The International Year of Global Understanding Newsletter #5/2016

Dear colleagues, dear supporters of the IYGU,

As this year comes to an end, we here at the IYGU would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who participated in the IYGU 2016, and made it the success that it is! Together we have already achieved something wonderful! 

We reached millions of people on all continents with an impressively large number of small events but also some really big ones. Examples of the latter type include (i) with respect to the interface of science and the private sector the ESRI educational and user conferences in San Diego with 24,000 participants and the conference of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CNI) in Rio de Janeiro; press reports on the latter reaching millions of readers in the Portuguese-speaking world and beyond. (ii) Regarding joint action of arts and science towards global sustainability the Green Fields Section of the Glastonbury Festival was a major achievement: with more than 150,000 people attending the Glastonbury Festival overall, an impressive number of speakers from the world of politics, and strong international TV and press coverage the IYGU reached millions of music enthusiasts and many musicians, both professional and casual. (iii) With regard to stimulating new approaches to scientific research the symposium at the Science Council of Japan was a promising start to a truly integrated cooperation of the natural, social, and human sciences. The IYGU also reached a large number of people through presentations, booths, and keynote speeches at various conferences. Some of the larger ones with an IYGU presence were the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), with more than 10,000 geographers from around the world, and the International Geographical Congress in Beijing with around 5,000 attendees. In addition, the Science and Technology Festival in Galway (Ireland), held with specific reference to the IYGU and under the theme ‘Science Rising’, attracted about 40,000 students.

Of course, not the size of an event is the most important, but the quality of ideas, dialogs, and exchanges. Sometimes smaller events have a more profound impact than larger ones. Therefore, each and every IYGU event is a crucial contribution to the project. I would like to congratulate all Regional Actions Centers and partners for their highly valuable contributions to the improvement of the understanding of everyone’s globalized living conditions and their local contexts.  

What we have already achieved is a wonderful foundation on which to build and carry on our efforts in research, dialog, and outreach. The IYGU will continue beyond 2016! Exciting developments are going to take place during the '2017 IYGU Harvest Year'. One of its important projects is the 365 Best Practice Examples, 365 contributions to reach global sustainability. The IYGU seeks to compile and share these examples via a specific online platform. Also in 2017, several important competitions will be completed, we will have special events such as the EUROGEO conference in Amsterdam in March, the AAG meeting in Boston in April, or the World Humanities Conference in Liège in August 2017, and many more to come.  

All in all, we have already created a very strong base, one that's capable of creating exciting future projects, and are looking forward to seeing what else we can achieve. 
Please take a few minutes to read over our final update for the year and looking forward to collaborating with all of you in 2017!

Benno Werlen 
IYGU Executive Director
365 Contributions to Reach Global Sustainability in 2017
One of the exciting new projects currently being planned for 2017, the so called ‘Harvest Year’, is the 365 Best Practice Examples project. In cooperation with the Regional Action Centers and partners the IYGU seeks to compile 365 examples of everyday practices that can be considered 'best practices' as far as environmental sustainability and social equity are concerned. The examples should focus on practices that are regionally and culturally specific, highlighting the large diversity of approaches on the way to global sustainability.

We hope that by the end of 2017 we will have presented a new example on each day of the year, bringing the number to 365. We currently have examples to cover the first month of 2017 and hope to expand and add to this as we move through the year.

If you know of a great example that you would like to share or are even running your own campaign that seeks to promote sustainable everyday practices, we would love to hear from you! We seek to display these examples on the existing IYGU website and perhaps establish a separate platform in the longer-term for the purpose of sharing all those wonderful ideas that are already out there and are making a difference each day. Ideally, we would include a short blurb, images, or other media about each example.
If you would like to participate, please request a copy of the Best Practice Examples form by emailing

We have already received very interesting actions from the RAC in Ljubljana, Slovenia and from Thembalathu Thuthuka Uplands (TTU), South Africa
Tell Your Story competition extended to Chinese New Year, Feb 7!
The deadline for the Tell Your Story has been extended to Chinese New Year (February 7th, 2017). Find out more here!


IYGU Arts competition extended to Feb 15!

Call to Action
Deadline has been extended until February 15, 2017! 
Click here to see the update or check the (soon-to-be-available) website! This new IYGU Platform for the Arts will be created in the upcoming weeks, will be accessible for free, and will allow artists to interact and share ideas and projects.

RAC Activities
Taipei RAC
The Taipei Regional Action Centre recently spoke to students about the IYGU and associated projects.

