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Greek Corner
MEdIES in the GAP Partner Network 1

Neroupoli, the Greek water-city

MARLISCO exhibition


First World Non-Formal Education Forum
 Read more »

The entire Summer University provided an intensive, innovative, multidisciplinary and experiential 12-day training. It is the result of the cooperation and synergy among Research Institutions and Networks, Universities, National and Local Authorities, NGOs, as well as key UNESCO branches.
It provided two specilisations (Courses) A and Course B.

(A) Áquatic & Social Ecology: Theory and Practice Read more on COURSE A here (external link).

(B) Integrated Water and Coastal Management - Educational and Participatory Approaches.

Agenda (COURSE A + B): The daily program (with description of Plenaries and Workshops) can be found here (vers. 07/07)

Summer University of Samothraki 2016

Course B: Integrated Water and Coastal Management - Educational and Participatory Approaches


Course B was lead by MIO-ECSDE and the UNESCO Chair and Network of UoA, with the kind support and co-organisation of  the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe Venice (Italy). GWP-Med has also been involved in the recruiting of trainees.


There were 31 participants in Course B coming from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ecuador, Greece, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. They comprised a mix of:

  • Postgraduate students of all relevant disciplines: Natural Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences and Management, Education and Humanities (from the partner universities and not only).
  • Young scientists working in Management Bodies, mainly of Biosphere Reserves and/or other designated areas, etc.
  • Young Scientists from various bodies working on Water Resources Management.

Course B trainees were mostly engaged in ecosystems and environmental management, sustainable development and education. Prevailing background was Science and Natural Sciences as well as Water Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture.


The format of the summer university combined plenary presentations and group work (both indoor and outdoor). The trainees attended daily a 2h plenary session, where the most important issues were presented by the invited lectures. Then on the two complementary directions of the Summer University (Course A and B) moved on in parallel.

Throughout the whole training the participants were working on a group assignment to develop recommendations for the sustainable management and development of the island, having as a reference point two main documents i) the Samothrace Nomination folder to the UNESCO/MAB BR Programme and ii) the IMF methodology  combining also all their findings throughout the course of the summer university. The trainees combined all their findings throughout the 2-week long Summer University in targeted presentations during the last day (see below).

THEMES COVERED and PPTs of trainers / Course B

In a nutshell the main topics of Course B were:

  • the Integrative Methodological Framework for coastal river basin and aquifer management (IMF)
  • the Integrative Water Resources Management Approaches (IWRM); as part of  the GWP Toolbox
  • The Biosphere Reserves (characteristics, function, governance, etc.)
  • Public & Stakeholder Participation (stakeholders identification, mapping and analysis, surveys)
  • Nature interpretation (on the field)
  • Modeling and Simulation of dynamic systems
  • Place-conscious learning & place-based educational pedagogy
  • Marine litter collection & recording.

Key speakers and trainers of course B included:

(1) Philippe Pypaert on UNESCO MAB - BR network and the SDGs (P2 and P4): The trainees will be introduced to to the "Man and the Biosphere" (MAB) programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves, their evolution and recent history, and in particular the provisions of the recently adopted 2015-2025 MAB Strategy and related Lima Action Plan, clearly indicating that Biosphere Reserves are a privileged tools to achieve the 2030 Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs).

In another desicated session by the same trainer participants will be introduced in more details to the functioning of these sites, from their nomination up to their governance, with a particular focus on their use as ideal places for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). An index of a BR nomination folder is available here. It can be found also at the UNESCO MAB website.

(2) Prof. Michael Scoullos (P3 and WSs): The primary working document that will be critically reflected by the participants of Course B will be the Nomination - Submission form of Samothraki as a Bioshere Reserve (2013). During the two week period the participants will carefully study this document and as they collect evidence from the lectures, the workshops and the island itself, they will be challenged to critically reflect on it, and suggest ways to amend it / enrich it. The Samothraki nomination form & annexes can be accessed here.
Another document that will be used during prof. Scoullos workshops is the Integrative Methodological Framework (IMF) for Coastal river basin and Aquifer Management (IMF). The IMF publication can be accessed here. The PPT presentation on IMF is available here. In another dedicated workshop we will focus on the principles and processes of Public Participation (PP).

