Eurasia mid-term conference, Oslo, 24-25.04.2019

Ane LANDØY, University of Bergen Library, Norway, project coordinator

Along with app 40 other project leaders from the Eurasia programme, I (as the only from our “Modernization of academic library services in Moldova”) took part in the Mid-term conference in Oslo 24.-25.04.2019 (The Programme for the Eurasia mid-term conference).

After a welcoming opening by acting head of department within Diku, Herdis Kolle, Kerstin Wahlgren from the RN Ministry of foreign affairs emphasized the benefits of cooperation projects like Eurasia. The Ministry sees education as a priority, and especially supporting countries with “western” educational reforms. She also mentioned the importance of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. Our projects increase safety and good governance in the receiving countries, and through our cooperation it is possible to have a presence in countries where Norway does not have an embassy.

Maia Chankseliani from the University of Oxford delivered the key note, on “Higher education and international mobility in post-Soviet Eurasia: Trends, rationales, actors and implications”. This was a highly interesting key note, building on her research published in International Journal of Educational Development (September 2018, Vol.62, pp.281-288, ISSN: 0738-0593 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2018.07.006). The article is called “The politics of student mobility: Links between outbound student flows and the democratic development of post-Soviet Eurasia”.

Abstract: “Former Soviet countries with higher proportions of students studying in Europe/the USA have achieved higher levels of democratic development. Conceptually and empirically, student mobility to Russia is a contrasting force to democratization through mobility to Europe/the USA. Studying abroad can be viewed as a mode of socialization that is likely to induct students into the norms and rules of a host community. The study offers new empirical material to link student mobility and the levels of attained democracy in the former Soviet countries. Theoretically-informed analysis of cross-sectional data shows that the former Soviet countries with higher proportions of students studying in Europe or the United States have achieved higher levels of democratic development. In contrast, countries with higher proportions of students studying in the most popular, authoritarian destination – Russia – have reached significantly lower levels of democratic development. The study uses ideas of democratic socialisation at universities as well as apprenticeships in democracy to advance the intellectual agenda of linking two fields – educational studies and political science”.

Next, there was a panel on “The Eurasia-programme: Potential for societal change?” in which I was a panellist, and spoke about the potential for societal change inherent in developing (academic) libraries.

The first ten projects presented themselves, and then Ingrid Blystad Seim from Diku spoke on “Project administration: Challenges and recommendations – with a focus on budget and reporting”. We seem to have good routines in place to combat the challenges she mentioned in reporting and in the transfer of money. We also had a group session on project administration before the next 10 projects presented themselves. The excursion was by bus to Holmenkollen and Vigelandsparken, before festive dinner at Bygdøy.

The first point on the agenda Day 2 was 7 project presentations, followed by “Some online resources from Diku” and “Student mobility”, instead of “Virtual education”. I presented our project as the first in the last group of 7 projects. The first working group session was on “Student mobility”.

Also, we were informed about, and encouraged to “planning ahead” to other funding sources (Erasmus+) by Diku, and successful project leader.

There was a group photo taken at the grass of the national stadium. There was also a group work on “Formalizing cooperation: How to make project results sustainable”.

Recommended for reading:

CAMPBELL, Anne C. How international scholarship recipients perceive their contributions to the development of their home countries: Findings from a comparative study of Georgia and Moldova. In: International Journal of Educational Development, Volume 55, 2017, pp. 56-62. ISSN 0738-0593.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.05.004.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738059316302759.

CHANKSELIANI, Maia. The politics of student mobility: Links between outbound student flows and the democratic development of post-Soviet Eurasia. In: International Journal of Educational Development, Volume 62, 2018, pp. 281-288. ISSN 0738-0593.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2018.07.006.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738059317304790.

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