Gr-RAC goes to school!
Increases awareness of students in a less privileged neighbourhood of Athens. Read about it here
German RAC
In Lüneburg they have been busy working on an exciting new project, City of the Future Lüneburg 2030+ 
RAC for Western Europe. 
On December 14, the IYGU in Portugal will be present the first years RAC activities 
The Sustainable Urban Development conference was organised by the Gr-RAC and Municipality of Korydallos.
Metakoinè was held in Milan under theme of 
IYGU. Event deters and photos can be found here.

“Promotion of Grass-Root Activities towards Realization of Sustainable Society: an IYGU Initiative”,
The event was held in the Main Hall, at the Science Council of Japan. More details here

4th TAOYAKA Program International Symposium
This event took place on the 28th November, at Hiroshima University
11th International Innovation Day

The results are in! Click here to see the winners. A few examples of their work are below.
In addition to organising the seminar "Territorio, Interdisciplina y Sociedad" on 15 November the Chilean RAC was also involved in organising the 2nd Latinamerican Congress on Political Ecology held 8-11 November in San Pedro de Atacama. The photo shows the organising committee (OC) and keynote speakers (KS), from left to right: Beatriz Bustos (U de Chile, OC), Piergiorgio DiGiminiano (CIIR PUC, Chile, OC), Michael Lukas (U de Chile OC), María-Christina Fragkou (U de Chile, OC and IYGU RAC Chile), Astrid Ulloa (U Nacional de Colombia, KS), Manuel Prieto (U Catholic of North, Chile, OC), Enrique Aliste (U de Chile, OC), Felipe Milanez (U Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia, Brasil, OC), Anthony Bebbington (U Clarke, USA, KS), and Joe Bryan (U of Colorado USA, KS).
IYGU German-speaking Lecture Series
Geographische Gesellschaft Bern
Event details found here.
Geographisch Ethnographische Gesellschaft Zürich
Event details found here
Geographisch-Ethnographische Gesellschaft Basel
Event details found here.
Fränkische Geographische Gesellschaft
Event details found here
Ostschweizerische Geographische Gesellschaft, St Gallen
Event details found here 
The Geography Department at the University of Bayreuth hosted an IYGU event from November 17-19.
The University of Vienna, Austria, hosts a lecture series running from Oct 2016 to Jan 2017 titled Global Change.
Research committee on Global Understanding
The International Geographical Union (IGU) is setting up a research network to study the condition of globality and to promote the understanding of globalization. The basic idea of this new IGU Commission is to give IYGU a long-term institutional backing for the upcoming years. Its core task will be to stimulate research, organize congresses and conference as well as produce publications along the lines of the IYGU's program.

Forum for the Study of the Global Condition

The Forum for the Study of the Global Condition was officially opened on Dec 1 as a joint undertaking by the universities of Erfurt, Halle, Jena, and Leipzig (all in Germany). More information (German press release) here.
MacArthur 100&Change
The 'Sea Change' project submitted by Future Earth and partners (one of them being IYGU) to the MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change competition has made it into the next round (semi-final). Background information on the selection can be found in a blog post at the MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change website.
A Warm Welcome to the New IYGU Partners
The International Association for Promoting Geoethics is a multidisciplinary, scientific platform for widening the discussion and creating awareness about problems of Ethics applied to the Geosciences. IAPG is legally recognized as a not-for-profit association, has members in 107 countries in 5 continents, and can count on a network of 23 national sections. To read more about the partnership between the IAPG and IYGU click here
Also, the IAPG in collaboration with the Geological Society of London is organizing a session on Geoethics at the EGU General Assembly 2017 in Vienna, Austria, April 23-28, 2017. The Call for Abstracts is open until January 11, 2017 and abstracts can be submitted here while a session description can be accessed here.
Jean-Pierre Lehmann 
Jean-Pierre Lehmann (D.Phil, Oxon) has joined the IYGU Outreach Panel.
  He is the former chair of International Political Economy at IMD, Lausanne (Switzerland), and founder of the Evian Group. He is on the board of various institutions, including the Arab International Women’s Forum. He writes frequently for major international media. 
Hannah Arendt Institute Stuttgart  
The Hannah Arendt Institute Stuttgart (Germany) organizes events, issues publications and establishes alliances that are centred around political questions and problems brought to the fore by civil society. They  bring together various actors relevant to the problems and questions identified. The institute links universities, the politically interested public, and government institutions.
The Collegium 
The Collegium, under the direction of Prof. Griffith, an hour length intercultural, international diplomacy and interdisciplinary television magazine program presenting cinema, state of affairs and arts calendar. It provides a forum for persons of various national, cultural, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds an opportunity to present their perspectives to a diverse and interested audience. The IYGU congratulates The Collegium for being ranked as an exemplary project and honored with an award by the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance's  "Active for Democracy and Tolerance 2016" competition. 


