Gender & Justice Network 7th to 9th September 2015 in Corrymeela

Theme: Care – who cares for whom and why?

gender&justiceIn the network we try to find a theme that is connected with gender and justice alike , inform about our experiences with the theme in our work and country and have a look at the situation in the hosting country. So this year the Gender & Justice Network had an interesting overview on the care-system in Northern Ireland during these two days. Three lectures from three different points of view deepened the theme. Susan McEwen, Head of Programmes, Corrymeela, gave the first input on Monday evening introducing to the Corrymeela work: What does it mean «to live well together »? She underlined how important story telling is to build bridges and connections. The second lecture was given by Maria Gavay, member of the Corrymeela community. She got her care-experiences from the Arche-communities where she lived for some time together with disabled people. Lyn Campell came in for the last lecture on Wednesday morning to tell us about the Carers Association of Northern Ireland providing support to carers and to get carers life easier.

The Gender & Justice network had the opportunity to visit a big Care Association named « Triagel » in Ballymena. The association started 30 years ago initiated by a group of nine women to identify housing need for women suffering domestic violence.

Today the association expanded very much building homes for elderly and disabled people, providing support in creating possibilities for difficult situations, etc.

Another interesting learning part of the Gender & Justice Network was as always the moment of sharing our knowledge about the care-situations and challenges in the different countries presented by the participants.

Coordination: Nicole Richter, Institute for Church & Society, Schwerte together with Annette Feldmann, Corrymeela and volunteer Nnedinma, Corrymeela

Participants : Nicole Richter (Germany), Annette Feldmann (Corrymeela/Germany), Nnedinma (Corrymeela/ Kenia), Dr. Kirsten Beuth (Austria), Marielisa von Thadden (Germany), Martina Heinrichs (Netherlands), Jacques Van der Smissen (Netherlands), Dr. Irmgard Ehlers, Dr. Melinda Madew (Philippines), Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum (Norway), Elisabeth Reichen-Amsler (Switzerland)

Outlook:  5th -7th September 2016

Coordination: Nicole Richter. The Gender & Justice Network decided to work on the theme: Refugees crisis and gender. Where could be the most strategic place for the theme of this preconference?

There is no final decision about the place yet: It depends if the partner is sensitive on Gender & Justice issues and if we will find there experts and have the opportunity to visit places of interest. About the date and the place we will inform as soon as possible.

 Elisabeth Reichen-Amsler & Marielisa von Thadden

Klimaatloop – A Pilgrimage for Climate Justice

PCWs-and-the-Peoples-Pilgrimage- (1)At the end of this year the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will take place in Paris. In the last few months all over the world people decided it is time to act and started walking towards Paris. Among them are many Christians and people from other faiths. On the website you can find all interfaith events. The People’s Pilgrimage is a truly ecumenical event. Oikosnet-member Oikos initiated a Dutch pilgrimage for climate justice: Klimaatloop – Kerken op weg naar een rechtvaardig klimaatbeleid. In 10 stages participants walk from the North (Winsum) to the South (Vaalserberg). During a national event in Utrecht on 24 October Dutch church leaders from different denominations will walk (4 short stages between 5 churches) and talk (debates, church services, lectures). Christians and non-christians are all welcome to join in. Oikos in the Netherlands is proud to be the initiator of the Klimaatloop, because it is the first time that churches from all denominations act together and speak as one regarding to climate change: The time is now to act!


Visions for the future, Sigtuna May 18th – May 21st

Paneldebatt Sigtunastiftelsen1 Cultural identity, democracy and peace was the main theme of the confence in Sigtuna , arranged by the Sigtuna Foundation in cooperation with Oikosnet Europe, Riseci, The Swedish Christian Council and the Swedish Muslim Council. The program started out with a dialogue between Anas Altikriti, Founder and president of the Cordoba Foundation in the UK, Ute Steyer, Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Stockholm, Josep-Maria Carbonell, Dean at the Blanquerna School of Communications and International Relations at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona,  Mia Lövheim, Professor in the Sociology of religion at Uppsala University and Mona Sahlin, National Coordinator against violent extremism and previous leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party. Coming from different religous backgrounds and different cultural contexts the speeches given really shed some light on the challenge of having an open dialogue – not only with the ones with whom you share your values.

