The seminar will be held in early May each year, this is the third consecutive year that students from different nations once again gather in Oulanka Research Station.
The station is located at the edge of the river Oulankajoki in Oulanka Nature Reserve. 20 students from Russia, Finland, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Italy and France met there for a week to discuss environmental issues concerning the Barents Region. The program included lectures, group exercises, field trips and role-playing game that included practical exercises in argumentation. For participation in the seminar were given the opportunity to perform a post-task corresponding to 5 credits at the University of Oulu.
Ida Johansson: - Since we were there as a teacher this year it fell to us to hold a lecture on environmental issues in northern Sweden. As our environment in northern Sweden is similar to other Barents countries, I see this as a good opportunity for exchange of knowledge where we can learn from each other, for example, how the problems of contaminated drinking water could be solved in Russia by methods used in Sweden or Finland . What is out of the seminar is the fellowship that occurs among the participants. This is partly because all group activities, we are working together to solve problems. But much of it will be such a good community, I think depends on the time you spend together. It is after all almost a week since we hang out and study with the others. Since the station is so isolated (in the middle of the wilderness), it becomes natural to socialize more and have time to get to know each other better.
Johan Berglund: - We participated as students during last year's seminar and it was an extraordinary experience! The format was changed slightly this year, but this time we went as a "teacher" instead, so we had the opportunity to experience it all from a new perspective. The seminar is an excellent opportunity to network and gain contacts from around the world. We still have contact with many of the participants we met last year and some have even visited us in Luleå. This summer we are planning to travel to Oulu to greet our friends, old and new!
Johan Berglund: - There is a lot of industrial development in the Arctic region. Everything from new mines to power plants and oil platforms. Amidst all this, we have our unique nature and how we from a sustainable perspective to utilize our abundant natural resources without depleting it. We are a coalition of countries along the Barents region as a home and I think it is important how we collaborates in the future for the area's development.
Ida Johansson: - Personally, I hope I will have the opportunity to work on interesting projects in the north when I'm done with my education. I think it's a good experience to have discussed, for example, environmental or energy issues with people from other countries in the region. In the future there is a chance that you end up in situations where it is expected to make decisions with representatives from these countries. Then it may be well in advance to have cooperated with them to help in understanding their way of looking at things.