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Non-formal and informal Learning in Chania, Crete

Participants of the Contact Seminar during Sightseeing in Chania
Historical Mosque situated in the harbour of Chania
Visit to a museum in Chania

From 20.-24. September 2009 our General Secretary attended a EU contact Seminar in Chania at Crete. The seminar startet on Sunday Evening with the introduction of all participants, their organisations and counties presenting their material on small tables and pinwalls. Here we showcased all the previous EU projects - including our two award-winning projects UNEC and C'you - C'me of course - of The Business Club AUSTRIALIA.

After an opening speech from Maria Kontogeorgi – Doxanaki, General Director of IKY and her colleagues, participants started getting to know each other with a cocktail or two. Here already first important contacts were made and former contacts renewed and welcomed e.g. with former UNEC-participant Christiana from Romania.

Monday morning the sectoral programmes were shortly explained and EQF and ECVET, respectively experiences with these, highlighted from a European and Irish perspective. Valuable practical information for a successful co-operation on a European project level rounded up the very interesting programme of this first half day. Even before Lunch 4 working groups were formed, which looked deeper into the issue of „Validation of non-formal and informal learning for adult trainees/learners in connection with ECVET and EQF“ from the perspective of the members of the particular working group, and first project ideas were generated.

After a short stroll through the old city of Chania and a lovely dinner at a typical Greek restaurant, the second seminar day startet with presentations of some very successful Greek EU projects. The afternoon, again, was dedicated to group work, while some members of all groups changed to other groups after a while, to make sure everyone got as much information as possible.

In the evening a visit to Rethymnon took place - including a guided tour through the old city and yet another delicious Greek dinner. On the last day of this intense seminar the developed concrete project ideas were presented to all other participants and after all that heard work participants enjoyed a guided tour through Chania and a Cretan Evening with typical music and dances.

The programme was really well prepared and gave all participants excellent opportunities for networking, meeting interesting people and discussions of project ideas – quite often during meals or using travel time in a coach. Every minute was dedicated to make contacts or plan furture co-operation in projects. All projects and speeches were very interesting and informative, plus there were lots of opportunities to get involved, respectively to find the right partners for future projects.

Originally having travelled to Chania with a quite clear project idea, our General Secretary came back with in total 4 possible and quite concrete project co-operations and now has to give her best, to juggle all these great ideas and projects in order to make them work!