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Alpbach Learning Missions

The Alpbach Learning Mission is a groundbreaking seminar format at the European Forum Alpbach. By joining a mission, you start out with a scientific seminar as a basis and then embark on a self-organised learning journey, partially guided by experts but mostly driven by your motivation to bring solutions to a table.

In a small peer group you will take a deep dive into a selected topic over the course of the whole European Forum Alpbach. When the Forum is over, your findings will be taken up by the academic partners of the Alpbach Learning Missions and developed further within their networks. In order to ensure the best individual support for each mission, the number of participants is strictly limited.

The Missions require interdisciplinary approaches from a range of perspectives.
They deal with the following topics:

Seminar 11: “Water Security for People and Nature – From Now to 2050“

Around the world, signs of water trouble abound. Rivers are running dry, lakes are shrinking, and groundwater is being depleted. Climate crisis is altering the global water cycle, leading to more intense droughts and floods. The question arises: how can we meet the food, energy, health, safety and drinking water needs of the growing population, while at the same time sustaining the ecosystems that support our economies and the web of life on the planet? How can we maintain regional peace and stability as water supplies run short? Will water scarcity drive human migrations? We will explore the ways in which the finite nature of water will require a transformation in how we use, manage, and value freshwater.

with Martin Kainz
curated with WasserCluster Lunz

Seminar 12: „Noncommunicable Diseases – How to Control and Prevent Them“

The so-called Noncommunicable Diseases or NCDs (such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) have reached the status of a global epidemic. 41 million deaths per year bring hardship to rich and poor nations alike. Through multi-disciplinary and multifaceted approaches, this Alpbach Learning Mission will focus on laws, regulations and the engagement of the private sector in order to control and prevent NCDs.

with Siegfried Walch
curated with MCI Management Center Innsbruck

Seminar 13: „How can the Transition to a Low-Carbon-Society Work?”

Coping with climate change requires the cooperation of all stakeholders. Together with natural scientists, economists, philosophers and lawyers, the participants of the Alpbach Learning Mission will discuss possible paths of transition to a sustainable and low-carbon society.

with Eva Schulev-Steindl
curated with University of Graz

Seminar 14: „Intellectual Self-Defence“

How do we defend ourselves against fake news and propaganda, no prejudice and resentment, too much information and too few reliable facts? How do we learn to see and understand the multiple views and attitudes while not indulging in complete relativism? How can we develop into autonomous, critical and cosmopolitan citizens, thereby strengthening democracy? In times of fake news and information overkill, of extreme contradictions between allegations and reality, we require techniques for intellectual self-defence against dogma and manipulation to safeguard our individual freedom as knowledgeable and critical citizens. This seminar aims to provide such techniques. Judo for the mind, Krav Maga for the intellect.
with Ilija Trojanow

Seminar 15: „Digital Democracy Lab“

Working in teams, participants in the Digital Democracy Lab will investigate why anti-democratic, authoritarian movements are thriving online in Europe and around the world. They will attempt to launch online creative communities that champion democracy with equal energy and, most importantly, also fun. Participants will bring creativity, passion, facts and humor to the conversation, empowered and amplified by graphic designers and experienced digital strategists.
with Zack Exley

Starting with one of those seminars, which then transforms into a Learning Mission, you will:

  • rethink and tackle questions that are global in scope and work on real solutions
  • exchange with decision-makers from business, science and politics in a direct and informal way
  • find answers that are taken seriously and contribute visibly to globally relevant questions by…
    …presenting your key insights on stage at the closing session of the Political Symposium (ALM@POL)
    …presenting your new ideas and innovative solutions at the FRANS in Alpbach (ALM@FRANS)

How can you become part of this innovative format?

  • Attend one of the 5 seminars that lay the basis for the mission from August 15-21.
  • Apply via e-mail to the seminar chair. Tell him or her why YOU want to go one one of the Alpbach Learning Missions. Deadline: Sunday, August 18, 22:00
  • Give 100% in your mission!

Schedule for the Alpbach Learning Missions

Find the schedule here

15.08. Presentation of all seminars and seminar selection
16.08. – 21.08. Visit a seminar that is also part of the ALMs (Seminar 11-15) Precondition!
until 18.08.
22:00
 Application deadline (Attention: limited number of participants, in order to
make the best individual care and support possible!)
21.08. – 30.08. ALM „Water Security for People and Nature – From Now to 2050“
 Mission expert: Martin KAINZ; meetings in accordance
 Learning expert: Ivan CESTERO; daily mandatory 1h meeting

 ALM „Noncommunicable Diseases – How to Control and Prevent Them“
 Mission expert: Siegfried WALCH; meetings in accordance
 Learning expert: Ivan CESTERO; daily mandatory 1h meeting

 ALM „How can the Transition to a Low-Carbon-Society Work?”
 Mission expert: Eva SCHULEV-STEINDL; meetings in accordance
 Learning expert: Ivan CESTERO; daily mandatory 1h meeting

 ALM „Intellectual Self-Defence“
 Mission expert: Ilija TROJANOW; daily meetings in accordance

 ALM „Digital Democracy Lab“
 Mission expert: Zack EXLEY; daily meetings in accordance

27.08.
11:30-13:00
 ALM@POL
 ‘Tackling Complexity: Insights from the Alpbach Learning Missions’. At the
closing session of the Political and Legal Symposia, participants of the
Alpbach Learning Missions will present their key insights.
28.08.
10:00-19:00
 ALM@FRANS
 (organised by the Forum Alpbach Network Community)
FRANS (Festival of Radical Awesome New Stuff) provides many small and
one large stage for new ideas and offer innovative, inclusive and creative
workshops – all following the slogan “spill your bag of ideas”. Many open
stages and possibilities to present the ideas developed during the Alpbach
Learning Missions! The best ideas win golden tickets to enter the huge
stage of ideas in the Congress Centrum Alpbach at 18:15.
29.08. Reflection of events, experiences and insights.

A folder with information and a timetable will be handed out to the participants on August 21.

Registration and costs

  • Scholarship holders can register at the presentation of the seminars in Alpbach. Limited places are available for Part 2 of the Alpbach Learning Missions. A selection will be made during the Forum, if necessary by lottery.
  • As a paying participant, please register for the whole Forum and state in the comments section which Alpbach Learning Mission you would like to take part in. Limited places are available for Part 2 of the Alpbach Learning Missions.

The Alpbach Learning Missions are supported by Stiftung Mercator and Stiftung Mercator Schweiz and part of the Seminar Week