17-20 September 2019, Jyväskylä, Finland
EUROPEA Seminar: “Our Common Environment”
Only about a couple of months ago 80 participants from 20 European countries came to Jyväskylä, Finland and they had a good reason for that: the bi-annual meeting of the EUROPEA-International!
The topic of the seminar was “Our Common Environment” and this topic was discussed in many ways during the meeting. On the very first day after the welcome speeches we had the chance to listen to three presentations. Mrs. Anne Kalmari, representative of the Finnish Parliament, had her online lecture from Helsinki. She spoke about the importance of bioeconomy for Finland and especially for the Jyväskylä area, where the meeting was actually held.
Mrs. Susanna Aro, director of education representing the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), introduced the Finnish Agriculture and Forestry Education. Then, Ms.Tiina Pärnänen from Finnish National Agency for Education (OPH) had a presentation about the key features and figures of vocational training in Finland.
The future steps and the Charter of EUROPEA were the next important topics for all of us, EUROPEAns. Our Secretary General, Elisabeth Hönigsberger inspired the audience with her speech, and made us think about the mission, the vision and the values of our network. It was yet another common working session in the process of creating our new Charter. The work will go on during the autumn and winter. Then we will meet again in spring and we expect to have the Charter ready for publishing by then.
In the afternoon we had two options for study visits, the huge Metsä Fibre plant in Äänekoski or the guided cultural Aalto tour around Jyväskylä. The excellent Visitor Center ProNemus of Metsä showed us future possibilities and innovations of bioeconomy and I honestly thought that every teacher and student should visit it and learn the values of our forestry sector. People who had chosen Alvar Aalto tour seemed also very satisfied with their choice. After the visits we had a short working session for the new project ideas at the Gradia Training Centre. The excellent three-course dinner on Wednesday was planned and served by Gradia students and staff.
The second day started with a visit to AGCO Suomi, where we got a great presentation about the history of the famous VALTRA tractors and after that an interesting tour and a delicious lunch. Many of our students do their practical trainings at VALTRA, and the excellent relations between our schools and the companies are always win-win situations.
EUROPEA seminar was also a dissemination event for the ERASMUS+ project “Feeding The World”. This project has a long and interesting history. It was nice to see how project partners worked together and also, we had the opportunity to meet some of our former project partners. Thanks to Gail, Risto, Anders, Morten, Mimmi, Sofia, Karel, Pieter-Jan, Jan, Erwin and Edit and all the participants (read Anders’s article about it: HERE).
There were three sessions of this ERASMUS+ project and two workshops working on the EUROPEA Charter, where all participants had the possibility to give their ideas for it. “New ERASMUS+ project ideas” was the topic of yet another workshop lead by Susanna Vestling from Yrkesakademi, Finland. And as always, we had a very busy schedule and so little time!
Furthermore, as a compulsory part of the agenda, the EUROPEA National Coordinators had their meeting while all the others got together to help the work of the Editorial Group. It was also possible to have some project meetings parallel to the seminar, so the short time was used very effectively!
On Thursday evening closing dinner was held at hotel Scandic Laajavuori. During the buffet dinner (Finnish food with some new twists and turns 😊 ), we heard music group Väkkärä from Ähtäri. They say that music is our common language and it really is. Although the words were in Finnish, everybody understood the themes of the songs and enjoyed them very much. After dinner it was time to hand over the EUROPEA flag to Spanish team. Paco and his colleagues received it proudly, being ready to organize our next meeting.
So, dear Friends, many thanks to all of you for coming to Finland! Have a nice winter and when spring comes let us meet again and be together in Murcia, Spain!
Acknowledgements: many thanks to EUROPEA-Finland, Hilkka (FI) and Pirkko (FI) 🙂
Picture1: Traditional EUROPEA group photo 2019. Picture: Kim Peltoniemi/Gradia Media-ala (FI)
Picture2: Before the meeting the final decorations were made by Gradia adult students and their teacher Outi Honkanen. Photo: Hilkka Kämäräinen (FI)
For more photos visit our Facebook page.