Summary of DARE’s kickoff meeting in Murcia: February 15-18, 2016
Forty-two members of DARE representing 13 institutions from seven countries attending DARE’s kick-off meeting in Murcia. The aims of the meeting were several. First it was important for the consortium to get together and begin to know personally the members who they will be professionally collaborating with and their institutions for which they belonged. On the first day, there were plenary sessions that dealt with understanding the different contexts of diversity in Georgia and in Israel. During the first day of meetings, the European DARE partners presented their best practices in supporting peripheral populations to access their universities.
Second, it was important to grasp the innovative vision underlying the project - the Pedagogy of Difference- which was succinctly presented by the coordinator Prof. Hanan Alexander.
Third, Dr. Manana Salukvadze from Ilia State University from Georgia, presented an important plenary session regarding ERASMUS+ financial management (which was appreciated by all).
Fourth, and most important, many working sessions were dedicated to developing the framework and action plan that our 8 Israeli and Georgian HEIs intend to implement. The working groups were based on the target groups of the project and included access to education for students with disabilities, minority students, and women. During these working sessions, the different frameworks that were developed by each HEI was presented and further worked on collaboratively. The issues that were discussed included the target groups that each HEI was aiming to support, the challenges that need to be overcome in order to support these groups and the support system that needs to be established both in terms of action as well as in policy.
The discussions were lively and new ideas emerged including a new pathways for future collaboration based on DARE. When examining the diversity of our participants, we came to the conclusion that we not only “talked about diversity, we practiced it”!
Finally, although we worked hard, we discovered that after a hard days work, we were capably of “playing hard” and enjoying the lovely city of Murcia with our gracious hosts who helped us understand real authentic “tapas” as well as the special “nuances” of Spanish wine.