Religion democracy and respectIn the following part of the conference, several members of Oikosnet Europe shared their experiences by giving speeches and presentations. Björn Wallén from the Academy of Lärkkulla gave a presentation about community based learning, Sören Lenz from Liebfrauenberg gave a speech on Laicité – the french way of living together, Angela Berger from Evangelische Akademie in Berlin gave a presentation on Pegida, the the new right wing populism in Germany, Erin Wilson, Director, Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain at Rijksuniversiteit in Groningen, gave her perspectives on religion in the public sphere, followed up by a speech on the relationship between state and religion in Germany by Sabine Federman from the Academy of Villigst.  On the second day of the conference Aleksei Bodorov from St Andrew´s Biblical Theological Institue in Moscow shared his perspective on religion, cultural identity and democracy in Russia, followed up by Roman Juriga from Pravoslavná akademie Vilémov presenting  the project “Night of Open Churces” and finally Gernot Meier from Evangelische Akademie Baden shared his experices of a religious dialogue project named In the mirror of the other.

All contributions were very valuable in their own right, giving inspiration, concrete examples and good ideas for the future. In the concluding discussion it was very clear that the members of Oikosnet Europe do have a lot in common when it comes to the challenge on how to create a fruitful  dialogue on religion and democracy, based on the freedom of and speech as well as respect for one anothers differencies. That could be a real “Vision for the Future”.

Presentations  from the conferences will be published at the website of Oikosnet Europe later on.

Sofia af Geijerstam, The Sigtuna Foundation


Recall understand and prevent

Landau the 6th – 8th of November

auschwits-birkenauThe year of 2015 is full of sad anniversaries. The liberation of the concentration camp in Auschwitz 70 years ago, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the genocide in Rwanda 1994 and the massacre at Srebrenica 20 years ago.

How could and can these crimes against humanity be possible? In which environment do they grow and who commits such acts?

The 6th – 8th of November the Evangelische Akademie of Pfalz arrange a conference in Landau on how to handle difficult crimes against humanity. The theme of the conference is Recall, understand and prevent, focusing on the process of responsibility, redress and reconciliation. If you are interested to take part in this conference please get in contact with Georg Wentz

Is your organisation ready for the transnational cooperation? Is it ready for Europe?

Europe-wide Survey: Challenges in the transnational cooperation for organisations in the sector of formal and informal education


The transnational cooperation of organisations and institutions within the sector of formal and non-formal education (educational institution and youth organisations) is getting more and more important in a converging Europe. Is your organisation ready for the transnational cooperation? Is it ready for Europe?
Regarding this crucial question Oikosnet Europe sends you a survey. We would appreciate if you could spend 20 minutes of your time to click on the link and if you could answer to the questions anonymously. Thanks a lot for forwarding this survey to your partners as well. Among English there will be five more languages to choose from.
Through the completion of the survey you will be able to learn which challenges your organisation is facing in the context of transnational cooperation. Your answers will help to develop an Online-Self-Assessment-Tool. This tool will assist organisations to check their ability and to optimise to work cross-border in a European context. From mid of 2016 the tool will be available free of charge on the website of the EU-Fundraising Association .
For further information about the project see:
As a gesture of appreciation for your contribution the lead partner emcra (Berlin) offers you to participate at one of their Online Seminars in one particular area of European fundraising. You can choose one seminar in German or English language.
Enjoy the survey!

