All over the world, people are becoming aware of the need to protect the planet’s resources and are committing themselves to more environmentally-friendly policies, aimed at meeting both our own vital needs, but also those of future generations.

Organising the 4th Indian Ocean Rural University from 5th to 7th December 2012 here in Saint Joseph is a way of confirming our vision of local government : in an area that is essentially rural, with a rich cultural heritage and a lifestyle that we have managed to preserve, development can only take place in a context of respect for Man and Nature.

This ‘philosophy of territory’, that we here in the capital of the ‘deep south’ believe in, will be the main theme of the Agenda 21 for local authorities and one of the keystones of the 2012 Indian Ocean Rural University.

The Agenda 21 will echo our pragmatic and respectful vision of the territory of our town council, where we have been carrying out an analysis by constantly questioning our citizens, as well as by carrying out own diagnosis.

Through the dialogue that we shall constantly endeavour to apply to our local governance, we are convinced that the Indian Ocean Rural University will offer a context for encounters appropriate for the launch of our Agenda 21, but also one which will encourage an analysis of innovation and creativity in rural areas.

Innovation is an essential element of the future of rural zones, and the Indian Ocean Rural University has always given it a central role to play in its discussions. The 2012 Rural University will continue to do so, with two topics that we will focus on :
‘The environment in crisis, a source of innovation in rural zones?’ and ‘Setting up a digital highway in mountain zones’.

The various speakers we will hear during the few days to come, an event organised around three topics, will share with us their experiences in their own territory, whether in Saint Joseph, other areas of Reunion, or elsewhere.

In addition to the personal experiences of the speakers, those of other persons contributing to present or future projects will be greatly appreciated. We expect everyone (those working the rural environment, members of the population and institutions) to come and share these three days of analysis and exchange on the topic of life in rural areas.

Patrick Lebreton
Mayor of Saint Joseph



Three topics are proposed for the next European Rural University, which will take place on 7th, 8th and 9th September 2010 in Saint-Joseph :

- Europe at the service of the rural community and its inhabitants,
- Rural professions for women,
- Culture : between heritage and innovation.

16 November 2009