From June 12 – 16, 2023, Hochschule Geisenheim University hosted its first International Staff Week for its 14 partner universities from the Caucasus region and the Western Balkans. In total, 31 participants from Albania, Kosovo, Armenia, Georgia, and Ukraine attended the training week. IBCM was represented by Professor Medina Braha, International Relations Coordinator Mirjana Krsmanovic, and Student Service and Career Center Coordinator Arjeta Mehmeti.

Due to the long wine-growing history, the Caucasus region and the Western Balkans have been selected as a priority region in Hochschule Geisenheim University’s internationalization strategy. Besides collaborating in the field of wine business, viticulture, and enology, the university has also established cooperation projects with a number of universities in the fields of cultural heritage, nature conservation, and landscape development.

The International Staff Week is funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union. The 5-day training week provided a perfect setting for personal encounters, sharing experiences in workshops, discussing further cooperation opportunities, and getting to know the study and research priorities of the university.

At the beginning of the week, the group visited Kloster Eberbach, the former Cistercian abbey near Eltville. In the following days, the participants took part in interactive workshops on international topics, attended lectures and wine tastings, and learned more about Hochschule Geisenheim University’s different research projects. In the evenings, the unique atmosphere of the University Cellar provided the perfect setting to reflect on the day and socialize. A trip to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage Site rounded off the program. The week ended with a wrap-up session where participants were able to reflect and take stock of the week’s events. After three years of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the participants finally had the opportunity to get to know the university, to intensify contacts with the faculty, and to discuss further cooperation possibilities. Overall, Staff Week has contributed significantly to strengthening between partner universities in the long term.