coming from 8 Asian countries (China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) to come and study in Europe. 8 EU Universities (Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and Sweden) host the students and offer specialised training in these domains. They represent a balanced mixture of "old" EU members and newer Member States, covering Northern and Central as well as Eastern EU Universities. All these European universities offer dozens of study programmes taught in areas which are linked with Agriculture, Rural Development, Environmental Protection, Management of Natural Resources (including forest, land and water) and Development Economics.
The planned exchange activities and mobility flows involve staff and students representing all levels of the participating institutions: BSc-, MSc-, and PhD-students, Post-doctorate as well as Academic staff.
The EURASIA 2 consortium encourages the diversity of the topics to be studied in Europe in the domains mentioned above. Still, two priority domains have been defined at the kick off meeting of the project:
> Integration of small scale agriculture into markets
- Agriculture and livelihood systems
- Participatory approaches
- Organisation of marketing chains, quality labels, geographic indications
- Addressing food quality, from farm to fork
- Sustainable horticulture, periurban agriculture
- IPM, organic agriculture
- Rural economics
- Agricultural policies
> Sustainable use of natural resources
- Biodiversity assessment
- Conservation of biodiversity
- Environment and agriculture
- Natural resources economics
- Water management
- Forest management, agroforestry
- Climate change and natural resources
- Environmental policies
These topics correspond to major challenges that are raised in the rural economies of the 8 Asian countries partners of the project. They are also topics for which solutions are linked to each other and where individual skills and competences should be complemented by the constitution of a strong network of alumni which will survive long after the training period.
For example, the management of natural resources cannot be defined at one national scale when forests are interconnected over the boarders and when the main water source, the Mekong river, is irrigating 5 of the 8 Asian countries concerned by this partnership. Markets are also more and more interrelated and the economic future of one precise region partly depends on changes and innovations occurring in other countries.
The Eurasia 2 consortium is willing to bring a specific Eurasia added value to the individual training of the students in these domains, by inviting them to participate in one joint workshop and seminar.
The Eurasia Orientation Week is organised jointly by the Institute for the Tropics and Subtropics of the Czech University of Life Sciences, AGRINATURA and the European Universities of the Eurasia 2 consortium. The Orientation Week brings together students who are awarded with a Eurasia 2 scholarship mainly at master and doctorate levels and representatives of the Universities where these students are starting their studies in Europe and students of Eurasia 1.
In parallel, the Agris Mundus Master of Science – Sustainable Development in Agriculture will also hold its own Orientation Week and Research Methodology Workshop. Joint sessions and common activities will be organised between the two groups.
Around 20-30 full degree (Master and PhD) students among the 120 beneficiaries of Eurasia 2 scholarships are expected to participate. They normally arrive in their host country before the Orientation week and get back there afterwards to start their studies.
The cost of the return travel from the European host university to Prague is supposed to be paid back to the student by the host university (The EACEA confirmed this expense can be considered within the 2,000 Euros for the flight ticket to Europe). The lodging and meals will be supported by the organisers.
The list of the students invited to participate will be established by each EU host university once the final selection of the students is over. This invitation will be linked to:
- the thematic orientation of the training in Europe, which should be in accordance to the two priority themes mentioned above;
- the date at which the training should start –compared to the date of the Orientation Week (there should not be a too long interval).
2. Objectives of the Orientation Week
The objectives are threefold:
> Facilitate the integration in Europe, by providing a number of services, information and specific training (cultural integration);
> Create a common “Eurasia spirit” and build team among students as well as among staff (through the participation to a number of group outdoors activities);
> Expose the students to different scientific and academic perspectives about the two priority topics mentioned above (lectures, conferences, debates…). As much as possible, these sessions will be based on active learning methods, to which Asian students are generally little familiar.