The ICGS International Summer Schools are unique, as they bring together NGO and trade-union activists, as well as researchers, university professors, postgraduates, and students. At the same time, the schools follow the classic summer school format: the best experts on the topic are invited to teach; lectures, workshops, and open discussions are organized. We are sure that this approach allows representatives of NGOs to broaden their horizons, and get acquainted with new theories and methods. It helps them to deeper understand the problems they work with, and elaborate new approaches to the development and implementation of projects. As for representatives of the academic community, they collect rich empirical material and new ideas for their research work.
This year the summer school was no exception. It was attended by participants from eight countries (Moldova, Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, Romania, and the Netherlands) - representatives of NGOs, students, university professors, and researchers.
The teachers at the school were prominent experts in the field of precarity, gender, and violence: Dina Bolokan (University of Basel), Anna Temkina (European University at St. Petersburg), Julia Garraio (Centre for Social Research, University of Coimbra), Jai Singh (University of Hyderabad), trainer and psychologist Lyudmila Azarova (Moscow), Andreea Midvighi (University of Basel), Christina Riek (EU-Russia Civil Society Forum).
Following the successful experience of 2021, the school had two venues: the first week in Chisinau, in the hotel of the Institute of Labor, and the second in the village of Molovata at Villa Durului on the banks of the Dniester. We believe that the change of location makes the school much more diverse, allows participants to better understand the historical and cultural context of the country, and also contributes to positive group dynamics. The participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the sights of Chisinau and other fascinating locations nearby in the first week, and in the second - to see the life of the countryside and get acquainted with the local initiative to preserve the cultural heritage of Moldova (Museum of the Peasant by Ion Stefanita).
The programme of the school included lecture courses and discussions on various approaches and aspects of precarity and vulnerability. The training on overcoming trauma by our psychologist Lyudmila Azarova appeared to be very popular as well as individual psychological consultations (the latter was an initiative that arose right in the course of the school). The participants admitted that all the changes to the program successfully complemented the originally planned school programme, since the wars significantly increase precarity and its negative consequences.
In the framework of the gender films club, in the evenings, we organized screenings and discussions of films devoted to the problems of precarity, war, and gender violence. Also in the evenings, the participants had the opportunity to make presentations about their NGOs or their research. These evening sessions were held in the second week when the participants stayed in Molovata. The sessions were very popular and always finished with lively discussions, which ultimately contributed to a better understanding of the complex issue of precarity, although before that many participants had not even heard this word. The participants came up with ideas for future joint projects.
On the last day of school, the participants attended the presentation by the President of the "Gender Center" of Moldova, Professor Valentina Bodrug-Lungu, who came from Chisinau. She made an overview of the gender agenda in the world and spoke about the efforts of the United Nations in the field of promoting the ideas of feminism and gender equality. The programme of the school ended with a round table, where the participants could discuss the prospects for further cooperation, and possible joint projects.
According to the results of the feedback questionnaires, the vast majority of participants gave a high score to the programme and the organization of the school (50% rated "excellent", 33.3% - "good").
Among the most important topics covered at the school (according to the participant responses) were:
Gender and precarity, practical solutions.
• War-time violence.
• Precarity in post-Soviet countries.
• Conflicts and gender.
• Emotional modes of vulnerability.
• Training by L. Azarova.
• Information shared by NGO representatives about their experience.
• Feminist approaches to precarity.
• Research on Palestinian refugees.
• Lectures by prof. Singh.
Thus, the results of the feedback showed that all the topics of the summer school were interesting and useful to the participants. 72.2% of them answered that they were ready to take part in the summer schools of the ICGS in the future.