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Newsletter from Oikosnet Europe July 2017

Summer schedules look different in different parts of Europe. In Sweden, we are now approaching the peak vacation season. Some of you still have some time to go before your summer break. Whatever your plans are, we wish for all of you a great summer! And furthermore, we wish to see you all at the Annual Conference in Flehingen in september, plase note that the ate for registration has been changed till the first of August (see further below).

Alf Linderman, head of the secretariat of Oikosnet Europe and director of the Sigtuna Foundation.

Digitalisation and Modern Media

Editorial by Rüdiger Noll, Executive Secretary of Oikosnet Europe

For many reasons the present exhibition in Wittenberg/Germany on “Luther and the Avantgarde” is worth a visit. Artists with a world reputation have been invited to present works on their perception of Luther and the reformation in the cells of a former prison. 

A contradiction in terms: the reformation is celebrated as promoting freedom and the artists’ perception is presented in a former prison.

It is amazing to see how many of the artists’ works deal with modern media. But this does not come as a total surprise as it is often stated that Luther used the modern media of his time, the printing press, in order to spread his ideas. Without these possibilities, it is said, the reformation would have been far from being as successful as it was. The artists’ group “Robotlab” installed a robot in Wittenberg, which writes within nine month all chapters of the bible. The artists say, Luther`s writing also were an act of freeing himself from his cell. Achim Molné is presented with a digital produced picture of Edward Snowden in the garden of the prison, thus merging the digital world with the real environment of Wittenberg. He says: “The Whistle-Blowers Luther and Snowden both aimed at exposing systematic injustices.” And both used the modern media of their times.

Of course, there are also the critical aspects. The Chinese artist Zhang Peili enriches the exhibition with a set of radios exposed in a circle. Their sounds are mixing to a sound wall in the cell of the prison. And a microphone is moving from radio to radio giving dominance to one sound for a while. Can we still distinguish the different voices in a time when there seems to be an overkill of voices and information? And who is the master of the microphone giving dominance to one or the other of the many voices? Another Chinese artist, Xu Bing, invites visitors in a messy office environment to translate biblical stories into globally understood symbols using the computer. Does this method transform the message into something trivial?

I would not call myself a computer literate. I use the computer and new social media like many others: I enjoy the possibilities being in touch with many long-standing and new friends all over the world. I try to protect my computer to the best of my knowledge and I try to be reflective on what I share publicly. I am interested as to how modern media, for instance, can contribute to establishing a European public, how new media can help civil society to share a different world view compared to some of the public news.

But I am also aware that there is much more to it. What´s about big data? Who controls the net? Did we already become slaves of other peoples’ algorithms? What´s about the internet of things? And most important: what are the ethical implications. What is the role and the underlying perception of human beings? Questions over questions. Certainly the digitalization and the use of modern media changes our world. It is a revolution, at least as life changing as the reformation and the invention of the printing press at Luther´s times.

It is with these questions and perceptions that I will arrive at the forthcoming Oikonset Annual Conference, which will take place in Flehingen/Germany, 6-10 September 2017 under the theme “The Digital Revolution and its Children”.  I am looking forward to learn more about the opportunities and challenges and to discuss with friends from all over Europa about their perspective.  It is for sure that the use of modern media and digitalisation are issues with huge ethical implications to be discussed by Oikosnet members in a European and global context.

Welcome to the Annual Conference 2017

Germany 6 - 10 SeptemberThe Digital Revolution and its Children Flehingen 

The Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe is scheduled to take place upon invitation of the Evangelical Academy of Baden in Flehingen/Germany (near Karlsruhe) from 6 to 10 September 2017. For registrations and further details, please, consult the Oikosnet Europe website:

Please note that thedeadline for registration is already the first of August. 

“I am looking forward to an exciting Annual Conference,” Executive Secretary Rüdiger Noll said. “After so many years of internal reflection, we are now ready again to reach out to the environment around us. So many long-standing members and new partners have become active again in the framework of Oikosnet Europe and use it as a platform for mutual learning, sharing and common initiatives.”

