Walter Lüssi, General Secretary of the Reformed Church Canton of Zürich and President of Plusbildung, ökumenische Bildunglandschaft Schweiz, has been elected as the new President of Oikosnet Europe. Walter Lüssi is the successor of Jaap van der Sar who has had the position of President for Oikosnet Europe the last six years, and stepped down according to the statues. Walter Lüssi was elected at the Annual Conference in Flehingen, Germany in the beginning of September.
– Modern societies and the churches themselves are dependent on places of encounter, on expertise and public debates. To this Oikosnet Europe is committed, says Walter Lüssi in a comment to his new role as President.
Oikosnet Europe is a network of some 40 Christian academies and laity centres in Europe. Today, the member organisations represent Churches of the reformation, Catholic and Orthodox traditions from 18 countries in Europe. During the last years the main focus for common projects of Oikosnet Europe has been religion and democracy, social development, ecumenical formation, sustainability, migration and gender issues.
The history of the organisation dates back to 1955 when Olov Hartman, the director of the Sigtuna Foundation, Sweden, and Eberhard Müller, the director of Bad Boll, Germany, came up with the idea to establish a European association of Christian academies and laity centres, EAALCE (The Ecumenical Association of Academies and Laity Centres in Europe). The name was later changed in to Oikosnet Europe.
Walter Lüssi has a long term experience within Oikosnet Europe. Partly as former director of the academy of Boldern, one of Oikosnet Europes member organisations and partly as the former Treasurer of the Board of Oikosnet Europe 2010 – 2014.
In addition to Walter Lüssi, the Annual General Meeting in Flehingen also elected Sören Lenz (Liebfrauenberg, France) as Deputy Chairman and Dr. Julia Gerlach (Academy Meissen) as new members of the Board. Nicola Murray (Corrymeela, Northern Ireland) and Dr. Konstantinos Zormpas (Orthodox Academy of Crete) remained as members of the board according to the election in 2016.