Michael Dower

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Our wonderful friend, mentor and supporter, Michael Dower, sadly passed away on Monday November 7, 2022, just a week before his 89th birthday. In his lifetime, Michael was a force in European rural development. He was instrumental in developing the European Rural Parliament partnership and process, including co-ordinating and writing the foundational document ‘All Europe shall Live’, based on a survey of all of our European Partners, from which he developed the first ERP Manifesto at the 2nd ERP Gathering in Austria in 2015. These have remained our baseline documents.

In addition to the ERP, Michael’s work in rural development was extensive. He co-founded and served as coordinator of PREPARE - Pre-accession Partnership for Rural Europe, supporting the launch of many national and regional rural movements and rural parliaments in Central and Eastern Europe. He founded and served as President of ECOVAST – the European Council for the Village and Small Town. He co-founded and animated the European Agricultural Convention (EAC), now ARC2020. He was a very active member of Forum Synergies and many other European civic initiatives. He was co-creating the CURE - Convention for Urban and Rural Europe.

Prior to his post-retirement activism in European rural civil society, Michael managed the Peak District National Park in England; was Director General of the Countryside Commission for England and Wales; and was Professor of European Rural Development at the University of Gloucestershire. He edited and promoted the European Landscape Convention for the Council of Europe.

Michael was passionate about rural areas, their people, landscapes, land use and ecology. In the later years of his life, he worked tirelessly to advocate on the climate change emergency, and led local woodland management projects, working with school children, where he lived in Dorset, England.

Michael was, and is, an inspiration to us all. He urged us to be bold and brave and urgent in our work. His legacy lies within us and our continuing, collective work to support and develop rural Europe – our wonderful home.

Thank you Michael!

During the year 2019, Latvian Rural Forum organised 7 webinars where different topics regarding the rural youth were discussed. We invite you to step forward with your story to be shared in this kind of webinar. Let's gather online and exchange our thoughts! Send your ideas: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Links to the recordings of previously organised webinars: sverigepiller.com/xanor-billigt/

• 2019.03.26., Simone Matouch (Forum Synergies, Austria) and Anu Suotula (Keskipiste-Leader ry, Finland) about Forum Synergies scholarship programme and Europarc youth manifest.


• 2019.04.30., Brigita Medne (Association “Pierīgas partnerība”, Latvia) about methods of youth involvement and the youth work manual LOCAL ACTION YOUTH.

• 2019.05.28., Henrik Løvschall (Idrætshøjskolen Aarhus, Denmark) about nonformal, alternative, after-high school education in Denmark.

• 2019.06.25., Michal Beneš (Active youngster from Czech Republic) about convenient traveling opportunities and hitch-hiking.

• 2019.08.27., Atreyu Anahata (Sunseed, Spain) about sustainable lifestyle, environmental activism, remote community in Southern Spain.

• 2019.09.24., Sara Neagu (MIJARC Europe, Rumnia) about digital tools for youth participation in decision-making process.

• 2019.10.29., ERYP and other interested one’s discussion on rural development challenges in Europe, work on European Rural Youth Declaration.