The Annual meeting 2023 in Basel

Once a year, the members of Oikosnet meet for a conference with professional inspiration and decision-making. This year, members gathered the annual meeting from 5 to 7 October 2023. The meeting was held in Hotel Odeya, Basel’s old mission house. The European Protestant and Anglican Network for life-long Learning, EAEE, was also attending this year’s conference.

In addition to being President of Oikosnet Europe, Walter Lüssi is also the leader of the Executive board for Plusbildung, which is an ecumenical network for adult education in Switzerland. As Plusbildung was the organiser of the event, additional participants took part in parts of the academic programme.

Interpellatios and services

Members of Oikosnet, EAEE and Mission 21 contributed with spiritual reflections to the programme. Rev. Rita Famos, President of the Protestant Church in Switzerland, also gave her greetings to the participants. The programme started and ended with an ecumenical church service.

Education on the Net

A main topic was Education on the Net, both through plenary sessions and in various workshops. Dr Jasmine Suhner (University of Zurich and University of Lucerne) gave us a good analysis of the development of the digital society, from the utopias of the early networks to today’s fluidity phase. She also presented her preliminary results from a Swiss study on Plusbildung.

Dr phil. Gernot Meier’s lecture on the topic:

The session ended with a round table discussion with Veronika Matejkova, Alf Linderman and the two speakers – chaired by Walter Lüssi.

The Future of Oikosnet

A separate session in the meeting was about the Future of Oikosnet Europe. The session, which also included the members of EAEE, was chaired by Kjell Riise. The Board of Oikosnet has been working on an Action Plan for some time. This was presented and discussed. The discussion centred on what role Oikosnet should play in the future. We also discussed how we can facilitate greater participation by Eastern Europe than is currently the case.

Dissolution of EAEE: See link to New possible members for Oikosnet Europe – the dissolution of EAEE

Minutes of the GA – see link

A backdrop: War

How should we deal with the war in Ukraine? This topic was also highlighted. On the last day of the annual meeting, 7 October, the news of Hamas’ horrific attack in Israel was announced. In a concluding service, we prayed for a just peace between Palestine and Israel, and between Russia and Ukraine.

Networking in practice

New digital solutions have given us more opportunities to communicate over long distances. At the same time, the annual meeting also demonstrated the value of coming together physically. The breaks are important in this! New contacts were made, across denominations and national borders. We met in excellent surroundings, with first-class food and a good programme. Many thanks to Walter Lüssi, who together with his staff did everything to ensure that we experienced Switzerland at its very best!

Kjell Riise

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