EFA22 Retreats

20210824123428 SEM Finding Home in Complex World EFA Luiza Puiu mid

21 Aug, 2022


International experts will be working in small, individual groups on the most pressing issues of our time. The retreat is your opportunity to actively strengthen the future of Europe.

Our EFA retreats bring together selected experts to work on a specific themes. The framework is formed by Europe's major challenges, specifically along the four thematic tracks of the European Forum Alpbach. During the three-day retreats, around 40 experts from the respective thematic areas develop concrete approaches to solutions or form the basis for cooperation and networks that exist far beyond the Forum. Innovative formats and methods not only provide exciting insights, but also inspire completely new approaches and ideas.

Lab Week I

MEGA Hackathon on Financial and Economic Literacy

The MEGA Hackathon concept follows a strong „Do Tank Approach“ that develops concrete ideas and projects in a participatory and interdisciplinary manner.

While the world is changing at breakneck speed and slipping from one crisis into the next, people tend to be left behind and unsettled by global events. For young people from families with limited financial and educational opportunities, it is particularly difficult to make independent decisions and pave their way into self-confident adulthood. This requires a strengthening of competencies in the area of finance and economics that is sustainable and enables people to understand global conditions and their scope for action. This is where the MEGA Hackathon comes in. The Hackathon’s thematic focus lies on

  • financial literacy for children and young people
  • responsible and sustainable financial and economic literacy for adults
  • possibilities for financial and economic literacy for people in retirement

The MEGA Hackathon offers a result-driven approach to develop ideas together with national and international experts, such as Tatjana Lattorff (von und zu Liechtenstein), Mariella Schurz or Markus Schuller (to only name a few). Ideas in the form of game-based approaches are derived from, for example, Farzad Radfar or Nida Bisbuga and Maria Paulo Caicedo Ramirez. Amalia Cahaya Putri, however, is working on a community-focused program on family finance for small local municipalities. The Hackathon is facilitated by Matthias Strolz and will provide seed capital for the two best ideas (€ 5.000 each), as well as access to the MEGA growth accelerator.

Reimagine Politics in Europe: An Optimistic Approach

Political entrepreneurship is a source of renewed energy focused on supporting better politics emerging out of today’s existential challenges. In this three day, interactive retreat, participants gain an overview of the state of play, a better understanding on how to build better and more inclusive politics and how to communicate it, while sparking new connections and exploring new potential funding opportunities, whilst we share the outcomes of the Anstoß Demokratie project. The Retreat is organised with our partners Apolitical Foundation and Multitudes Foundation, and sponsored by the ERSTE Foundation.

We have participants from across the democracy support ecosystem, from Foundation representatives like Daniel Sachs and Rui Esgaio, through Innovators such as Nino Zambakhidze and Alice Barbe to Social Entrepreneur/Politician Jana Degrott.

Wake-up call: Rethinking our world order as we know it

This retreat, hosted by the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs, will gather a group of distinguished international affairs practitioners to rethink our world order as we know it. The first session is entitled "Responding in international fora: The UN, EU, NATO and OSCE" and deals with the future relevance and role of those organisations in a confrontational international environment. The second session is entitled "Responses to a New Reality: from the Euro-Atlantic to Asia-Pacific Regions" and will primarily deal with questions about future relations between the "West" and countries in East and Central Asia. The participants of the retreat include high-level diplomats and policy makers like Ambassador Gregor Kößler, Ambassador Victoria Kennedy, EEAS Deputy Secretary General/Political Director Enrique Mora, Ambassador Axel Marschik and the State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Defence Benedikt Zimmer as well as renowned foreign policy experts like Dr. Gudrun Harrer and Dr. Stefan Mair.

High-Level Retreat on Financial Literacy

Now more than ever, it is evident that fostering economic and financial education across all walks of life is a key ingredient to secure Europe’s future and the financial health of its citizens. The deficit of economic and financial literacy hinders economic performance, causes serious welfare losses, and has a negative impact on personal freedom, health, societal participation, and wealth creation of European citizens.

This 3-day retreat is sponsored by our partner ERSTE Foundation and co-curated by Goran Maric from Three Coins. Our selected group of national and international experts devotes itself to specific topics, as

  • The influence of financial literacy on creating a socially balanced economy
  • Status quo and the potential of capital market participation and the role ideology plays
  • Evaluating impactful measures to increase the financial health of European citizens

The group of experts consist of, among others, nobel prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor Annamaria Lusardi from George Washington University, Ewald Nowotny, President of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, Philip List from ERSTE Group´s FLiP or Monika Köppl-Turyna, Director of EcoAustria.

