27 August 2017

IIASA at the European Forum Alpbach 2017 and Alpbach-Laxenburg Group Retreat

In August, IIASA leadership and researchers will join global business leaders, investors, and academics in Alpbach, Austria, to discuss the most pressing challenges of our time, including the development of pathways to sustainable change. At the Political Symposium, co-organized by IIASA, researchers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs will discuss key challenges to Europe, multilateralism, peace, security, and a sustainable future. 

EFA 2016 © Matthias Silveri, IIASA 2016

EFA 2016 © Matthias Silveri, IIASA 2016

As strategic partners, IIASA and the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) launched the Alpbach-Laxenburg Group in 2013. In the past three years, this group has held high-level retreats during Political Symposia to discuss sustainable development and the implementation of the SDGs, adopted in September 2015.

This year, global leaders from academia, business, governments, civil society, and the arts, will return to Alpbach for a fourth retreat from 27 August to 29 August. A primary focus of the retreat will be examining how to enact transformative change towards enhanced sustainability and equity. Can human activities on a global scale be incentivized without unduly suppressing individual freedom? Can we use the new tools provided by the internet to empower, rather than to distract, the new generation? Can public debates withstand mounting threats of hate speech and an anti-liberal zeitgeist? How do we avoid fraud in information media, and manipulation in reputation mechanisms?

The retreat will coincide with the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach, the Closing Plenary 'Transformative pathways to sustainability: from perception to changing behavior' 29 August will focus on the necessity of utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches to develop transformative pathways to a sustainable future.

The European Forum Alpbach will bring together participants from all over the world and from different disciplines, and IIASA scientists will participate in a number of events – detailed below.


Political Symposium Conflict and Cooperation

As strategic partners, IIASA and EFA co-organize the Political Symposium, where participants from around the world discuss how united global action is required for issues such: as human security, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, energy markets, and food security. 

Political Symposium Partner Program: 26 August

14:00–13:00 Professional Program “Our World’s Future”

Gerid Hager, a researcher within the Ecosystems Services and Management Program, and Piotr Magnuszewski, a researcher within the Risk and Resilience and Water Programs, will participate in an experiential, science-based simulation game.

Political Symposium Breakout Session 28 August

14:00–16:30 The Arctic: conflict and cooperation

Anni Reissell, Arctic Futures Initiative International Project Office Director, will participate in a breakout session exploring how narratives with personal significance can be developed from scientific data detailing climate change in the Arctic.

Political Symposium Plenary Session: 28 August

19:30–21:00 Green Innovation: urgent & important at once

Jeff Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellow will take part in discussion and debate with European political, industrial, and intellectual leaders, focusing on how to transform Europe into a resource efficient, green, and decarbonized society.

Political Symposium Closing Plenary Session: 29 August

9:00–12:30 Transformative pathways to sustainability: from perception to changing behavior

IIASA Director General and CEO, Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat, Gloria Benedikt, dancer, choreographer, and Associate for Science and Arts at IIASA, Ulf Dieckmann, Program Director, Evolution and Ecology Program and Piotr Magnuszewski, and Karl Sigmund, Senior Researcher with the Evolution and Ecology Program, will participate in the concluding session of the Political Symposium, which will offer a mix of theory and practice, to show that a sustainable future can only be achieved by utilizing a systems approach informed by cross-disciplinary insights.

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Last edited: 19 July 2017


Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer


T +43(0) 2236 807 402

Jan Marco Müller

Head of Directorate Office


Science to Policy and Diplomacy Coordinator/Science Officer

Exploratory and Special Projects

T +43(0) 2236 807 633

Alpbach-Laxenburg Group

Alpbach-Laxenburg Group Meeting 2017

EFA Program 2017


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313