On Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 September, the Hellenic Adult Education Association (HAEA) organised, within the framework of the European project Regale – Regional Capacity for Adult Learning in Adult Education, a Study Visit entitled “Debating the learning success stories of cities and regions”. It was attended by representatives of the Regale Consortium, Norway, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
The educational activity took place in two different municipalities and lasted two days. Its main objects were:
- Familiarity with how the idea of the Learning City is perceived in Greece.
- Understanding and exposure to local strategies implemented to enhance learning culture in different contexts within the same overall culture.
- Familiarity with the efforts required to develop the necessary political and social contracts for the creation of a Learning City by investigating the case of the Municipality of Larissa.
- To familiarize themselves with a methodology of Sociocracy that can attract young adults to participate in creating a City that Learns (the case of the Youth Council of Thermi Municipality).
1st day – Visit to the Municipality of Larissa
On the first day, Wednesday, September 28, 2022, we visited the Municipality of Larissa. There we were welcomed at the City Hall by Dimitris Deligiannis, Deputy Mayor for Administration, Education and Lifelong Learning who made reference to the philosophy and actions of “Larissa-Learning City” and the Citizens University.
This was followed by a visit to Pappa’s Mill, where the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Panagiotis Sapkas, presented the rich activity of the Municipality in the field of culture. Afterwards, the educational actions for the vulnerable groups were presented by the Head of the Education Directorate, Stavroula Baxevanou, as well as the actions of the Roma Community Center by the Head of the Center, Evi Boukorou. The participants were guided to the Museum of Cereals and Flours by Konstantina Kontsa, in charge of the museum, and to the TIRITOMBA theatre by Fotini Kaloudi, in charge of the Municipal Kuklothiasos.
This was followed by a short tour of the 1st Ancient Theater by Katerina Zachou, an executive of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Larissa. The meeting concluded with a visit to the Life Workshop of the OKANA Prevention Center of Larisa, where the group was welcomed by the President of the Center, Vassilis Pinakas, Deputy Governor of Larisa, while Irini Koufakis, psychologist – Scientific Manager and Georgia Zavrakas, presented the work of the Center and guided the visitors to the premises of the Life Laboratory.
2nd day – Visit to the Municipality of Thermi
On the second day, Thursday, September 29, 2022, we visited the Science Dissemination Center and Technology Museum – NOISIS, where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Thermi, Theodoros Papadopoulos, and the Deputy Mayor, responsible for education, Stylianos Apostolou. Afterwards, George Koulauzidis, assistant professor at the Hellenic Open University and member of the board of EEEE, presented Lifelong Learning and Local Self-Government in Greece.
This was followed by a presentation by Chryssa Klimatsouda, Director of Education and Social Affairs of the Municipality of Thermi, of the responsibilities, educational activities and collaborations of the municipality. Also, the LogoMatheMania Reading Club’ presented its ‘good educational practice’ and its relationship with the Local Society (Thermi Municipality, Deputy Mayor of Education, D.E.P.A.T.H., Thermi Municipal Library) in the context of Learning Cities as also its actions that promote Lifelong Learning. ‘Logomathemania’ was represented by the professors: Dr Mourouzidou Olga, Papaspanou Anna, and Vardali Chrysoula (retired). Afterwards, Ioanna Papafotiou and Stavros Papagiannis, as representatives of the Thermi Youth Council, discussed with the participants the way they work within the council, how they make decisions using the socialist model, the structure of the council, the roles and the programs in which they participate. This was followed by a two-hour workshop on the Sociocracy model, conducted by Sofia Kyprianidou.