Summer School in Vale

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Participants of the Summer School

Since 2003, the Heinrich Boell Foundation has supported a scholarship program for young academics from across the South Caucasus. This year, beneficiaries of the program launched a Young Researcher Network in the three republics of the region. Two of the organizations were founded by representatives of the Institute of New Social Studies (INSS, Armenia) and the Centre for Study of Social Practices (CSSP, Georgia).

The 2010 summer school was organized by the Centre for Studies of Social Practices in cooperation with a team of sociologists from Russia (Centre of Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg) and Armenian partners. The summer school was held in Vale, a small town on the border between Georgia and Turkey from 27 September to 7 October 2010.

The small town of Vale, where local people come from various ethnic and religious groups, provided participants with a unique research environment. Most of the participants were from the alumni network and expert group of Boell scholarship program, while some others were selected through an open competition.

During the summer school, there were presentations on different aspects of social life in borderland region. Methodological problems of conducting similar research were also examined. At the same time, young researchers were introduced the tradition of holding summer schools by the previous year participants.

At the end of the summer school, a concluding seminar was held in the office of Heinrich Boell Foundation. All participants presented the preliminary results their research. Each of these presentations was followed by lively discussions highlighting both the merits and the problems of the participant’s work. As a result, the researchers were able to receive valuable feedback from colleagues that might help them later to summarize their findings in clear and sophisticated manner. The second part of the seminar was dedicated to drawing up future plans for cooperation between teams of sociologists participating in the school.  In this regard, several ideas for future research projects were expressed.

The summer school was organized with the financial support of Open Society Georgia Foundation. The organizers would like to thank the Heinrich Boell Foundation for invaluable support in organizing the seminar and other project activities.