BOTTOMs UP, TOPs DOWN? Sustainabilite Development Cooperation

BOTTOMs UP, TOPs DOWN? Sustainabilite Development Cooperation


Sustainable Development Cooperation

It is heartbreaking that global society has evolved a highly efficient way to get entertainment to rich adults and children, while it can't get twelve-cent medicine to dying poor children.

William Easterly

We have to re-configurate global capitalism in order to help the poor.

Jim Yong Kim

Deep in every liberal sensibility is a profound sense that in a world of moral uncertainty one idea is sacred, one belief cannot be compromised: the rich should help the poor, and the form of this help should be aid.

Dambisa Moyo

True solutions will also require deeper debt relief, greater development assistance, more open trade with the rich countries, and the like.

Jeffrey Sachs

Whom should we believe? Those who tell us that aid can solve the problem? Or those who say that it makes things worse? […] We simply do not know; we are just speculating on a grand scale.

Esther Duflo and Abhijit V. Banerjee

1st–7th March 2018

oikos Winter School

1st–7th March 2018 | Witten, Germany
Witten | Germany

The image of dysfunctional development cooperation is widespread. The allegations are manifold: Corrupt elites are enriched by the cash flows of development cooperation. Western concepts are naively exported without satisfying the needs of the local population. Projects often benefit the so-called donor countries most, and development cooperation reinforces existing dependencies. In short: “Development aid is often a blind flight,” says American economist and development aid critic William Easterly, co-director of the Institute for Development Research at New York University. Is this applicable? Which approaches of development cooperation are more successful than others? What are the different motivations behind cooperations, and how do they affect the implementation of the projects?

Sustainable Development Cooperation?

Are there specific strategies that can be chosen to make development cooperation more efficient and sustainable? We would like to discuss these issues with you at our conference.


Amongst others, here are a few people you get the chance meeting at our conference—in keynotes, discussions, workshops…

Prof. Dr. Estelle Herlyn

is a professor at FOM University of Applied Sciences and head of the FOM Competence Centre for Sustainable Development. She works freelance for the Research Institute for Applied Knowledge Processing (FAW/n). Most recently, she worked on the concept of a Marshall Plan with Africa and on a feasibility study of Agenda 2030 as part of projects with the BMZ, as well as the possibilities and limitations of implementing higher environmental and social standards in global value chains. She is the vice chairperson of the Senate Institute.
After studying business mathematics at TU Dortmund, she initially worked for various international companies for a number of years, e.g. PwC and Ford Motor Company, before completing a doctorate on issues concerning balanced income distributions as a crucial aspect of the social dimension of sustainability at RWTH Aachen University.

Patrick Hohmann

is a swiss entrepreneur. He was born in Egypt in 1950 and spent his youth there. After graduating as a textile engineer, he was manager of a spinning mill, initiated textile projects in developing countries and was committed to the transfer of know-how together with the International Trade Center (WTO / UN).
In 1983 Patrick Hohmann founded the Swiss yarn trading company Remei AG. Under his leadership, Remei AG became a pioneer in the field of sustainable textiles. Under the label bioRe®, Remei AG sells high-quality yarns and garments made of organic cotton. bioRe® textiles are produced according to strict ecological and social criteria.
Wholesome agriculture is the basis of social progress. To help farmers build sustainable livelihoods, Patrick Hohmann launched an organic cotton project in Central India in 1991 and in Tanzania in 1994. From these two projects emerged companies that today employ more than 6,000 farmers. Patrick Hohmann was president of the bioRe® Foundation until 2013, which was founded in 1997 by Remei and Coop Switzerland to support the farming community in India and Tanzania.
Peasants living on the margins of society should be integrated as partners in a textile chain. To this end, Remei has built an international network of companies to process and market bioRe® cotton, developing an innovative business model based on partnership and focused on economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Dr. Jude Ndzifon Kimengsi

was senior lecturer and chair of Geography and Environmental Studies at the Catholic University of Cameroon. He also has profound experience as a consultant for sustainable development for the Pan-African Institute for Development (PAID), WWF, and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Carlos Mairoce

is a manager and social activist from Mozambique. He has been a Municipal facilitator for the project DIALOGO (Local Dialog for good governance). As a coordinator of Centre for Civil Society Learning and Capacity Building – CESC, he worked in Networking for coalitions to establish advocacy, social mobilization and engagement of local civil society with government institutions. Furthermore, he is one of the founders of PLASOC, a civil society platform made of more than 40 grassroots organizations and has supported local and marginalised communities to implement empowering projects. Additionally he worked for MASC (Civil Society Support Mechanism) as a mentor for civil society organizations in the Central Region of Mozambique and specialist for community empowering tools.