Rüdiger Noll


Fear and its Antidotes

Invitation to Oikosnet`s Next Annual Conference in Corrymeela

In his latest book about Europe (Europe-An Unfinished Adventure (2004), Europa – Ein unvollendetes Abenteuer (2015)) the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Baumann identifies fear, justified or artificially produced, as a driving force in worldwide politics as well as in our societies. He speaks, inter alia, of the fear of terrorist attacks, the fear to loose one´s job, the fear of being excluded, the fear of fighting new threats with old methodologies and old equipment.

But it did not need the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 to make fear become the new paradigm. Baumann sees the Mid-70ies of the last century as a turning point when neoliberal economics became dominant and social-welfare states were dismantled. When the institutions, which supported families, societies as well as the state to cope with fears and insecurities, were sidelined, fear determined increasingly many relationships with others, new enemy pictures were established and fear became a resource in the hands of the economically powerful.
Instead of a “war against terror” as a false and dangerous antidote, Baumann advocates for hospital and inclusive societies based on democracy (participation) and justice.

The next Annual Conference in Corrymeela

Fear (“Fear and Remembering in the 21st Century”) is also the main theme of the next Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe in Corrymeela (Northern Ireland), 9-13 September 2015, to which you are cordially invited. The Corrymeela Community and Center has a lot of hands-on experience in non-violent conflict mediation in Northern Ireland as well as in worldwide conflict situations. And it also serves as a renown center for reflecting on those experiences. Through a study day, an excursion, worship life and encounters during the Annual Conference, we want to profit from this experience and expertise at a moment when Corrymeela celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In addition, many crucial items are on the business agenda of the Annual Conference in order to increase the interaction among Oikosnet members and to engage in common projects and initiatives.
For the invitation letter and your registration for the Annual Conference click here.

Care – theme for the Gender and Justice Network

“Care”, is the theme for the Gender and Justice Network of Oikosnet Europe, meeting just prior to the Annual Conference in Corrymeela. Care, in the sense of caring for each other, is certainly one of the antidotes providing hospital and inclusive societies.
For the programme of the Gender and Justice Network click here.

In order to participate tick the respective box in the online registration for the Annual Conference. The Gender and Justice Network, though looking on issues from a gender perspective, invites women and men alike.

“Dialogue for A Peaceful Change
And finally, making the best use of resources at Corrymeela, Oikosnet Europe and the Corrymeela Center invite together for a DPC-Training in Corrymeela from 5 to 9 September. “DPC” stands for
“Dialogue for A Peaceful Change” and is a methodology for non-violent conflict mediation, which was developed by Oikosnet members, including Corrymeela.
For the DPC invitation and your registration click here
Looking forward to welcoming many of you in Corrymeela in September, the President and the Board of Oikosnet Europe send you their cordial greetings!

Rüdiger Noll


Make a world of difference at Corrymeela

CorrymeelaCan you imagine working for a society whose priorities are justice, mutual respect, the participation of all, concern for the vulnerable and the stranger, stewardship of resources, and care for Creation?

Can you imagine living in one community with people from Northern Ireland, Kenya, the States, the Republic of Ireland, Colombia, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Pakistan, and El Salvador?

Can you imagine offering hospitality to thousands of people by cleaning, cooking, leading activities and listening to stories?

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at our 50-year-old peace and reconciliation centre in Northern Ireland, please visit our website or contact Aileen and Emily  for further details.

Reunion for Corrymeela volunteers

Making a World of Difference –  the Gathering

The gathering

We would like to get in touch with everyone who has contributed their time and energy to sustain Corrymeela over the last fifty years. If you have been a Corrymeela volunteer of any kind (long term, short term, kitchen, summer, work camp, housekeeping, reception, etc), please fill out this form and let us know where you are, what you’re up to and whether you’d like information about our celebration and gathering of former Corrymeela volunteers, 3rd -7th April 2015.

The event will be full of endless cups of tea and coffee, walks down memory lane and around the site, reflections on where life has taken you and Corrymeela, and an Easter service led by Pádraig ÓTuama, new Community Leader. We’d like as many people as possible to attend who represent a wide range of years and tasks. In light of this, it will be a ‘pay as you please’ event, meaning that donations will be warmly welcomed but not mandatory.

