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Newsletter from Oikosnet Europe April 2016

In this newsletter, you will find a number of interesting posts. With this newsletter, we also start the process of inviting to the Annual Conference that will take place in Prague in September. As you all know, taking part in the Annual Conference is one of the best ways to meet colleagues and to get a feel for what is going on in Oikosnet Europe. Registration is now open!

The next newsletter will appear in your mailbox in June. Please let us know if you have something you want to see in the newsletter. If so, write to

Alf Linderman, Executive Director of the Sigtuna Foundation

2016 - An "annus horribilies" for the EU...

Chronicle by Rüdiger Noll, Executive secretary of Oikosnet Europe

Europe and especially the European Union are in turmoil more than ever before. Already some years ago the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, spoke about the biggest crisis of the Union in its history. And signs got worse. The economic, financial or dept crisis in Europe (however one might want to call it) is far from being over. 

There might be fewer emergency meetings of the European Council than in the last years, but the austerity measures still lead to widening gap between rich and the poor within many societies and an unprecedented unemployment in many countries, especially effecting young people. And due to the austerity measures it is almost impossible for countries like Spain and Greece to move towards a sustainable economic growth.

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Welcome to the Annual Conference in Prague

September 7th - 11 th 2016

On behalf of the Board of Oikosnet Europe and on behalf of the Ecumenical Academy in Prague, it is our pleasure to invite you to the next Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe. The Annual Conference is scheduled to take place upon invitation of our member, the Ecumenical Academy of Prague, under the main theme “Transition Accomplished or Mission Impossible – Economic Developments and Civil Society. The Example of the Czech Republic” from 7 to 11 September 2016. 

As usual, the Annual Conference will be preceded by a meeting of the Gender and Justice Network, from 5 to 7 September. The Gender and Justice Network, in 2016 will address the issue of “Escape, Migration and Gender”. Looking on forced migration from a gender perspective, the Gender and Justice Network invites women and men alike!

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News from the board meeting in Prague

By Sören Lenz Liebfrauenberg

The Oikosnet board met for two days in the wonderful city of Prague where our next Annual Conference will be held on invitation of the Ecumenical Academy of Prague. A huge amount of work was waiting for the six members of the board Jaap van der Sar, (President), Marielisa von Thadden (Vice-president), Nicola Murray, (Treasurer), Kostas Zorbas, Kirsten Beuth and Sören Lenz. They were assisted by Rüdiger Noll, our executive secretary and Hermann Düringer as meeting secretary. Jiri Silny from the Ecumenical Academy and Alf Linderman from the Sigtuna Foundation, where our secretariat is based, assisted the meetings temporarily.

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Fighting Empires with Umbrellas

Conference at the Sigtuna Foundation, Sweden May 20 - 22

Together with the Norwegian Areopagos Foundation, and the Tao Fong Shan Foundation in Hong Kong, the Sigtuna Foundation is organizing a conference in Sigtuna in May this year. The idea is to use the so-called Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, a social protest movement in the Fall of 2014 that was widely covered in European media, as a lens to understand the Chinese situation and to explore further several more general questions.

The conference will take place at the Sigtuna Foundation 20 -22 May 2016. The Foundation will cover all costs for food and accommodation here in Sigtuna, but participants will have to cover their own travel expenses. 

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Congratulations Kristin Gunleiksruud Raum - New Chair of the church of Norway

We give our warmest congratulations to Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum from the Norwegian Church Academy, who recently was elected as Chair of the Church of Norway. Many of us have met Kristin at the annual conferences of Oikosnet Europe and she was also elected as member of the board in 2015. 

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Patriarchs prepare for The Great and Holy Council in Crete

The Orthodox Academy of Crete will have a busy time this spring preparing for the historical meeting in June when The Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church will take place. The last time a Pan -Orthodox council of this scale was convened was in Constantinopel well over a thousand years ago in 879 – 880, where they had a representation of over 380 bishops from the Eastern Christian Churches. Read more

Arab-European Citizens’ Dialogue: the continuation

The Arab-European Citizens’ Dialogue continues. The 5th Consultation, under the title “Societies in Transition: Active Citizenship – Where can it make a difference?” took place in the Orthodox Academy of Crete, Wednesday to Saturday 9- 12 March 2016. The conference was organized jointly by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), Oikosnet Europe, the Sigtuna Foundation and the Orthodox Academy of Crete. Close to forty participants took part in this event. 

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A report from the Central Europe Consultation in Liebfrauenberg

By Sören Lenz, Liebfrauenberg

The first East European Consultation took place at the Liebfrauenberg and gathered twelve directors, study leaders and lecturers from member centres of OE and others. According to our aim the exchange about common challenges, expectations towards OE and common projects and initiatives was given priority. The friendly ambiance allowed us to establish new contacts and to deepen already existing relations with long-time members of OE. It is one of the strength of OE that beside the intellectual discussions and common projects personal contact is one of the most important factors to foster exchange and mutual understanding. 

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Visions for the countryside – Young Europeans in the periphery

14 -16  November 2016 in Altenkirchen/Germany

Being young in the countryside is different from being young in the city: There is more space and more freedom yet at the same times fewer opportunities and fewer people of the same age.

The Protestant Academies in Neudietendorf (Thuringia) and Altenkirchen (Rheinland)  invite adolescents and youth workers from all over Europe to talk about how life in the periphery can be changed for the better: young, creative and European! 

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European Christian Convention, Kappel 9 - 11 June

Oikosnet Europe is part of preparing a European Christian Convention. The next step in the process is a second consultation with about 100 stakeholders or interested organisations in Kappel near Zürich from 9-11 June 2016.

The Preparatory Team of the European Christian Convention is also issuing an occasional electronic Newsletter. Those who are interested in the meeting in Kappel or those who want to remain up-dated on developments via the Newsletter are invited to get in touch with the Secretariat:

Academy of Tutzing from 15-17 September 2016

For three years now the German Protestant Academies have engaged together in a network project on the resonance of the reformation for present societies. The project focused on the economy (work life), culture and media. This project comes to an end in 2016 with a summarizing consultation in the Academy of Tutzing from 15-17 September 2016. Speakers include the Chairperson of the EKD Council, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the Chaiperson of the German roman-catholic Bishops’ Conference, Kardinal Marx, Archbishop Tabo Makgoba as well as representatives from other religions and from politics and society. The Conference will provide simultaneous translation in German and English. Further information can be obtained soon from the website of the Academy of Tutzing or from

German Kirchentag 2017 starting shot for the Reformation Jubilee
The next German Kirchentag will be in Berlin from 24-28 May 2017. It will be the starting shot for the Reformation Jubilee, which will last until 31 October. The Academy in Wittenberg will be a part of the world exhibition and will be transformed in a sort of Café, presenting the academies in Germany. OE is invited to present itself in this setting. A good opportunity to bring forward our unique European network and maybe give some ideas for new partnerships. So if you got ideas, please contact the board. The OE activities will be organized in cooperation with Friedrich Kramer, director of the Wittenberg Academy.

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