All the speakers showed high level of expertise, in-depth knowledge of the subject and good communication skills

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All the speakers showed high level of expertise, in-depth knowledge of the subject and good communication skills.

The schedule of the programme was built up in the way to ensure continuous engagement of the participants in discussions, informal communication with the speakers and interactive activities. In Kaliningrad, as previously in Novosibirsk, the lecture was limited down to 45 minutes, and half an hour was reserved for questions and comments from the participants and answers of the speakers.

2. Interactive activity

The case-study method of the interactive exercise was for the fourth time selected for the EU Study Week in Kaliningrad. The participants were divided into five groups. Each of the groups received an instruction indicating the topic, the task, the story line (based on real-life situations: competition between Lady Ashton and the European Parliament, environmental protection in the EU after the accident in Hungary, economic growth and recovery from the consequences of the crisis, the “Arab” street, social protests in Europe). All the five groups were permanently monitored and advised by Moderator.

Participants were asked to prepare a seven-minute stage-play and perform it at the closing ceremony. All presentations were assessed by the evaluation committee. The criteria of the quality of team-work included the coherence and originality of the staging, the ability to capture the main problems and propose solutions.

The Evaluation committee consisted of the representatives of the EU Delegation to Russia (Andrey Kasyanenko, Alexandra Nabokina and Kevin Tait), ECORYS (Ekaterina Kuznetsova).

All groups demonstrated serious-minded approach, responsible attitude.

The interactive exercise conducted by Denis Daniilidis, Head of Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Russia, received a very positive feed-back from the participants and contributed in a large extent to the team-building efforts of the Moderator.

3. Selection and invitation of student participants

Kaliningrad is about 2-hour-fight from Moscow and located in the North-West Federal District. The location factor accounts for the fact that no other big cities could be covered by the event – Kaliningrad is separated from the mainland Russia and has Poland and Lithuania as its neighbors.

In accordance with the project Terms of Reference the invitations for the EU study week were sent out to the Russian universities that offer curriculum in political science, regional policies, international relations, etc. The following universities received information on the EU Study week in Kaliningrad: Baltic Institute of Economy and Finance, Institute “European Business School”, Institute “Kaliningrad Higher School of Management”, Kaliningrad Institute of Economy, Kaliningrad branch of the Eurasian Open Institute, Kaliningrad branch of Moscow International University, Kaliningrad branch of Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Information Technologies, Kaliningrad branch of Moscow Financial and Law Academy, Kaliningrad branch of Cotemporary Academy of Humanities, Immanuel Kant Russian State University, Kaliningrad branch of International Institute of Economics and Law, Kaliningrad branch of Saint-Petersburg Institute for External Economic Relations, Economics and Law, Kaliningrad branch of the North-Western academy of state service

The invitations sent include the following information:

  • Background information about EU study weeks;

  • Topics;

  • Dates and location;

  • Description of the Project;

  • Information about project web-site and link to the pre-school questionnaire.

In order to select the best students with good level of knowledge and understanding of the EU issues applicants were asked to complete the pre-school questionnaire. The standard questionnaire remained almost unchanged, with only one question on the location of the last EU-Russia summit replaced. The questionnaire is therefore divided into four units – general unit, knowledge unit, analysis unit, and creativity unit. The closed questions were revised and updated in line with recent changes in the structure of the European Union. The final score of an applicant summed up from two ratings – a technical one (general and knowledge units) and an intellectual one (analysis and creativity units).

Despite the strict selection of participants and a wide number of universities and institutes that received the information about the EU Study Weeks, the level of academic preparedness can only be recognized as satisfactory and in general much lower than the level demonstrated in the Volga, Siberian and Southern Federal Districts. It has to be taken in consideration that the participants from Kaliningrad demonstrated low commitment to intellectual debates, poor knowledge of the English language (some Q&A sessions had to be conducted in Russian).

The information on the questionnaire was distributed among universities by e-mail and fax. The pre-school questionnaire consisted of 12 questions of multiple choice and 6 open questions (please see Annex B – Pre-School Questionnaire).

Based on the evaluation the project team selected 24 students to whom an official invitation was sent on behalf of the Delegation (please see Annex C – List of Participants – to the present Report).

At the end of the seminar all participants received attendance certificates. In addition, special ‘Excellence’ certificates were awarded to the 3 most active and promising students:

  1. Evgenyi Kalatusha (Immanuel Kant Russian State University)

  2. Evgenya Ponomareva (Immanuel Kant Russian State University)

  3. Svetlana Vasilyeva (Immanuel Kant Russian State University)

The above mentioned students were invited to take part in the next school in 2011.

