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Social Learning, Sustainability and Participatory Approaches


17. Februar 2003 9:00 - 17:00
Oldenburg University
inaugural conference of the GELENA Project (Social Learning and Sustainability, of Oldenburg University and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Germany

Building A5, Rooms 0-054/055/056
Ammersländer Heerstr. 67-99
26111 Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg, Germany

Social learning and innovation processes are often seen as crucial for the implementation of sustainability. However, there is little conceptual and empirical knowledge available on how and under which circumstances social learning takes place and how it could be initiated.

The conference shall foster exchange on the problems, experiences and conditions of social learning in the field of sustainability and on the role of participatory approaches in this context.

Keynote lectures will be given by Dr Jill Jaeger, coordinator of the Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability (ISTS) and the former executive director of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP); and by Dr Matthijs Hisschemöller, senior researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

In three seperate workshops, conference participants will discuss the key aspects of the GELENA Project:

1) Social Learning and Evolutionalry Economics
2) Participatory Product Development
3) Integrated Assessment Models as a Tool for Social Learning


9 - 9:20
- Dr Bernd Siebenhüner, Dr Thomas Beschorner, Esther Hoffmann (GELENA-Team)
- Prof. Uwe Schneidewind (Dean of the Department of Ecnonmics and Law, University of Oldenburg)

9:20 - 10:10

Keynote Address I: Social Learning and Sustainability
- Dr Jill Jaeger (Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability)

10:10 - 10:40
Coffee/Health Break

10:40 - 11:30
Keynote Address II: Learning in Participatory Processes
- Dr Matthijs Hisschemöller (IVM Amsterdam)

11:30 - 12:15
Introduction to the GELENA Project

12:15 - 13:30

13:30 - 15:30
Parallel Working Groups
1) Social Learning and Evolutionary Economics
(will be held in German)
- Prof. Frank Beckenbach (University of Kassel)
- Prof. Manfred Moldaschl (Chemnitz University of Technology, invited)
- Prof. Reinhardt Pfriem (University of Oldenburg)

2) Participatory Product Development
(will be held in German)
- Dr Elisabeth Alteköster (Volkswagen AG, Brussels)
- Kathrin Ankele (IÖW, Berlin)
- Prof. Ursula Hansen (University of Hannover)
- Dr Simon Joss (University of Westminister, London)
- Volkmar Lübke (Die Verbraucher Initiative e.V., Berlin)
- Prof. Uwe Schneidewind (University of Oldenburg)
- Prof. Ines Weller (University of Bremen)

3) Integrated Assessment Models as a Tool for Social Learning
- Dr Alex Haxeltine (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research)
- Dr Matthijs Hisschemöller (IVM Amsterdam)
- Dr Jill Jaeger (Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability)

15:30 - 16:00
Coffee/Health Break

16:00 - 16:30
Shopping Tour: Results of the Working Groups

16:30 - 17:00
Plenary: Lessons Learned


IOeW main office

Potsdamer Str. 105
D-10785 Berlin
Tel.: +49-(0)30 - 884 59 4-0
Fax: +49-(0)30 - 882 54 39
e-mail: kommunikation(at)

IOeW regional office Heidelberg

Bergstraße 7
D-69120 Heidelberg
Tel.: +49-(0)6221 - 64 91 60
Fax: +49-(0)6221 - 27 06 0
e-mail: mailbox(at)

Information on the GELENA-Project and the conference will be posted on our website at