Field trip to Greece. A “hands-on” experience for Albanian students
A field trip to Greece for the students of the brand new Master Program on Cultural Resource Management at Tirana University was organized in September 2011, in the framework of the MDG-F Joint Programme on “Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development”. The study tour forms an integral part of the annual curriculum of the MA program, successfully closing the first year of its operation.
The aim is to create a pool of qualified experts that will form the next generation of managers of Albanian cultural resources. It should hence help to instill a legacy of cultural resource policy planning and management in Albania.
The study tour, organized from15 to 22 September 2011, is a step further in the completion of these objectives; a concrete materialization marking the completion of the first year of the MA program. The goal of the study tour was to encourage an informed comparative approach to the management of Albanian heritage amongst the students and support the on-site discussion of the principles learned during the academic year.
In total, twenty-two students, four professors and several journalists participated in the trip, enjoying the occasion to learn more and establish new contacts within their field of competence. Two of the students were non-resident in Albania, supported by the scholarship program within the framework of this activity. The field trip benefitted not only the students but also the professors who appreciated the possibility to meet international colleagues and exchange their views and best practices.
The students of the MA Program were accompanied by two journalists from the Albanian national television station, Vizion +, which ensured good media coverage of the activity. Aired at the eve of the new academic year, the reportage added a lot to the visibility of the Cultural Resources Management MA Program.
The trip featured a particularly intensive program. More than 20 sites, museums, archaeological parks, castles and historic centers were visited, including such “musts” as Ioannina, Athens, Delphi, Mycenae and Thessaloniki. Each visit started with a presentation made by an assigned student, who had preliminarily prepared it and was therefore able to show the group around the site. The visit was then followed by a discussion on the observations made during the visit. This interactive learning process aimed at complimenting the theoretic knowledge gained in class with the personal “hands-on” experience. Issues discussed were related to the MA program priorities such as management systems, conservation practices, tourism facilities or site sustainability, the state of preservation of the different monuments, their management systems and presentation techniques of each site.
Zhulieta Harasani, UNESCO National Professional Officer for Albania, who accompanied the group, says “The preparatory work of the students for all the sites visited, their presentation skills, their team work spirit were so impressive! The discussions were so well informed and so vivid that it could only indicate you the extent to which they were enjoying the whole experience.”
UNESCO also contributed in providing the program with physical infrastructure of the MA Program premises and enabled visiting professors to come and lecture on those topics of which there is not yet an expertise in Albania. To ensure for the sustainability of the program and its twinning with other similar programs in the world, the Joint Programme has enabled the online lecturing on real time for the MA students. The scholarship program was another new component which added value to its visibility and diversity of experiences. The MA in Cultural Resource Management at Tirana University is fully accredited within the Albanian Higher Education system.
The MDG-F Joint Programme ”Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development” is financed by the Spanish Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and is being implemented by the Albanian Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports and the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with UNDP and UNESCO.