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Frontpage News 2012 Closing conference in Warsaw rounds off Polish Scholarship Fund success

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Closing conference in Warsaw rounds off Polish Scholarship Fund success

With funding worth €12 million, Poland was by far the largest beneficiary of the Scholarship Funds under the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-2009. Successful implementation of the Fund was rounded off with a closing conference held in Warsaw on 28 March.

Mirosław Marczewski, Director General of the ‘Foundation for the Development of the Education System’ (body responsible for the implementation of the Fund) and Michal Rzeszewicz, Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Norway in Poland, opened the event.

Mr Rzeszewicz congratulated the participants not only on the achievements of the Fund, but also the efficiency of the set-up: “The Scholarship and Training Fund has proven an inspiration. The funding has given a large number of students, teachers and researchers the opportunity to exchange experience and broaden cultural awareness, and develop valuable skills.” This was echoed by Mr Marczewski, who said: “The Scholarship and Training Fund has enriched the educational offer in Poland.”

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Celebrating success

During the conference, the achievements and scope of the Fund were showcased through a series of inspirational presentations, musical and multimedia performances, short films and a photographic exhibition – all presented by students, teachers and educational staff who had benefited from the Fund. Targeting all levels of education (primary, secondary, vocational, higher and adult), the Fund offered mobility grants for students, teachers, young researchers and staff. Almost 2 500 Polish students, teachers and staff received support to study or work in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The partner countries also benefited from opportunities to visit Polish institutions, paving the way for longer-term cooperation.

Building bilateral ties

Bilateral cooperation also flourished through partnership projects aimed at developing linkages between educational institutions in Poland and the partner countries. Over 100 institutions took part in numerous initiatives, such as in the development of a new programme for Peace and Development Studies at the Tischner European University in Krakow, rolled out in October 2009. As part of the project, Krakow University collaborated with the Polish Humanitarian Organisation, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty at the University of Bergen (Norway), the International Academy of Liechtenstein and the University of Iceland.

Building on this success, the second edition of the Scholarship Fund is due to be launched later in 2012. Closing the conference, Katarzyna Aleksandrowicz, Director of the Scholarship Programme, summed up: “The experiences shared today by so many of the project partners will prove a valuable inspiration for the next round. The already established contacts will serve as a platform for developing further cooperation.”

Top photo: Flautists Ewa Murawska and Ashildur Haraldsdóttir. Photo: FSS