Dr. Annette Massmann

is the Director of the Future Foundation for Development, a trust of Germany's first social and ecological bank. The Future Foundation currently supports 79 projects in more than 20 countries. The points of focus lie in the areas of organic farming, peasants, women, small businesses, education and health aiming at establishing self-sustaining projects.

Julia Su-Tsin Noel

is trainer for community empowerment in the Middle East and South Asia and an NGO's project coordinator for humanitarian aid in Nepal and Iraq. She will introduce us to the People First Impact Method (P-FIM).

Meike Reinhard

Since November 2017 Meike Reinhard has been a Junior Professional in the Department of Governace and Conflict at the GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) in Eschborn. At GIZ she is part of the Knowledge Management Team. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Peace Research and International Relations from the Universität Tübingen (2016). In her Master thesis she focused on the topic of “hybrid political orders” using the example of Somaliland and its bottom up peace- and statebuilding process. During her studies, she took part in a learning and qualification program dedicated to development education, called ASA-Program. During the practical phase of the program, she took part in a development project in Cameroun. Before working with GIZ, she has worked with an NGO in the area of development education in schools in Germany.

Dr. Valentin Seidler

After studying business administration and political sciences, Valentin Seidler worked for the International Red Cross in Africa, Europe and Asia. With his doctorate in economics in 2011, he began his research and teaching at the Institute for International Development at the University of Vienna. From 2014 to 2015, Seidler was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. From 2015 to 2016, he became a Research Fellow at IFK, the International Research Center for Cultural Studies, in Vienna. Research stays in Warwick (UK) and Groningen (Netherlands) follow in 2017 and 2018. Seidler's research interests lie in the understanding of historically evolved social and economic institutions that are considered to be key to long-term economic growth. In recent years he has been busy with the "copying of institutions", so-called institutional transplants. Seidler teaches institutional and heterodox economics as well as development economics at the University of Vienna.

Yuki Seidler

Born in 1974 in Tokyo, Yuki Seidler holds a Master of Science degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2011) and a Master of Arts degree from the Australian National University (2000) (International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies). In 2014-2015 she was at the Princeton University, USA as a Postgraduate Department Guest. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna focusing on the topic of migrants’ health. Before moving to Austria, she has worked with the International Red Cross for 10 years as a public health officer and a consultant in numbers of South and Southeast Asian countries. Since 2010 she has been lecturing at the University of Vienna, Department of Development Studies and various other universities in Austria in the areas of international development and policies, international and global health, participatory project management and qualitative research methodology.

Prof. Dr. Magdalene Silberberger

is Junior Professor for Development Economics at Witten/Herdecke University. The research focus lies on determinants and obstacles of growth and development processes addressing issues of institutional preconditions, international links through trade and investment as well as sustainable development.

Veye Tatah

"Veye Tatah was born in Cameroon and lives in Germany since 1991. After studying computer science, she worked for six and a half years as a research assistant at the Faculty of Computer Science of the TU Dortmund. She works independently in the fields of IT consulting and development, project management and intercultural communication.
In addition to her consulting activities, she is the owner of the company "Africa Positive Catering and Events". She volunteers as editor-in-chief of the magazine AFRICA POSITIVE, which has been published in German-speaking countries since 1998. In 2014 her first book was published in the conference volume "Afrika 3.0".

Prof. Dr. Joachim Zweynert

is Professor for International Political Economy at Witten/Herdecke University. His focus of research lies in International Political Economy, Institutional Economics, the History of Economic Thought and Economic Area Studies focusing on East Central and Eastern Europe.

The Roadmap

Designing and constructing an international conference is a highly thrilling and immersive endeavor. Since we enjoy watching thoughts converging their realization, we thought it would be great to share not just our excitement with you but also let you glimpse at the things that are causing it.

Here is a sketch of what the seven schooldays will look like. Dig deeper by heading over to a more detailed program draft on Google Drive—and feel free to leave a comment.


You can connect with us even more closely via Facebook.

Our Partners

Hochschultage Ökosoziale Marktwirtschaft Stiftung Evidenz Dr. Ausbüttel Wittener Universitätsgesellschaft Obstbaron Kölln Alberts Green Cup Coffee Happy Coffee LineUpr Hof Sackern Vivani Delinat Rapunzel mymuesli koawach Harvest Moon Wheaty Naturata Voelkel Bauck Hof Bäckerei Grobe Freudenberg edding Christopherus-Haus

Be Part of the Conference

Join us!

