From 26th-28th February 2020, researchers, policy makers and practitioners from different disciplines such as policy analysis, ecology, economics, forest (ecosystem) management and conservation converged in Bonn Germany for the “Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe conference”. The conference was organized by the European Forest Institute (EFI). IFSA had a six-student delegation participating in the conference led by Matus Urbanciek, the Liaison Officer for EFI and Volodymyr Kravets who is IUFRO’s Liaison Officer.
IFSA in collaboration with the joint IUFRO-IFSA taskforce on Forest Education and EFI organized a face to face mentorship programme led by Silvia Abruscato, Lisa Prior and Juliet Achieng Owuor. The aims were to ensure that the IFSA delegates attending the event gain insights on the conference themes beyond just observing/listening and receive guidance for their academic/professional career through direct interaction with renowned experts.
Each student was paired up with a mentor who had similar interests with the mentees, were passionate about engaging young people and were also session chairs in the conference. Mentees were expected to create time for the face to face mentorship as well as attend one of the sessions with their mentors. On the first day of the conference, the IFSA delegates received some tips on how to make the most out of the programme. They were encouraged to identify the goals for mentorship and for the conference, be proactive in reaching out to their mentor and prepare their questions in advance. During the conference, IFSA students had an opportunity to explore their talents by volunteering in communications, conducting interviews and general conference logistics. At the end of the conference, the mentees and mentors expressed their satisfaction with the programme because they were actively engaged throughout the conference period and were eagerly looking forward to collaborating in the future.
I find myself privileged to meet one of the renowned experts in forestry. The mentorship was beneficial in many aspects as I got better insights into Forest Economics in general and an opportunity to engage him in the future.
The mentorship concept was a unique one and the highlight of the conference!
Congrats on the super initiative! This should be done in the context of more conferences!