This decision was taken in consultation with the representatives of the EU Delegation to Russia.

4. Social events

The EU Study Week schedule was intense, but the programme made provision for cultural programme – the participation in the opening ceremony of the 6th EU Film Festival and the reception. Social activities included a welcome reception in the end of the first day of the EU Study Week and sight-seeing the participants undertook on their own in their spare time.

5. Dissemination

At the beginning of the seminar the participants received a pack of the following materials

  • EU Study Week programme;

  • List of participants;

  • EU Study Week in Novosibirsk Reader;

  • Information on logistics.

Traditionally we prepare an Information Kit for participants with recent articles on European issues. This time the articles selected were focused on the issues of EU-Russia relations, the Partnership for Modernization, Roma issue in the EU, the pace of political and economic reforms in Russia, harmonization of financial policies in the EU members.
6. Logistics

The EU Study Week in Kaliningrad was organised in the resort “Rauschen”. The hotel rooms were booked for all the thirty-one participants. The rooms were booked from 20th till 23rd of October .

The conference hall was convenient and fully corresponded to the need of the event. The conference room was equipped with multimedia projector, screen and microphones. Internet was available right in the conference hall through Wi-Fi. Only one technical failure occurred during interactive presentations of the participants.

Catering was organized in the restaurant of the residence. As usual the project ensured students and speakers staying at the hotel were served breakfast, lunch, dinner and two coffee breaks daily.

To get to and from the hotel the speakers were offered transfers by taxi on the arrival and departure dates. When necessary, taxi services were also arranged for speakers. All transfers according to the programme were arranged beforehand. Travel expenses to and from Kaliningrad were fully reimbursed to the students.

7. Follow-up of the EU Study Week in Novosibirsk

As required by the project’s Terms of References in order to ensure the project sustainability the Contractor proposed to develop a follow-up mechanism through using the EUSW web space. PowerPoint Presentations provided by speakers were posted on the web-site of the project.

Moderator also maintains contacts with the alumni community by keeping the participants informed on recent press publications and comments of the speakers, by disseminating information on the activity and social projects by fellow participants, and regularly posting videos and photos of the event. It is noteworthy that communication with the participants is being maintained through the EUSW web site and specially developed project emails and contacts (e.g. info@eu-studyweeks.ru and moderator@eu-studyweeks.ru). Thus, the EU Study Week project is strengthening close visual and ideological links with the EU Delegation to Russia and the European Union in general.

Prior to the EU Study Week in Kaliningrad Moderator disseminated information about the Political Science Congress organized by one of the participants of the EU Study Week in Rostov-on-Don as well as about achievements of some of the participants of previous EU Study Weeks.

8. Evaluation

At the end of the EU Study Week the organizers asked the participants to fill in the final evaluation form aimed at assessing the various aspects of the event. The evaluation form consisted of 10 questions. The template of the evaluation form is annexed to the Present Report (Annex D).

The EU Study Week in Kaliningrad was scored at 4.85. Full details are outlined in Annex E.

The first question of the evaluation form concerned the overall quality of the presentations. The participants were requested to score presentations according to the 1-5 scale on quality and were given an opportunity to comment openly.

Other questions included:

  1. Assessment of the idea of the interactive exercise with an open comment box;

  2. Evaluation of the quality of organisation of the seminar;

  3. Assessment of the quality of the programme;

  4. Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the seminar with 2 open questions on what students liked and disliked;

  5. Assessment of accommodation and catering;

  6. Question on recommendations for the next EU Study Weeks.

The average score for the idea of the interactive exercise was 4,2. It received lower marks in contrast with the EU Study Week in Rostov-on-Don and Novosibirsk probably due to insufficient time for preparation, highly intensive work during the day, and the lack of time for socializing. It may also be considered as a sign that the idea of interactive exercises shall be modified in order to make the preparation period less time-consuming and more contributing to team-building.

Other aspects were awarded with higher scores. In the first instance, the participants praised the quality of the programme and particularly the quality of the presentations by attributing 4,74 and 4,67 points to these two aspects.

Considering suggestions for next EU Study Weeks, the participants’ recommendations fell into three groups: first, the participants proposed to diversify the discussion by including such topics as education, environment, problems of regional development; second, the participants pointed out that there was not enough time for the preparation of the interactive exercises; third, the participants wished there had been more interactive lectures and presentations. .

Individual evaluation forms are available in Annex F.

9. Recommendations for the next school

Based on evaluation of the questionnaires received and lessons learned from the seminar, the following key recommendations could be summarised for consideration to improve quality and impact of the seminar in future.

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