In the morning of the first lecture day, the participants were first shown around by Mr Martin, the Director of the Vöhlin University Castle to get an understanding of the venue and its past.
Similar to last year’s program we thought it is would be an excellent opening to the program to ask Prof. Dr. Pätzmann of the University of Applied Sciences of Neu-Ulm to held a lecture as last year at the Vöhlin Castle’s Bacchus Hall. Professor Pätzmann introduced the concept “Creative Brief“ and its creation process. Following the theoretical lecture on the subject Mr Botzenhardt gave a workshop on its application. Since the Danube Region as a whole as well as many countries still lack to present its strengths, beauties and opportunities it is sensible to start with an improvement of the marketing strategy. Further information on the lecture on the institutes website (https://www.hs-neu-ulm.de/forschung/institute-kompetenzzentren-netzwerke/marketing-branding/aktuelles/aktuelles-mub/artikel/prof-dr-paetzmann-eroeffnet-danube-summer-school-2015-mit-vorlesung-ueber-den-integrated-creati/)
After lunch at the Vöhlin Castle, Prof. Dr. Savic of the University of Novi Sad, Serbia of the Department of Economics held a lecture on demographic developments in the Danube Region and its economic implications. The Danube Region’s general demographic development is more than worrying as in the large majorities of Danube Countries almost all indicators show a decrease of people, working force, fertility and thus potential economic slowdowns.
The first part of the presentation was dedicated to demographic situation in the countries of Danube region and migration trends across Europe. The second part of presentation was focused towards brain drain in Europe, especially from the aspect of students’ mobility and its effects on brain drain trends in Danube region. The presentation and further discussions were based on the results of EUROSTUDENT survey. EUROSTUDENT is the project sponsored by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, and EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency) with the main goal to collect comparable data on the social dimension of European higher education. In the fifth wave (2012-2015), 29 European countries was included in the project. According to OECD data, international student mobility has been rising significantly faster during the last thirty years in comparison with total international migration. This difference is becoming increasingly marked in recent years. According to Beine et al (2013), from 1975 to 2008 the number of students who study abroad has been multiplied by a factor 4. Increase of international student mobility in European countries is one of the main issues in the process of developing European Higher Education Area (EHEA). One of the six objectives in the Bologna Declaration (1999) is promotion of student mobility. According to Leuven agreement in 2009, the goal for 2020 is to have at least 20% of students graduating in EHEA with experience of studying or training abroad.
Is there real threat of brain drain as the consequence of international student mobility for the mostly sending countries in the Danube region? According to Gibson and McKenzie (2010), among the highly skilled workforce there are very intensive emigration and return migration with large positive benefits for high emigration countries. Authors are also underlying the benefits for source countries in terms of knowledge flows and sending remittances but with rare cases of engaging in trade or foreign direct investment.
Until now, small effort or nothing at all has been done in order to analyse and explain the problems of international mobility in the region. International students are undoubtedly an under-researched phenomena despite obvious importance. One of the main obstacles was not the lack of interest, but the lack of relevant data about student population.
The third session pointed at the EU-Danube Strategy and project development in its framework. Marlene Hahn, senior consultant at metis (a Vienna based consultancy), is one of the major developers of many tools and programs and thus shaped the Danube Strategy’s framework. She therefore contributed valuable insights and explained the chances and difficulties of EU-Programs in general and the region in particular.