Did you know that you can apply to the next oikos Winter School right away? It is as easy as winking. Just open up the following page and introduce yourself. We are looking forward to becoming acquainted with you…

What you might want to know

In which language will the Winter School be held?

The Winter School will be held in English.

What about the costs?

The fee to take part at the Winter School is 150€. If you are among the first ten applicants, you will get a special early bird discount—and just pay 120€.
Included in the fee are food and accommodation. Travel and visa costs cannot be covered.

Where will I stay?

All participants will stay in local student flats to ensure the most welcoming and personal experience in Witten.

How does the overall application process work?

Applying for the oikos Winter School 2018 is fairly easy and straightforward. All you need is to provide us with some basic information so we can get a first impression of you as a future participant of our conference. We are particularly interested in what connects you with the topic we are about to collectively think about. You thus get the opportunity to tell us a bit about your background, your ideas, visions and wishes in a short essay of maximally 750 words. And if you have got something specific you might want to contribute to the conference (like presenting a project or leading a workshop), please let us know.
In short, we need the following bits of data from you:

  • some general information (name, address and the like)
  • your curriculum vitae (PDF)
  • the essay (max. 750 words, PDF)
  • a more or less representative photo (optional)

After you formally sent us you application using our application form we will carefully read it and get in touch with you as soon as possible with further details about the next actions to take.

When is the application deadline?

Application closes on January 15, 2018.

When are arrival and departure scheduled?

On Thursday, 1st March you have got plenty of time to arrive at Witten, meet your hosts and make first contact with the other conference attendees. We recommend you to arrive between 8:00 and 16:00 o'clock.
Departure is scheduled for day seven (Wednesday, 7th March). After a brunch, you are free to say goodbye around midday.

I am allergic/vegetarian/vegan/…—does this pose a problem?

Of course not! During the application and registration process you can notify us about special needs.

What about visa?

If you do not live in the EU, please make sure to apply for your visa in time. We recommend to apply as early as possible but at the latest one month before the conference starts. For questions concerning your participation contact Timo:

I still have questions. Who wants to hear them?

We are glad you have more questions. Timo Niehoff is the right guy to put them to, as he is responsible for the applicant's and participant's – hence: yours – wellbeing. Just inbox him:

 start the application 

registration closes on January 15, 2018


Alternatively, if you want to follow our conference but do not intend – for whatever reason – to register as a regular attendee, you can still sign up to our e-mail newsletter. We will then keep you up to date about the lineup, public events and give you the opportunity to take a first-hand glance at the topics discussed during the conference.

We don't pass your precious information to other, potentially malicious providers nor do we intend to spam your mailbox ourselves. Pinky promise.

oikos Winter School

Since 2007, about 30 students from all over the world come to Witten once a year for working on issues of sustainability in economics. Here, respecting the triple bottom line of social, ecological, and economic sustainability receives special attention. For one week, the participants analyse theories, methods, and case studies and reflect different perspectives and ideas.

The follow up report of last year's Winter School on sustainability in the fashion industry can be read here.

organizing the 2018 oikos Winter School on Sustainable Development Cooperation

photo by Dana Schmidt

The 2018 Team

We are a team of twelve students from various faculties at the University Witten/Herdecke, Germany, convinced of our shared responsibility in promoting the necessity to act with future generations in mind.

  • Felix Bouché
    B.A. Philosophy, Cultural Reflexion & Cultural Practice
  • Flora Dicke
    B.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics
  • Georg Weithauer
    B.Sc. Management
  • Julian Ronnefeldt
    B.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics
  • Lasse Paetz
    M.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics
  • Lea-Rika Ross
    M.A. Doing Culture
  • Ruben Philipp
    B.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics
  • Severin Rommeler
    B.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics
  • Sophie Gröning
    B.Sc. Psychology & Psychotherapy
  • Timo Niehoff
    B.A. Philosophy, Cultural Reflexion & Cultural Practice
  • Wanja Firnkes
    B.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics
  • Yanika Meyer-Oldenburg
    B.A. Philosophy, Politics & Economics

oikos is an international student-driven organization for sustainability in economics and management. Founded in 1987 in Switzerland, oikos today empowers young leaders to drive change towards sustainability worldwide.

For more information check out their website.