“The Digital revolution and its Children” is the theme of the Study Day at this year´s Annual Conference – an issue about which many Oikosnet members are concerned throughout the continent. The Evangelical Academy of Baden is one of the members, which has a long-standing reputation in addressing issues of digitalization from an ethical as well as from a very practical perspective. The programme will include, inter alia, an excursion to the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe ( as well as a practical workshop on internet security.

Main items on the business agenda of the Annual Conference are the election of a new Board (including a new President and Vice-President) as well as the dissolution of Oikosnet Europe according to German law. The programme will give ample time for discussing the activities of Oikosnet in the past and in the future and for developing common activities among members.

Deadline for registration is the first of  August.

In order to stimulate discussion within and among Oikosnet members, the Annual Report of the Board, the President´s Report and the more detailed agenda are issued already now to registered participants and to Oikosnet members.

 Link for registration


DPC training for Women in Ghana

September 27th – October 2nd, Presbyterian Women’s Centre – The mission House, Accra, Ghana

The Board of Stichting Oikosnet International (OI) invites for a Five Day Training in the DPC-methodology. DPC stands for Dialogue for Peaceful Change. This method is developed under the umbrella of Oikosnet International.

This training is financially supported by the – now informal – Board of Oikosnet International. This umbrella-organisation finished its work by the beginning of this year. The remaining funds are now dedicated to this training. The proposal came from Oikosnet Africa and is meant for women who want to play a role in developing peace and justice in their societies. Women from Oikosnet members, coming from all Oikosnet regions are invited for this training. Financial support for travel is available for non-European participants, especially for their travel costs.

In the attached file more specific information is available.

Read more 


New date for the Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue

Monday 25 to Thursday 28 of June  2018 Sigtuna, Sweden

The planned Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue Conference in Sigtuna in August this year has been postponed until June 2018. There are several reasons for this,  regrets from people that were invited to speak at the conference stating that the timing was unfortunate since it collided with other activities – typically various vacation and other family oriented events.
We have also received many regrets from people at European partner institutions stating that they cannot attend the meeting, most of them referring to similar reasons.

We really hope that the new dates in June 2018 will be more suitable and welcome you all to Sigtuna Foundation at the most beautiful time of the year.

More about the conference

The Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue
The Arab-European Citizens’ Dialogue represents one concrete way to work with the issues mentioned above. From 2010, there has been a series of consultations in both Europe and in the Arab region. The last Consultation, the 5th from the initiation of this dialogue project, was held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in March 2016. The next Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue is concentrating on Religion and Society, and the specific focus will be on Gender – Media – Democracy.

Financial support of conference fee and travelling costs
The cost for participation, after subsidies by the Sigtuna Foundation, is SEK 4350 (app. EUR 450). As a member of Oikosnet Europe you have the opportunity to take part in the Conference free of charge.

As a member of Oikosnet Europe you can also apply for financial support of your travelling costs. Please contact  with your request. 

Please contact Karin Sallander ( if you are interested in taking part of the Conference.

read more

Seminars in Iconography in Crete

As a member of Oikosnet Europe you have a special opportunity to take part at the seminars in Iconography at The Orthodox Academy of Crete. 

The participants learn about the traditional ecclesiastical art of painting byzantine icons, on a theoretical as well as practical level: 

Upcoming dates 

October 13 - 20, 2017
March 14 - 21, 2018

Please contact Konstantina Stefanaki, Iconographer at The Orthodox Academy of Crete for registration and further information.,  

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The Sigtuna Foundation 100-year anniversary

The 10th of June the Oikosnet member Sigtuna Foundation celebrated it´s 100 year anniversay. The picture was taken just before the banquet dinner, with many friends and partners celebrating and looking forward to the next hundred years to come. 

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