Opening of the EAS 13th Annual Conference in Rovaniemi/ Finland was done by Mr. Niko Niemisalo, project manager and partner of the Organising Committee, Dr. Outi Hyry-Honka, Director of School of Social Services, Health and Sport, professor Kaarina Määttä, University of Lapland, Faculty of Education and Professor Laura Capranica, President of EAS. The opening speeches greeted all the guests to our city and included a short descriptions of Lapland UAS, University of Lapland and also justifications on why the EAS 13th Annual Conference is in particular interest of our university.

EAS President Professor Laura Capranica in her opening speech first thanked for the dedicated work of the Organizing Committee from Lapland University of Applied Sciences, School of Social Services, Health and Sport, in person Mr Niemisalo and the Organizing Committee in the organization of the EAS 13th Annual Conference under the headline “Enhancing European Partnerships in Sports and Education”.

She pointed out, that since last conference in 2015 in Amsterdam, EAS has been actively collaborating with the Sport Unit of the European Commission and the European Parliament, gave strong support in realizing the “Study on sport qualifications acquired through sport organisations and (sport) educational institutes”, gave efforts in partnership for the submission of two project proposals on dual career, one of them focused on the migrating athletes and coordinated by the Lapland University. Professor Capranica also mentioned, that the summer 2016 has been special for EAS itself, because after a lot of work, the board was able to established the legal seat of EAS in Malta. Lot of member institutions delegated athletes to the Summer Olympic Games in Rio and some to the Paralympic Games. So it is the right time to discuss the special challenges of athletes. Despite for more than a decade dual career has been an issue at European level, many aspects are still lacking or need to be implemented in all the Member States.

The first Keynote was done by Professor Natalia Stambulova from Halmstad University / Sweden, who was a former figure skating elite athlete in St. Petersburg / Russia. She gave an overview about the actual status of scientific research in the field of “Dual Career”.

The programme also included a sports intervention organized by the Organising Committee and the students of Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The sports interventions were successful and all the guests found them as nice and refreshing activities in between the conference sessions.

The first day’s evening included a visit to the Finnish forestry centre PILKE and short safari activity in the Lappish Wilderness.

Conference day 2 – Friday, September 16

The conference included two more keynote speeches given by Director Simo Tarvonen from the Finnish Olympic Committee and Dr. Agata Dziarnowska from the Sport unit of the European commission.

Mr Tarvonen’s key message was that the “dual career” is very challenging and in top level sports the young athlete has to focus on one thing per time. This opinion is based on his long experience in sports, especially “dual career” activities.

Dr. Dziarnowska and her main point was to highlight the European dimension of sports. She also described the future EU activities in sports.

The second day also included presentation of the Olympic Training Center in Santasport and Lapland Sports Academy. The audience was convinced that the training and education facilities are relevant and top-quality in Rovaniemi and that the training center that we have is in top- quality in all aspects. The questions tackled the possibilities for our visitors stakeholders to come and train in our facilities for which they were warmly welcomed.

The 13th EAS Annual Conference participants also had the possibility to listen to the included presentations of five EU-funded “dual career” projects.

The day was ended with EAS General Assembly where the next year’s conference venue was presented (Aarhus, Denmark 12-14 Sept 2017) and with common EAS gala dinner in restaurant Gaissa, in city centre of Rovaniemi.

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