(3) Prof. Tuncay (Field interpretation downstream of Fonias): My presentation at the field is based on how to interpret the marks left by the nature itself or by man. We will try to draw information from almost everything around us, the clouds, waters, rivers, soil, flies, rabbits, birds they all tell us something. Without seeing any bird around we can make an estimation about the bird species and their population size at the site just studying their drop ins or nests. We can observe the fluctuation of the water level of a wetland, or we can clearly delineate its low and high water levels. Plants tell us about the quality of the water as they inform us about the seasons of the year or the elevation or aspect of the site.

(4) Prof. Antoni Grau (on the modeling and simulation of dynamic systems: In this workshop the need of system modelling will be presented in order to know its behaviour (dynamics) and to properly actuate over the system to obtain the desired behaviour. The models presented in the session are mathematical and can be achieved in two ways: theoretical modelling (physical laws) and identification or experimental modelling (from historical data). Those models have to represent the reality in a complete and very accurate fashion by simulation techniques. The presentation of the workshop of Prof. Antoni Grau is available here.

(5) Dr. Danka Thalmeinerova on the GWP Toolbox (P5 and WS on 15-16/7): The purpose of the first day is to introduce the Global Water Partnership (GWP) activities and its online repository of knowledge products on IWRM (ToolBox). The second day of the training is to train and test application of tools in various situations. There will not be generic presentations, all situations will be driven by real case studies.  Documents  used during Danka's Workshop on the GWP Toolbox.

(6) Dr. Aristea Boulouxi (Place-conscious learning): The twin educational aims/constructs of decolonization and reinhabitation will be introduced in a theoretical and a practical way. Key questions of place consciousness will be addressed aiming at the participants’ active engagement in the place-conscious learning process. This WS may be embraced by a small scale research in order to explore the effects of place-based pedagogies of this summer school on its participants. The presentation of the workhop of Dr. Aristea Boulouxi is available here.

(7) Steven Libbrecht (The role of participatory processes in dealing with societal challenges, from the perspective of a practicioner): During the WS, the topic of stakeholder engagement will be explored, covering items such as stakeholder identification and selection, setting up the framework for stakeholder participation, as well as the use of practical models and tools for stakeholder management. Different models for setting up stakeholder participation will be proposed and discussed, including settings to deal with complex and technical challenges, that call for the integration of participatory and science based approaches. The presentation of the workhop of Dr. Steven Libbercht is available here: Part 1Part 2Part 3.

(8) Elizabeth Lipiatou and Marta Moren Abat, European Commission: Water, Social Sciences, European Research and Policy: This plenary presentation will include an overview of priorities on research social sciences, an overview of water policy, legislation and implementation of the  Water Framework Directive and input from related Policy and research. The presentation of Mr Marta Moren Abat is available here, and of Ms Elizabeth Lipiatou respectively, here.

(9) Iro Alampei, Marine Litter Activity (on beach): In recent years marine litter has become a hot environmental issue largely due to a) its increasing amounts in our seas and coasts all around the world and b) to the threatening and largely unknown effects of microplastics (objects of diameter < 5 mm) generated as the brittle plastic objects break down to small particles and spread throughout the sea column. Solving the problem requires a series of concerted actions from the states, private sector (producers, tourism & fish industry etc), local authorities and individuals, at the heart of which is Prevention and Good Waste Management. Even though beach cleanups alone cannot solve the problem, they are considered a useful tool to raise awareness and sensitise; and when combined with an accurate recording, they generate data highly useful for marine litter scientists and policy makers.

In this activity we will record marine litter and collect it (on a volunatary basis) on a deserted coast on the South of the Island. Before you engage in this activity take a look at 
(a) A PPT with instructions how we will do the CleanUp, 
(b) A detailed monitoring form used by scientists to record the spreading on Marine Litter. This form will be used by all regional seas after 2017, while in Europe the EAA will compile and monitor the yearly marine litter data.

The presentation of what the team recorded in the Marine Litter Activity, can be fount below.

The theoretical session will be complemented with a practical session with examples of ecological, educational, social, and natural resources models, integrating sustainability and social commitment.


