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Time is a strange thing - Forum Synergies Seasons Greetings.
Dear members and friends of Forum Synergies,
“Time is a strange thing. It feels strongly condensed in our memories. It seems to evaporate in our daily routines. And it often balloons in our hopes and aspirations”*
We believe this is also true for the year which lies behind us. It was a strange thing. It will be condensed in our memories, as the year of the great pandemic. It has somehow evaporated, because our important physical gatherings could not take place. But it was also this: Our hopes and aspirations are still here, perhaps not ballooning, but as our collective energy and ambition to continue our European project together.
2020 was no business as usual. We had just published and presented our book “Rural Europe on the Move – a travel guide to transitions” in Canvas, Paris and Brussels. A few months later we realised that traveling through Europe became almost impossible. We had to accept that. And we found our space for staying in touch: Forum Synergies went digital.
That was not completely new for us, but the pandemic pushed us quicker into new spheres of communication. We “zoomed” into our homes, discovered each other’s offices and libraries, as well as kitchens, balconies, terraces and gardens. We had children and grandchildren around and offered each other “screen-sharing”, a smart tool but also an expression of transparency and solidarity. We were shocked witnessing Franjo zooming while driving… but all in all- we stayed tuned in.
For sure, the coming year will by no means be back to “normal”. The pandemic will still be around. Recovery - mentally, economically, socially, and politically - will not be an easy jump. But this is perhaps an opportunity for new space and synergies.
Rural Europe 2021 will for sure offer space for exciting new synergies: between “the energy of youth” and the experience of the elder; between the “high speed of the digital” and the “slow mode of taking time for thought”; between “herbs, health and politics”, “local food, taste and culture”; or “seeding and sharing”. These quotes are almost all titles of chapters of our book. It is still a good guide for transitions. We should all together promote it again in the coming year!
2021 will be new space for young people joining the Forum. They have enjoyed our Scholarship Program and are keen to give their enthusiasm back to the Forum. The webinar "Against all Odds, - Youth Energy for New Rural-Urban Linkages" gave us a taste of what is possible. So was the digital conference “Local food, - Reimagining Regional Responses” which Forum Synergies co-organized with Cultivate and ARC2020.
No question, digital meetings cannot replace our physical European gatherings. Chats at breakfasts and dinners, “traveling workshops” and “markets of initiatives” offer so much more than just exchange of information and ideas. At our gatherings we communicate from heart to heart. We are confident that we will enjoy those moments soon again in 2021.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year 2021, and looking forward to creating new rural synergies with you!
Katrina Idu and Hannes Lorenzen
Forum Synergies Presidents
* in: “Epilogue” of Helene Schulze and Hannes Lorenzen in “Rural Europe on the Move – a travel guide to transitions”
- Main insights and video recording available Web Conference "Local Food: Re-imagining Regional Responses - Collaborative approaches to building our rural resilience" on this page
Scholarship community WEBINAR "AGAINST ALL ODDS - Youth energy for new rural-urban linkages"
After the Corona summer 2020 with little real travelling activities we will hold a webinar on Monday 21st of December, 17:00 – 18:30 CET. It will be mixture of scholarship experiences of 2020 and other activities of hosts and trainees.
Apart from 4 main presentations there will be space for exchange and discussion!
Seeds4all - a new seeds platform launched The European Platform dedicated to seed diversity and availability (link)
The newly established platform (October 2020) has the aim of networking and bringing together seed savers and distributors in order to learn from each other. Read more here
Our Scholarship programme 2020 is still open!... Our Scholarship programme 2020 is still open!
As only a few exchanges took place due to the Covid crisis, we decided to remove the current deadline. So if you are interested and have the opportunity to travel despite the current restrictions, please contact us, we can arrange all steps of preparation so that we can become concrete as soon as the crisis allows! You will find all relevant information here
- Webinar "Growing food resilience in Covid-19 times": video and main insights available
A vision and strategy for rural Europe On the track for sustainable rural development: a process of transition. LIVESTREAM: Find the link to the high-level video conference of July 7th 2020 here.
The WORKING DOCUMENT on “A Vision and Strategy for Rural Europe – Now.” is avalable on the ARC2020 website here
- Europe’s Forests - which way to go? Interview with Lutz Fähser, project manager of the Nature-oriented forest management in the municipal forest of Lübeck, DE about the role of forests in time of climate crisis. "The current discussions on the role of forests in climate change mitigation are being conducted in science, business and politics with a sense of urgency that cannot be ignored. Are Europe’s forests at a crossroad?" link to the interview
Scholarship Programme 2020: Registration open NOW! We’ve for long now planned, prepared and updated the information in order to start our Scholarship programme 2020.
And now – as nobody can dare to plan anything - we are ready to go online! But we can arrange all steps of preparation so that we can become concrete as soon as the crisis allows! Please find all relevant information here
"RURAL EUROPE ON THE MOVE - a travel guide to transitions" still available. Our newly launched book is an invitation to dive into 25 years of experiences in sustainable rural development in Europe and to explore pathways to the future.
It is the collective work of twelve authors who share their personal stories of bringing together local communities, farmers, foresters, environmentalists, and political decision makers so as to facilitate the transition towards a more sustainable and inclusive rural Europe.
It is a call upon young people to make their rural regions and communities fit, so that they can respond to the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and social exclusion, making their own rural future more resilient and attractive.
Now available on-line - Get more information here