The Second International Summer School - AAELSSD Sustainable Development for Life Safety. Poland – Ukraine (18-30 July, 2016) was held under the patronage of Prof. Roman Kołacz, Rector of Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Prof. Stanisłav Nikolaienko, Rector of National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, and Grzegorz Dzik, Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Wrocław. Prof. Alina Wieliczko, Vice-Rector for International Relations and Regional Cooperation, made every effort to organize the School.
As Prof. A. Wieliczko remarked in her welcome address, cross-cultural education should be parallel to scientific activity. This year, Polish-Ukrainian student teams were supposed to create a modernization and sustainable development concept for the assigned farms. While working on the projects, the students practised attaining targets and win-win negotiations.
The School involved several participants from the Polish and Ukrainian universities – lecturers and students. The first week of the School was held in Kiev (NULES) from July 18-23, the following – in Wrocław (WUELS) from 26-30 July. Among the Ukrainian teachers were Prof. Natalia Demeshkant, Prof. Sergiy Zibtsev, Prof. Vasyl Yukhnovskiy, Kateryna Tuzhyk, Liudmyla Dankevych and the Polish – Prof. Piotr Nowakowski, Dr Karolina Łożna, Dr Olgierd Kempa, Dr Maciej Oziembłowski, Dr Jacek Urbaniak, Dr Joanna Markowska, Dr Jacek Markowski, Ewa Hajdasz i Zofia Prele.
The lectures on ecosystem services and their evaluation, sustainable environmental resources management, health food and many others, provided the students with the knowledge necessary to work on their assignements. During language workshops, they could learn how to make a clear and successful presentation.
Without any doubt, the highlights of the School were visits to specialist farms, like the milk goat farm near Kiev, meat cattle farm at Radomierz, trips to the NULES Botanical Garden, and a forest fire station (Kiev-Boyarka) equipped with drones and high-precision digital system for early detection of fires. The organizers did their best to make free time most enjoyable, however, it was our scarce resource, because business before pleasure.Yet still, here is a handful of impressions.
'Ukraine is beautiful, and Kiev is so much different from Wrocław. So monumental. The people were fantastic and the food excellent,' says Martyna Mońka, a PhD student of Biology and Animal Science.
'I most liked and found most useful the classes when we were trying to reach a compromise in international groups which was not an easy task. At the beginning each of us had to make their own list of fifteen objects which he would take from a sinking ship, then we had to compromise on our common list. My negotiation skills have definitely improved,' laughs Martyna. And with Paulina Drużyńska, a land management student, continues talking about the milk goat farm which impressed everybody in the group. 'A huge farm and vast investments. The owner breeds goats and produces milk, cheese, kefir, yogurt. In Poland milk goats are not popular, and in Ukraine such farms are growing. We can learn from them.' She adds that she was surprised with the high level of trust among common people. From the end of a crowded bus people passed the fare and obtained a ticket in return and the change. 'I can't imagine a similar situation in Poland that the money passed from hand to hand got to the driver and the passenger received his ticket.'
Paweł Migdał, a university bee specialist recalls, 'The amazing university apiary in the centre of Kiev was opened up specially for me so that I could see it.'
The Ukrainian guests were shown The Old Town, WTP, Wrocław ZOO with Africarium, and the Veterinary Medicine students were shown around the clinics and laboratories of WUELS Veterinary Medicine.
We should believe that not only does the Summer School offer an opportunity to make research contacts and broaden knowledge but it also helps develop deeper relationship and better mutual understanding. And building an understanding despite cultural and historical differences is the embodiment of the idea of sustainable development.
We express our sincere thanks to the Authorities of Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences and the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine and to all the people involved in the Summer School Project.