The synthetic presentations of students, focused on Samothraki or other Bioshere Reserves. However, each focused on one of the five stages of the Integrated Methodological Framework (IMF), and can be found here:

Stage 1 ? Establishment

Stage 2 ? Analysis and Futures

Stage 3 ? Setting the Vision (Part A) and Vision based on the Interviews (Part B)

Stage 4 – Designing the future/the Plan

Stage 5 – Realising the Vision

Furthermore, the trainees of the Summer School have jointly drafted and presented a SWOT analysis based on the data collected during their stay in Samothraki.

Last but not least, the trainees elaborated the results of a beach clean up and waste monitoring survey, we did, while in Samothraki. Here is what they found.


The evaluation was done through anonymous questionnaires. It showed that the  majority of the trainees declared that they obtained a better insight in the theme of the course as “very much” (57%) and “quite a lot” (21%) while 21% declared partly. Additionally, they found that their participation was useful to their studies or professions as  72% very much & quite a lot,  and 21% declared that this was "partly" obtained. Additionally the majority (80%) found that the course fulfilled their expectations  (and 20% partly). The particular features of the course were evaluated as follows:

  • The “theoretical” parts and the participatory parts of the course were balanced: 50% partly & 50% very much.
  • The overall quality of teaching (presentations, coordination of workshops, etc.) was satisfactory: 70% very much & 30 quite a lot.
  • The course was coached in an effective way & the management of time was appropriate: 64% quite a lot & 29% very much
  • The competences and expertise of the trainers were appropriate: 71% very much & 39% quite a lot.
  • The overall duration of the summer school was adequate: 93% very much.
  • The organisational facilities - accommodation, transports, etc. were good: 71 very much & 22 % quite a lot.
  • The foreseen “free” time within the course was satisfactory: 65% very much & 35% a little.
  • The equipment used and materials were sufficient: 72% very much  & 28% quite a lot.
  • The planned field visits were appropriate: 72% very much  & 28% quite a lot.
  • The support and communication I had during my preparation for this course was satisfactory: 79% very much  & 21% quite a lot.


Read a critical reflection on the Summer Univerity by one of the trainers, Stamatis Zogaris.

The turors and organisers of Course A and B have co-signed a joint Tutor Statement, to support the accession of Samothraki on the Worrld network of Bioshere Reserves.

As an immediate follow up, the trainers and the trainees of both courses A and B have been invited to submit their contribution and course work findings to be promoted electronically (at http://sustainable-samothraki.net/ and www.medies.net).

Findinfs have been compiled in a Special Edition of “Sustainable Mediterranean” the Newsletter that is regularly published by MIO-ECSDE. The issue No 73, devoted to Samothraki Summer University was finalised in December 2016.

PHOTOS / Course A + B

Some snapshots from the summer university are following.

Registration time:


Who-is-who session/the students:

Who-is-who session/the organising group:

Biosphere Reserves presentation by P.Pypaert UNESCO Office in Venice:

Ice breakers:

Discovering the Fonias river ecosystem together with Prof N.Tuncay (left) and Dr St.Zoggaris (right):

"I  saw the snake..."

For the ...brave ones, diving in one of the Fonias River pools

Dinner with traditional live music

and the wonderful mucisians:

Visit to the archaelogical site of the Great Gods Sanctuary:

Exploring the IWRM Toolbox with Danka Thalmeinerova (right):

Time for beach clean up & litter items recording:

Prof Scoullos discussing about European perspectives of water management with dr El. Lipiatou and dr M.Moren, EU:

The mayor of Samothraki addresses the audience during the public event on July 19th:

Students statements during the public event:

Discovering & discussing about fossils in Samothraki:

Time for certificates ... finally:


But the island's ... residents remain...

... till next time ....


Organized by:

  • Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters (IMBRIW), Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR)
  • Alpen Adria University, Vienna Institute of Social Ecology
  • UNESCO Chair and Network on Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA)
  • Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and especially its Educational Initiative MEdIES
  • University of Patras
  • Network of Mediterranean Universities (MedUnNET)
  • Chemistry Education and New Educational Technologies (Äé×çÍÅÔ)
  • Technical University of Catalonia
  • University of Antalya

Supported by:

  • Global Water Partnership (GWP)
  • UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe
  • Municipality of Samothraki
  • Region of Eastern Macedonia – Thrace;
  • ScientAct SA

Under the auspices of:

  • Greek National Committee UNESCO-MAB
  • Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO
  • Special Secretariat for Water of the Ministry of Environment & Energy of Greece


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