It was quite a busy week in Athens 13 – 17 November with EJWP Group 5 participants training in personal leadership, communication and diversity in communication styles and cultures as well as collaborating, networking and presenting in the iMermaid project consortium meeting. The week was hosted by new EJWP partner organization Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) and EJWP participant Chrysa Efstratiou from HCMR. Next to their great hosting we are grateful for the masterclasses and field trip facilitated by Athens Water Supply & Sewerage Company (EYDAP).
This was the second Training Week for EJWP Group 5, which launched this year and first met when they worked together in Croatia in September. The young water professionals in this new group come from Finland, Greece, United Kingdom-Greece, and Wales. Their organizations include VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, HCMR, and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.
Masterclasses during the week included subjects of the Athens system and the renaissance of Hadrian Aqueduct, led by EYDAP, and “from water supply to wastewater generation and marine pollution” – with a field trip to the waterfront led by HCMR. Such hands-on experiences are part of the EJWP journey in working with different countries, cultures and organizations.
Training sessions zoomed in on intercultural communication and the clear differences in how information is communicated and received, with an appreciation of varying communication styles in practice within teams during training and in project exercises. The training sessions included exercises with a positive approach to difficult situations highlighting “what can I do” or “what do I want” as opposed to negative communication that may take place as a result of complex situations. While our first EJWP5 training week focused more on self awareness and reflection, this week’s focus was outward: towards the receiver of messages and the diversity of voices included within groups.
EJWP participants also played an active role in the iMermaid consortium meeting during the week in Athens, with their recommendations on science communication. creation of a storytelling video, focusing on the communities affected by chemical marine pollution. Our participants recommended that social media campaigns share the “why” and the “how” as part of the story in informing local populations in aspects of changing consumer behavior regarding marine chemical pollution. This project involvement is also through H2O-People, parent organization of EJWP, which is responsible for societal impact in a work package of the iMermaid project.