A total of 33 students from 20 countries around the world have arrived to Palencia, Spain on January 8th to attend the “Winter School” of the Erasmus Mundus Master’s program MEDfOR. During their stay they will acquire knowledge on sustainable forest management at the Agricultural School of Palencia of the University of Valladolid, coordinated by the Sustainable Forest Management Research University Institute (iuFOR).
The participating students come from: Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, USA, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tajikistan, China and Vietnam. This is the 7th edition of the “Winter School,” in which more than 150 students from all over the world have already participated.
The Erasmus Mundus program MEDfOR is offered by a consortium of seven top-ranked Universities in Portugal, Italy, Spain, and Turkey, with complementary expertise in the field of Mediterranean forestry and natural resources partners. International organizations also collaborate, such as the United Nations Food Agency and Agriculture (FAO), the European Forest Institute (EFI), World Wildlife Fund Mediterranean Office (WWF-Mediterranean), the Mediterranean Model Forest Network (RMBM), and more.
During their stay, the students will visit various places in the province of Palencia (important both to forestry and culturally, such as the Palencia Model Forest and the Roman Villa de la Olmeda) and relevant forest areas of the Castille and León region. In addition, they will participate in the 13th International Congress of Young Researchers (Young Foresters Meeting) that the Sustainable Forest Management Research University Institute will organize in Valsaín on January 31 and February 1. The activities also include a “Your thesis in 3 minutes (3MT)” contest.
In addition, students will participate in a seminar given by Professor Fouad Mounir of the National School of Forestry Engineers (Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs Forestières, ENFI) of Morocco.
The ultimate goal of the program is that the participants are able to apply in their countries of origin the knowledge acquired during the MEDfOR Winter School. In addition, they can have another perspective of management in other parts of the world thanks to the academic and intercultural relations that take place during these weeks of coexistence. After this first year, they can choose Palencia to do their specialization and their final Master’s thesis. In this 2018-2019 course, a total of 8 students are doing the specialization and 10 will complete their Master’s thesis.
These activities, together with the latest publications of iuFOR researchers and doctoral theses presented, reaffirm the importance of iuFOR as a reference institution in both research and training in forest management worldwide.