The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), under the auspices of the GREAT-ITN (Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training), is organizing an international school on "The Galaxy, Stellar Compositions and Dynamics" aimed at providing a view of the Milky Way as a holistic system. Understanding the origin and relationships between the stellar populations of the Milky Way constitutes one of the key challenges in astrophysics for the coming decade, especially with the upcoming data from Gaia, a European Space Agency (ESA) cornerstone mission that will provide an unbiased census of our Galaxy through the measurement of high accuracy astrometry, radial velocities and multi-colour photometry. Our Galaxy is a complex system, a late-type spiral, with major structural elements being the bar and bulge, the halo, and the disk. The largest contributor to the mass of the Galaxy is likely the dark matter halo, with stars offering crucial insight and keeping a fossil record of its chemical evolution. All these aspects will be developed in the school. This GREAT-ITN project will also emphasize the fundamental skills required to power the scientific exploitation of Gaia over the coming decade and beyond.

The event is mainly addressed to PhD students and young postdocs in Astronomy and Physics, but it is also open to students and researchers from a variety of backgrounds, interested in galactic systems in general and in the Galaxy, in particular. It will take place at Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife, Spain) on September 2 to 6, 2013.