The first part of the Danube School Series 2017, the Danube Spring School in Novi Sad in May 2017, was a great and successful start of the Series of Danube Schools. As first School the Novi Sad experience, mostly organized by the DAReC team, the faculty of philosophy at the University of Novi Sad and supported by the European Danube Academy in Ulm and many international sponsors, set high goals and expectations for further schools to come.
The program in Novi Sad was versatile and all about the Danube and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. Most of the days started with interesting lectures at the University of Novi Sad in the Faculty of Philosophy. Topics of environment, culture, language and science were covered. For the afternoon interesting free time activities, connected o our topic, were planned. As a major highlight of the week the visit of Novi Sad Fort should be mentioned in this context.
Although the group of 25 participants was compound of 14 different countries, with differences in age and working experience, the atmosphere was friendly, respectful and full of creative project ideas. During the intercultural night everybody presented their own country, cultural background and regional specific habits which led to an even closer connection between the participants.
The challenge of the week was to create an own project within a group of four to five people. The projects had to be planned precisely, not only content and organization was important, also a budget plan had to be put together.
The goal was to find ideas that connect people within the Danube region and sensitize them for the cultures and nations around them. At the last afternoon the results were presented. The topics were mainly related to travel, food and great common experiences.
Below some of the project ideas from the interdisciplinary groups:
- The ship as metaphor: “Navigating the river, the Danube Connecting People Project aims to bridge different countries of the region to promote the potentialities of the river and inform local communities through the ship’s journey. The DCP Ship will connect six cities of the region, from Ulm (Germany) to Tulcea. During its trip the ship will pass Linz (Austria), Györ (Hungary), Novi Sad (Serbia) and Russe (Bulgaria). In Tulcea (Romania), a three-day international conference will gather young researchers and experts who will discuss and present their papers and researches in three different panels.” – Christina, group leader of the project “Danube Connecting People (DCP)”-
- Learning by biking : “The project brings two things together: the Danube region and the love for cycling. The danuBIKE Travel Experience is a two week cycling camp for 15 young people from 18 to 25 years old, who come together from all the Danube region countries to get to know each other’s cultures and build connections between their countries. The trip will be organized on different segments of the Eurovelo 6 route each year and will include workshops, lectures and cultural visits in the cities the participants visit.” – Lea, group leader of the project „danuBIKE experience“-
- Education and trade: „We would organize an Open University Caravan on the Danubian environment and impacts of climate change as well as on trade and cultural heritage. The event would be held at six campuses in their parks. Participating universities will invite entrepreneurs, academics, researchers and activists from the DRB countries to respond to the current challenges and contribute to the integration among the Danube region countries. In order to motivate entrepreneurs for the Danube idea a Danube Trade Fair will be held to include local and Danubian businesses in trade cooperation. As background project a for-profit art and music festival will be held at each of the six locations. Final aim of the project is to lead to establishment of a Danubian Trade Center in Vienna, Bratislava or Budapest.“ – János, group leader of the project „Open University Caravan & Danube Trade Fair“-
- A cruise through history and culture: „We worked on the proposal of ‘Danuvius’ project, an idea which was based on the cruise ship that would make a round trip on the Danube river between historic cities and towns, and would carry 35 young leaders whose expertise would contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage and history of the Danube region. While developing the project I realized strong necessity to implement this crucial knowledge and tools the Danube Spring School gave me, and maintain strong connections with young professionals for my future career.“ – Anna-Mariya, group leader of the project „Danuvius“-
Summing up, the Danube Spring School in Novi Sad was totally worth the visit. Novi Sad is a beautiful city and the DAReC team was open minded and hearted and made a huge effort to make the stay as enjoyable as any possible. The project teams of the summer schools in Budapest (Dr. Christina Griessler) and Ulm (Tanja Reißer and Paul F. Langer) also dropped in during the program, gave lectures and previews of the upcoming schools in Budapest and Ulm.
When: 03-09 May 2017.
Where: Novi Sad, Serbia
Deadline for applications extended: 10 April 2017.
The seminar is open for European master, PhD students, recent graduates and young professionals interested in the Danube region.
Number of participants: 25
Official language: English
Costs: There is no participation fee for the school. Accommodation and meals will be covered by DAReC and its sponsors, but there are no available funds for the travel costs and health insurance for the time of the school, so this must be arranged by the selected participants themselves. Otherwise, in case of illness they will need to bear the costs of medical treatment.
Implementing Partner of the Danube Spring School 2017 is