If you aren’t able to come, don’t worry! There will be opportunities to participate from afar. 2015 is the year we will build the Corrymeela diaspora into a vibrant community.  – A Resource and a Partner for Oikosnet Members

GlobalethicsIf you are planning a conference or a project on an ethical issue and you want to get input and insights from various parts of the world, if you are looking for partners and experts from different regions of the world, or if you even want to join research projects or thematic networks, then the Globethics Network could be the right resource and network to connect with. is a global network of persons and institutions interested in various fields of applied ethics. It offers access to a large number of resources on ethics, especially through its leading global digital ethics library and facilitates collaborative web-based research, conferences, online publishing and information sharing.

The center piece of, founded in 2008 by Christoph Stückelberger in Switzerland, is its research library which includes by now 1.497,964 full articles, books and journals reflecting on ethical issues. The library can be searched under various categories and key words. In addition, Globethics offers access to research consortia and networks on a number of issues.

And it also works the other way round: registered participants could also post their articles and reflections and facilitate the establishment of a network. Registration is free of charge!

Under its motto “Dialogue, Reflection and Action for a Responsible Leadership” the very international Board and staff of Globalethics want to promote especially equal access to ethical discourses for interested people and researchers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But Europeans, for instance, do profit by the same token.

The Globethics headquarters based in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva facilitates a huge network on ethical issues from all over the world. At present, it centers its own activities around issues such as business and economic issues, interreligious ethics, responsible leadership. Registered participants profit to a high degree from its services and networks.

Wait a minute ……!

Jaap-van-der-SarViolence as a means – is that allowed? This is not just a question which  can easily be raised to for example Christians, westerners, Muslims, atheists, jihadists only.  Most of the time the evil sides of humanity seems to characterise more ‘others’ than ourselves, our friends. Yet the good arguments for this approach are easy to find: the attack on Charlie Hebdo was not done by us but by fanatic followers of what we consider the false Islam. The same applies to Boko Haram, to IS, to fundamentalists, to people who are different from us.

‘Charlie Hebdo’ as the expression of evil thoughts and deeds doesn’t characterise us. And we condemn it forcefully, as I have seen in many statements from many organisations which are on the correct side of the spectrum. And I heard it in many interviews. Let me be clear: it is awful what has happened in Paris, what has happened in the North-East of Nigeria, what is happening in Syria. We have to fight this as clear and dedicated as possible.

And yet – I also have some feelings of unease, of ‘jumping to a conclusion’. The first information about the attacks in Paris were to a high degree factual. After that, in the second wave, theories and assumptions started to arise – especially about the motives of the attackers. Quite some of them were true – generalisations were not. The third line of article’s, of comments dealt more and more with backgrounds. Much has to be said about that, for instance regarding the role of religion, the role of socio-economic situation, of education. And also about the limitations of values. What is the scope of the freedom of expression? Like any value, also  this value can compete with other values, like respect for the integrity of a person. How to make judgements in such situations?  The philosopher Avashai Margalit defined two concepts in his book ‘The Decent Society”(1996). He defines a ‘decent society’ as ‘one whose institutions do not humiliate people’. In addition to that he defines a ‘civilised society’ as ‘one whose members do not humiliate one another’. These two concepts are real challenges, especially when we want them to be realised. Not just ‘for them’ nor just ‘by them’. Also in the conflict, as was expressed in Paris, we can distinguish a huge group of indirect involved people. Like ourselves. And by determining this, we are at stake too, in our role within this conflict.

Therefore it takes more than a minute. It takes more than a minute for me as a person. It takes more than a minute for us as members of Oikosnet Europe to actively deal with the questions, arising from the first week of January 2015. It is our task, sometimes included in our profession, to support the open exchange of thoughts and underlying values. This can bring us to both a decent and a civilised society. Challenges enough.

Jaap van der Sar
President Oikosnet Europe