Lab Week II

Rebuilding Rule of Law and Civic Space

Designed as a contribution to redressing the squeezing of civic space within the EU27, this Retreat will develop realistic ideas on how civil societies can better work together to enhance the protection of civic space in EUMS. It will identify a common impact goal, reaffirm our shared values and develop a roadmap of concrete action points for advancing the creation of a European policy on civic space. This 3-day Retreat is organised with our partners the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Hertie School, with facilitation by SINGA Berlin.

Leading actors from across the CSO ecosystem will participate in the Retreat: Recharging Advocacy for Rights in Europe (RARE) founders Marta Pardavi and Bernhard Knoll-Tudor, as well as Waltraud Heller from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Alexandrina Najmowicz from the European Civic Forum and Katarzyna Batko-Toluc from the Citizens Network Watchdog Poland.

10x100 – A 1000-Day Action Alliance

10x100 aims to move the dial on a planetary just transition together with people who provoke and influence the policy mainstream across the world. The forming alliance hopes to do so by developing a process model and strategic alliance for a large-scale coordination of systems change activities. Together, the group will develop a toolkit for sparking transformative decision cycles: a concrete approach that each individual can implement in their own working environment, while also aligning with other actors at a larger scale for increased learning and impact. The retreat collaboration shall result in the convening of parallel 100-day learn-act-loops in our respective working worlds and joint sensing and sense-making by offering a timeframe of 1000 days, structured as a set of 10x100 day learn-act-loops, for coordinating and evaluating mass multi-actor responses in an age of perpetual crisis.

This retreat group, under the guidance of Caroline Paulick-Thielm, Director of Politics for Tomorrow and Indy Johar, Executive Director at Dark Matter Labs, will bring together the thought leadership of participants such as Carola Carazzone, Vice-President of Philea - Philanthropy Europe Association, Geoff Mulgan, Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London (UCL), Katharina Rogenhofer, author, climate activist and initiator of the Austrian Popular Initiative for Climate, Sid Efromovich, Co-Founder of Generation Pledge, as well as Peter Kurz Lord Mayor of Mannheim and Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors. 

Climate Opportunity Leaders Retreat

A diverse group of climate thought and action leaders will come together with the goal to co-create solutions to engage everyone in the fight against the climate crisis and to propel forward a transition towards a truly sustainable present and future. Generating ideas and actions needed to create a strong and engaging vision for the world we wish to live in will also be a crucial part of the group’s purpose.

Participants of this highly diverse and interdisciplinary group will include Claudio Pedretti, Founder & CEO of Green Climate Ventures and Vice-President of the Alliance for Rural Electrification, Facundo Etchebehere, VP Global Public Affairs at Danone, Rebekka Dober, Founder of YEP – Youth Empowerment Participation, Gonzalo Muñoz, Founder of the social enterprise TriCiclos and Chair of the Advisory Board of the UNFCCC Climate Champions Team, Klara König, climate justice activist and spokesperson of Fridays for Future Austria, as well as Gebhard Ottacher, soon-to-be head of the Vienna Climate Lab.

The EU Must Think Big Again – Boosting European Security and Developing Strategies for the Balkans

This retreat, supported by the ERSTE Foundation and designed under the aegis of its Director for Strategy and Europe, Hedvig Morvai, will gather a group of policy makers, academics and civil society leaders to develop new strategies for the Balkans. The first day of the retreat will be devoted to the topic of “EU Strategic Autonomy – Less Dependence More Influence”. EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro Jovana Marović, and the Director of Carnegie Europe Rosa Balfour are among the experts that will deliver impulse statements on the consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine on Europe and the Balkans in particular. Afterwards, participants will talk about Europe’s ability to manage critical dependencies while engaging with the world as well as energy security and the green transition. On the second day, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov, the Deputy Chairman of the European Stability Initiative Kristof Bender and Oxford lecturer Dimitar Bechev will kick-off a discussion on different scenarios for the future of the EU’s enlargement policy. Finally, participants will focus on how to strengthen democratic resilience in Europe. Angelina Eichhorst, Managing Director for Europe at the European External Action Service, Erion Veliaj, Major of Tirana and Lukas Mandl, Member of the European Parliament, will be among the impulse speakers on the third day.