End of the project and start of a new transdisciplinary network in Albania and Kosovo: The ConSus Final Conference

foto8On 29 and 30 September 2016, the Final Conference of the ConSus project took place in Durres, Albania. After three years of intensive collaboration, all representatives of the partner institutions, as well as invited guests came together in order to present the project results, and the future activities of the newly established ConSus network.

After an introductory speech by the rector of the Aleksander Moisiu University of Durres, Kseanela Sotirofski, the project manager and director of the RCE Graz-Styria, Friedrich M. Zimmermann presented an overview of the ConSus project. With a budget of approximately 1 Million Euro, 13 partner institutions from Albania, Kosovo, Germany, Ireland and Austria committed to initiate cooperation between actors from universities and society, and aimed to integrate sustainability into higher education.

A panel discussion took place and was led by Audrey O’Grady (University of Limerick, Ireland). Friedrich M. Zimmermann pointed out the global aspects, and the need for education for sustainable development (ESD). He illustrated its relevance by sharing information about regional, national and international projects of the RCE Graz-Styria. Kalterina Shulla (RCE Middle Albania) pointed out the successful regional projects in Albania. Her organization is collaborating with schools, public institutions and companies in order to raise awareness to sustainability topics. Redi Myshketa (University of Durres) discussed his experiences of sustainability in higher education, and in particular those of the University of Durres.

At the end of the first day, the outcomes of the ConSus project were presented to the audience. The teaching resources and the handbook were introduced by Bardha Qirezi (Riinvest College Prishtina, Kosovo). Secondly, the digital platform www.consus-tempus.com was introduced by Richard Kromp (BOKU Vienna, Austria). On the platform, all the teaching resources are described fully and contain downloadable extras, including manuals and handouts. The next part of this session was the training participation award ceremony for all participants who took part in some of the six ConSus training sessions. Approximately 126 participants gained and exchanged knowledge about sustainability, innovative teaching methods and cooperation between higher education and society. Finally, the new ConSus network was introduced by its Chair Uran Rraci (Universum College Prishtina, Kosovo). Some partners from private and public institutions were invited to become members of this network and signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

The second day started with a speech by the Albanian Federal Minister for Innovation and Public Administration, Milena Harito, and the Deputy Mayor of Durres, Florian Tahiri. After that, seven authors presented and discussed their teaching resources with invited guests, which were displayed on posters. At the end of this conference, a panel discussion took place with Muhamet Mustafa (Riinvest College), Visar Azemi (Balkan Green Foundation, Kosovo), Alejtin Berisha (Universum College), and Nevila Xhindi (Luarasi University Tirana) on the relevance of cooperation between actors from higher education and society.

The ConSus network committed to foster sustainability topics and transdisciplinary collaboration in higher education in Albania and Kosovo for the next couple of years. This will mostly be done through workshops, training sessions, conferences and the development and application of teaching resources.

A special thanks to the representative of the hosting university, Belina Bedini (Aleksander Moisiu University of Durres), the coordinator of the ConSus project, Jonas Meyer (RCE Graz-Styria) and the Chair of the ConSus network, Uran Rraci (Universum College Prishtina, Kosovo) for their work in preparing the Final Conference.

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