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Caithness News Bulletins April 2003

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International Rural Network Conference

Delegates from across the world are expected to attend a major international conference in Inverness in June 2003. Taking Charge (June 23  27, 2003) will focus on various issues around rural development with speakers sharing experience and the latest research on issues of rural community empowerment, rural health and rural education.

Organised by the Arkleton Institute for Rural Development Research at the University of Aberdeen and the UHI Millennium Institute, Taking Charge will be the first conference of the International Rural Network. Over 400 delegates are expected to attend the event with speakers travelling from over 30 countries including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Sweden, India and the USA.

In addition to formal plenary sessions, a large number of workshops, seminars and field visits will also be taking place over the five days in Inverness. Professor John Bryden, Arkleton Institute Co-Director and Conference Chairman, said: “This is a major international conference providing a rare forum for practitioners from rural communities to share ideas and experiences with rural policy makers and scholars. Knowledge and contacts gained here will support the development of these communities and help provide positive outcomes for the people living in them.”

Professor Bob Cormack, UHI Principal, added: “I am delighted that UHI has been able to assist in attracting this event to the Highlands and Islands. The Conference will address issues, opportunities and challenges of direct relevance to the communities which UHI seeks to serve.”

The full Conference Agenda is still being put together, but topics being discussed include: Money in Rural Empowerment (trade, and credit); Community Land and Resource Ownership and Management as a means of Empowerment; Arts Language and Cultural Renewal; Renewable Energy for Community Power; Information and Communications Technology as a Tool; Community Theatre and Facilitation; Gaining Control over Data and Knowledge; Engagement of Young People; Planning and Evaluation for Participative Partnerships; Networking and Community Health Initiatives; and Life-long Learning and Community Schools.

It is expected that Conference participants will mainly be rural scholars, practitioners and policy makers. Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Executive have just made funding available to enable community representatives from Scotland to attend. Further information and registration forms are available from the conference website: http://www.takingcharge.co.uk or from Amanda Bryan, Local Conference Organiser, tel: (01463) 782597.

The conference Taking Charge will take place at the Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, June 23  27, 2003. Further information is available from Amanda Bryan, Local Conference Organiser, tel: 01463 782597, or visit: http://www.takingcharge.co.uk

Taking Charge is organised jointly by the Arkleton Institute for Rural Development Research at the University of Aberdeen ( www.abdn.ac.uk/arkleton ) and the UHI Millenium Institute www.uhi.ac.uk

Taking Charge is the first conference of the International Rural Network. The International Rural Network is a network of scholars and practitioners involved in rural development, rural education and rural health, which was formally constituted in 2001. Further information on the IRN is available from http://workforce.cup.edu/wyman

Sponsors of the Conference include The University of Aberdeen; UHI Millennium Institute; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; The Highland Council; The Inverness Common Good Fund; Inverness and Nairn Enterprise; Communities Scotland; NHS Highland; The Remote and Rural Areas Resource Initiative; Scottish Enterprise; The Scottish Executive; Scottish Natural Heritage; The Arkleton Trust; and the Countryside Agency.