Three IYGU Open Access Springer books, Working, Housing: Urbanizing  (eds) Allen Scott, Peter Taylor and Jennifer Robinson and Communicating, Networking: Interacting (ed) Margaret Robertson and Eating, Drinking: Surviving (eds) Peter JacksonWalter E.L. Spiessand Farhana Sultana can now be downloaded as open access books or purchased as a soft cover printed version.

Benno Werlen, Luiz Osterbeek, and Maria Helena Henriques have published a new journal article in Episodes: Journal of International Geoscience titled 2016 International Year of Global Understanding:Building Bridges between Global Thinking and Local Actions 

Work is underway on an upcoming proposed publication, Geography Education for Global Understanding, from the Commission on Geographical Education International Geographical Union (CGE-IGU), to be published by Springer. It will focus on how geography, well taught, promotes global understanding. They key guiding questions are: (1) How can  geographic knowledge and skills prepare us to understand and take positive action about global issues? and (2) How can the practices of geography empower members of societies and better equip them with essential global understandings?
JENA-GEOS®-Ingenieurbüro GmbH has produced a new brochure on "Energy Efficiency in the Neighborhood", with a foreword by Benno Werlen.


Angelika Schimmel, of the OTZ, has published 50 articles in the series, Global Gedacht (Global Thinking). These are examples of organisations and best practices that are in line with Global Understanding.
The Friedrich Schiller University's new magazine Lichtgedanken conducted an interview with Benno Werlen for their very first issue. Read it here
Upcoming events
Lisbon, Portugal December 14. IYGU in Portugal: The balance sheet 

Jieyang, Guangdong Province, P.R. China December 30-31: Special event on IYGU organized by the Geographical Society of China
Srijani Auditorium, City Centre, Durgapur, India December 30-31: The Two-Day National Seminar on “Global Understanding for a Better World - A Celebration of the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU 2016)” will be held, organized by the Durgapur Viswagandha Science Society with the support of the IYGU Regional Action Center in South Asia in New Delhi. It is expected to attract 300 participants from across India.
Vienna, Austria January 10, 2017: The next talk in the IYGU lecture series Global Change this semester at the University of Vienna.
Vienna, Austria January 11, 2017: The IAPG in collaboration with the Geological Society of London is organizing a session on Geoethics at the EGU General Assembly 2017 in Vienna, Austria, April 23-28, 2017. The Call for Abstracts is open until January 11, 2017 and abstracts can be submitted here while a session description can be accessed here.
Leipzig, Germany January 17, 2017: Refugees – Migration – Integration 
Cheongju, Korea January 16-20, 2017: official opening ceremony of the Korean Regional Action Center at the Korea National University of Education
Jena, Germany January 23-27, 2017: Symposium “Energie aus Wind, Sonne und Pflanzen” 

Boston, USA April 5-9, 2017:  AAG Annual Meeting, two IYGU sessions 
Vienna, Austria April 23-28, 2017: The IAPG in collaboration with the Geological Society of London is organizing a session on Geoethics at the EGU General Assembly 2017. The session description can be accessed here.
Liège, Belgium   August 6-12, 2017: World Humanities Conference 
If you are planning an event that focuses on Global Understanding, let us know via and we will put it in our next newsletter!
Past events

Aschaffenburg, Germany  31 October – 11 November IYGU Book Exhibition at the University of Aschaffenburg 

Den Bosch, The Netherlands 11 November: Royal Dutch Geography Society (KNAG) Teachers Day 

Milan, Italy  November 25:  Metakoinè

Hiroshima, Japan November 28:University Education for Global Understanding

Kyoto, Japan  December 1: Global understanding for global sustainability

Bangkok, Thailand  December 6-7: Regional Innovation Forum-Asia (RIF-Asia)
Korydallos, Greece December 9: Sustainable Urban Development – The Big Challenge of the 21st Century
Leipzig, Germany December 13:  Refugees – Migration – Integration
Vienna, Austria December 13: End of Year, Austrian Geographical Society 
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The International Year of Global Understanding 2016 · Löbdergraben 32 · c/o Department of Geography · Jena 07743 · Germany

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