During 22-25 May 2012 the peaceful Nordic town of Savonlinna was a-bustle with initiative, innovation and inspiration as the local campus of the University of Eastern Finland became the venue of the 10th JTEFS/BBCC conference “Sustainable Development. Culture. Education”. The anniversary edition of the conference ran under the subtopic “Reorientation of Teacher Education towards Sustainability through Theories and Practices”. The forum welcomed more than 170 participants from 21 countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA). Following a long-established tradition, each new participant of the conference became a member of the Baltic and Black Sea Circle Consortium in Educational Research (BBCC) and the close-knit BBCC family extended a warm welcome to its new members by presenting them with membership cards and a round of applause.
Four plenary sessions with the total of six keynote presentations delivered by speakers from Canada, Finland, Germany and the UK can rightfully be counted among the highlights of the conference, such as the keynote speech by Professor Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development at York University in Toronto (Canada). In addition to the plenary sessions, the conference had 12 sections in which the participants gave paper presentations, poster presentations and workshops on such topics as sustainable early childhood education; systemic and integrative research methodology in ESD studies; pedagogy for a sustainable future; sustainable education issues in science education; sustainable ICT in education; adult education for sustainable development; art, design and skills in ESD; home, health and well-being in the context of sustainability; tourism research and connections on well-being, education and sustainability; teacher education for inclusion; social pedagogy as a dimension of sustainable life; sustainability in community practices; Earth Charter as a platform for values and multicultural approaches in ESD. Abstract book of the conference is available in electronic format for all those interested in the specifics of the multiple issues discussed during the conference.
As has become customary, the conference was also featured by a presentation of the international peer-reviewed journals Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability and Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education to all those in attendance. Conference participants were informed about the growing popularity of the two BBCC journals as confirmed by a steady increase over the last couple of years in journal page views and article full text views on the electronic platform VERSITA that covers the two editions and greatly facilitates their distribution to international readership. The participants were encouraged to use these journals as a medium for addressing the international scholarly community with the results of their research and to send their submissions to Editor-in-chief Dr. Astrida Skrinda astrida.skrinda[at]du.lv.
Daugavpils University was represented at the conference by BBCC president professor Ilga Salīte and director of the Institute of Sustainable Education associate professor Dzintra Iliško, professors Elfrīda Krastiņa and Anita Pipere as well as doctoral students and candidates Ināra Bojāre, Ingrīda Bolgzda, Elga Drelinga, Ginta Gedžūne, Inga Gedžūne, Andris Kupšāns, Liene Kvedere, Ojārs Rode, Eugeniusz Switala, Aļesja Šapkova and Jevģēnijs Ustinskovs. Students and candidates’ participation was financially aided by the project “Support to implementation of doctoral studies at Daugavpils University” (agreement No. 2009/0140/1DP/220.127.116.11.2/09/IPIA/VIAA/015/).
The 10th JTEFS/BBCC conference “Sustainable Development. Culture. Education” closed with the naming of St Petersburg (Russia) as the venue of the next (11th) conference to be held in 2013. The organisers pledged their commitment to maintain the annual forum as a valuable opportunity for all those in attendance to strengthen existing ties and establish new contacts in a community of scholars and practitioners who work towards researching and bringing into practice the United Nations vision of education for building a more sustainable world for us all.