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From Mull to Moscow Courtesy of the University of Aberdeen

Date: 21 April 2000
Our ref: 565

Isle of Mull-born final honors year student, Kirsty Leitch will be spending the first week of May 2000 in the ancient capital city of Moscow.  As well as experiencing the Moscow way of life, Kirsty’s main purpose for being there is to attend and participate in a conference on the problems of preserving the cultural and natural history of Europe.

Kirsty will be accompanied by Michael Gleeson, a second year student from County Clare who is studying Countryside and Environmental Management in the Department of Agriculture.

Funding for the week-long visit came from the Principal’s discretionary fund.  Professor Rice said:   “This University places great emphasis, not only on the interpretation, appreciation and recording of this region’s marvellous cultural history but also on the natural heritage which we are so fortunate to have around us.  In essence we are responsible for the safe keeping of these riches for future generations to come.

“The conference which Kirsty and Michael are attending will be addressing the vital issues of preserving both cultural and natural heritage throughout Europe.  They will learn valuable lessons from their Russian hosts and from their fellow delegates which will help inform future strategies here in Scotland and perhaps the rest of the UK.”

Kirsty is set to present a paper at the Conference on how we currently protect our own rich heritage.  Together with those from all the other speakers, her paper will be compiled into a post-conference booklet.

Kirsty said:  “I was thrilled when Principal Rice agreed to provide funding to support my participation.  There will be some 100 delegates attending from all over Europe and, from what I can see of the delegate list, the University of Aberdeen is the only one from the UK to send not just one but two representatives.
“Before starting University, I was both a crofter and shepherd so the subject of the Conference is not only close to my heart but also wholly relevant to my degree studies in Countryside and Environmental Management.

“It really just proves that Higher Education is open to anyone with ability and the will to succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances.  When I was working on my croft, I would truly never have believed that I would ever experience Moscow in May.

“I came into University as a mature student through the 10 week access course.  I had left school at 16 with no Highers so the Access course was a wonderful way of getting in to Higher Education.”

Michael is also a mature student whose main interest lies in the maintenance of cultural identities in rural areas, and the methods that may be used to promote that maintenance without being intrusive to the people involved.

Michael added:  “I am looking forward very much to meeting like-minded people of other nationalities.  It will be useful to compare the benefits and shortcomings of other approaches and to pick up on any ides which could be adopted in this country.”

The title of the conference which Kirsty and Michael are attending is called Born in Born 2000 and runs from 2-9 May 2000.

Further information

Tina Kenworthy, University Press Officer, Tel:  01224 273778
University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email