Well, after a rough start we made it to Joensuu. As a result of the storms in Omaha, our initial flight was cancelled. This presented a number of problems, which included arriving in Finland one to two days late. The best option was for us to rent a mini-van and drive down to Kansas City at 3:00 am to catch a flight to Chicago, which would send us on our way. We arrived in Joensuu exactly 24 hours later.
I am so happy that we made the sacrifice to get here on time, as the first day is full of introductions and greetings. In addition to our participation, there are five other Universities represented: University of Eastern Finland, Anadolu University Turkey, Milano University Italy, Canterbury Christ Church England, and our good friends from Siauliai University Lithuania. Each school brought about 10 doctoral students and 5 faculty.
UNO is represented as a strategic partner in this event and doctoral students Aaron Krueger and Mary Beth Runge from Educational Administration have joined me at this event.
Each University had to do a 5 minute cultural presentation. This was to include a song, dance, or performance that was representative of each country. The English did bar songs, the Turks did a dance, and the Americans taught everyone a native Nebraskan cheer: Gooooo Biiiiig Reeeed!!! We broke the group into three, with each one taking one part of the chants. It was great fun.
Needless to say, everyone wanted their picture taken with the corn hat afterwards. I gave it to my friend Hannu Savolainen from the University of Eastern Finland, so that I would not have to pack it in my suitcase again.
The program has kept us very busy. We have spent the first few days discussing research paradigms and getting to know one another. This week we will begin research workshops and students will begin to share some of their research ideas. We have already made a number wonderful friendships and look forward to the coming weeks of activity and socialization. I will close with a picture of our friend Stefanija Alisauskiene from Siauliai University and our new friend Atilla Cavkaytar, from Anadolu University, who is wearing his new UNO hat with great pride.