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From 2 to 11 November 2018, Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) will organise the first Mediterranean Environments Regional Academy (MERA). This regional academy is an event of the Global Environments Network, a transformative action network created in 2012 to connect and support emerging environmental changemakers. This is our third regional academy and our first academy in the Mediterranean region. We have chosen to organise it in Morocco because GDF has a longstanding field programme on plant conservation, sustainable landscape management and local livelihoods in the Moroccan High Atlas.

Mediterranean cultural landscapes have been shaped, over millennia, by the reciprocal relationships between people and their environments, resulting in a vast and unique regional biocultural diversity. The Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot is ranked as the third-richest in terms of plant diversity and covers over 2 million square kilometres. It is widely recognised that this diversity is the result of the knowledge and practices of Mediterranean peoples who have developed highly specialised systems of landscape management to deal with the region’s climatic and geographical challenges.

Entitled “Community-based landscape management in the Mediterranean: innovations in socio-environmental research and action”, MERA 2018 will gather around 25 emerging environmental changemakers from the Mediterranean region who are passionate about conserving Mediterranean biocultural diversity, maintaining its cultural landscapes and sustaining the livelihoods of the communities who manage them.

MERA 2018: Objectives
  • Share new methodologies and knowledge to advance socio-environmental research and action, with a focus on community-based resource and landscape management systems;
  • Facilitate intercultural dialogue on cultural landscape management;
  • Build new networks between Mediterranean environmental practitioners to foment collaboration, peer-mentoring and joint reflection;
  • Strengthen leadership abilities of Mediterranean environmental changemakers to enhance personal and professional trajectories and catalyse the development of new solutions to pressing socio-ecological issues in the region.

 

Structure and contents

MERA 2018 will focus on the relationships between nature and culture in the Mediterranean, in particular on the role of community-based land and resource management systems in maintaining the unique landscapes and diversity in the region. The academy aims to create spaces where new ideas and solutions to the region’s pressing socio-environmental challenges are co-developed.

Different formats and facilitation methods will be used in the MERA sessions including interactive sessions with regional experts, dialogues and debates, participant presentations, skills workshops, field visits, and peer-mentoring sessions. Experts from and on the region will participate as facilitators and mentors.

 

Language and fees

Due to the diversity of languages spoken in the region and the need to find a common one for the purposes of the academy, the academy will take place in English. For non-native English speakers, professional working proficiency in English is required for participation.

The academy fee is €600 for the full 10 days. This includes tuition, accommodation, meals, field visits and materials. It does not include national and international travel and health insurance. It is expected that participants will be proactive in raising funds to cover the cost of the program either through institutional scholarships, crowdfunding campaigns, personal funds, employers’ funds, government funds or other means. Some partial fee waivers will be provided for participants facing economic challenges.

 

Applicants, deadline and selection process

MERA invites applications from early career researchers and practitioners in the Mediterranean basin, including graduate students, early post-docs, professionals and practitioners, eco-businessmen/women, communicators and policy-makers.

Candidates for MERA 2018 must be actively engaged in research or practice in a Mediterranean country in the fields of conservation (of biological and/or biocultural diversity), cultural landscape management, community-based land and resource management systems, community-based ecological knowledge and practice, sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing in rural Mediterranean settings, or the relationships between development and environment, amongst others. Applications from community leaders are especially welcome.

Interested candidates must complete the application form here by 15 June 2018.

There is a 2-stage selection process. All applicants will receive a response to their application by 15 July 2018. We will request further information from shortlisted candidates concerning potential funding sources and other details we may require. If you indicate in your original application that you need a partial tuition scholarship, we may ask you to demonstrate your need for economic support.

Final candidates will be announced by 1 September 2018. The selection of 25 finalists will be carried out by a jury that will examine individual applications, evidence of candidates’ fund-seeking actions for the academy fee and the diversity of the cohort. To keep a balanced group, factors such as gender, country, professional background, as well as areas of interest will be considered.

If you are selected as a final MERA 2018 candidate, you will need to confirm your participation by 15 September 2018. Fee-paying participants will be required to pay the fee by 30 September 2018.

 

Enquiries

For further information please contact Ugo D’Ambrosio, GDF’s Mediterranean Ethnobiology Programme Director and the GEN Coordinator for Mediterranean Events: ugo@global-diversity.org