Summer School in Parnon, Greece 2018

General admission Applications period has ended.



The current call concerns the organisation of a Summer University around the themes of designation and functioning of Biosphere Reserves (BR) / within the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme of UNESCO. It will be held from July 8th to July 15th 2018 in the important and beautiful area of Parnon, Greece. It is addressed to post graduate students, young researchers and managers.

Following the successful Summer Universities in Amfissa (2014), Samothraki (2016) and Sardinia (2017), the 4th Summer University will provide capacity building around a series of topics including management, local development, protection and conservation.


The proposal for the designation of a new Biosphere Reserve in SE Peloponnese (Parnon) is based on the coexistence of very significant cultural and environmental characteristics of the area. The region has important high quality agricultural production, seaborne trade and some particular intangible heritage (language and customs) in which tourism is a fast growing activity. All the above provide ideal conditions for the development of educational prospects, particularly through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The region is sparsely populated: its 75,000 inhabitants are scattered in small towns and villages, both mountainous and coastal. The BR reference area is spread over 6 municipalities (Voria Kynouria, Notia Kynouria, Sparta, Evrota, Monemvasia, Elafonisos), including:

  • Areas of agricultural production (farming and fishing)
  • Areas of cultural interest e.g. monasteries, ancient sites, citadels, the submerged city of Pavlopetri, Leonidio, the famous fortified city of Monemvasia (Malvasia).
  • Eighteen (18) protected traditional settlements e.g. Monemvasia, Ag. Andreas, Kastanitsa, Tyros.
  • Six (6) Information Centres: Fabrica of Culture (Leonidio), Mount Parnon flora (Leonidio), Maritime Museum (Neapoli), in Ag. Petros, Astros & Kastanitsa.
  • Two (2) Centers of Environmental Education (CEE) in Kastri and Molaoi.

Peloponnese (bleu) within Greece

Proposed Biosphere Reserve.

The conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and biodiversity is a basic axis of the proposal. Therefore, the management and the conservation of the landscape of these areas play an active role in configuring and promoting the conservation objectives and is a necessary condition for the development of an area that requires “protection” and sustainable management. Within the boundaries of the proposed BR, several forms of protected areas coexist. More specifically there are eight NATURA 2000 sites designated as Protected Areas for Habitats and Species, the Regional Ecological Park of Mount Parnon & Moustos wetland, two Strict Nature Reserves, eight Nature Reserves, and seven Wildlife Refuges. A Management Plan exists for the Regional Ecological Park of Mount Parnon & Moustos wetland. Furthermore there are several archaeological and historic sites and monuments.  

Biosphere Reserve Parnon – Maleas (3.5 min video):


The Summer University seeks to provide high quality training on different aspects of management, including ESD to post graduate students, young scientists and managers of Biosphere Reserves from European –mostly South European- and Mediterranean countries.

The Summer University is a milestone in the efforts of the Parnon region to be designated as a Biosphere Reserve of MAB/UNESCO and be included in the World Network Biosphere Reserves. The participants will have the opportunity to:

  • acquire basic theoretical knowledge in BR management (using Parnon area as a case-study);
  • acquire basic knowledge and skills in educational programs, based on the principles of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) (using Parnon area as an open air laboratory);
  • gain a direct experience of preparing a dossier for the application of candidature and the participatory procedures followed;
  • share experiences from various ongoing and proposed projects to support the economic development of the region and the local social capital;
  • discuss with stakeholders and inhabitants dealing with the primary, the agro-tourism and cultural sectors of the region;
  • exchange views and practices with managers from older and newly established BRs;
  • be informed about relevant regional (Mediterranean) developments and programmes in the region (e.g. Mediterranean Commission on SD, Union for the Mediterranean, SWIM-H2020 SM, etc.);
  • contribute their own proposals for the drafting of the management plan of the Parnon region.


The Summer University will include morning theoretic sessions, followed by group work and a series of targeted visits and field work in various 'hotspots' in the area. The trainees will be asked to integrate their own observations and field data in order to prepare their own recommendations, for the Action Plan and/or issues related to the designation for the Parnon to become a BR.


The draft version of the daily program can be found here. Be aware the agenda forsees five overnights at Leonidio (north), and 2 nights at Molaoi (south).


The expected results of the summer university are:

  • A number of trainees knowledgeable on procedures relating to the BR designation and establishment; formulation of management plans, and their branding strategy, based on the principles of the MAB/ UNESCO programme.
  • A number of trainees acquainted with the design and implementation of ESD programmes on the ground.
  • A set of proposals / recommendations from the trainees, for the enhancement of the Management Plan of the Parnon region.
  • Enhanced networking between the young researchers, educators and managers in BRs around the Mediterranean and South Eastern Europe.


The profile of the participants includes:

  • Recent graduates of all disciplines relevant to sustainable development and management, in particular: natural and environmental sciences, urban, rural and land planning, ESD, social and economic sciences, tourism.
  • Master or PhD students or Post Docs in any of the above mentioned disciplines.
  • Junior researchers on Biosphere Reserves and protected areas management.
  • Staff of management bodies of Biosphere Reserves and/or other designated areas or in private/public organisations working on sustainable development, management, or ESD.


An estimated number of 30 trainees will be accepted. If applications exceed this number the participants will be selected based on country (priority to SE European and Mediterranean); connection to an existing or candidate BR; relevance of their profile; CV; motivation letter.


A small registration fee of 150 EUR will apply to all trainees selected to participate. Locals not requiring travel and accommodation will be exempt of fees.

With the kind support of the organisers of the Summer University, the following expenses of selected trainees will be covered:

  • international travel (including visa costs), national travel and local transports
  • accommodation (in shared rooms with bathroom) and meals


The trainees successfully completing the Summer University will be awarded a certificate of participation provided by the UNESCO Chair Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.


Deadline for applications is 13/05/2018.
The selected trainees will be notified by email by 20/05/2018.


The trainees successfully completing the Summer University will be awarded a certificate of participation provided by the UNESCO Chair Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.



Only online applications will be accepted. 

Individuals interested to participate in the Summer University should complete the online application form, together with a short CV and an argumentation letter to support their participation.

To fill in the form, on the top of this webpage select 1 (Quantity) and REGISTER. 


The Summer University is organised back to back with melitzazz festival. Participants may want to come earlier in Leonidio, at their own expense to attend:  


The Summer Univeristy is co-organised and supported by:


The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe


The Greek National Committee of Man and the Bioshere Program of UNESCO 


The UNESCO Chair and Network on Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean of the University of Athens


The Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development ( through its education initiative MEdIES (


OIKOM Environmental Studies Ltd


The Regional Development Company of Parnonas (PARNONAS S.A.)


The Management Body of Mount Parnon and Moustos Wetland








Sunday, July 8, 2018 1:00 AM
Sunday, July 15, 2018



223 00 Leonidio

Click for larger map