Towards an Ecology of Life and Mind
Dr. Tho Ha Vinh + Dr. Kai Romhardt + Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer + Prof. Dr. Tania Singer
6th of February 2015 x Forum Factory, Berlin



We are pleased to announce Towards an Ecology of Life and Mind (TELM), a onedayevent that evolves through four individual positions – from economics toneuroscience, from education to leadership – as we move through interconnectedpresentations, involving talks, panel discussions, dialogues, and ideas labs. Utilisinga transdisciplinary approach, TELM reflects on the disruptive moments and tectonicshifts we are presently experiencing locally and globally. Furthermore, we willcontemplate the interrelation between individual transformation and societalinnovation as well as between our conception of the human being (Menschenbild)and the systems we create. Based on our collective insights we will explore futurepotentialities and look into ways to translate our ideas into concrete actions.

Click here to view pricing and registration information


What characterizes the basic changes and conflicts
of our present times, and how do we create an Ecology of Life and Mind that enables us to respond to them in a sustainable way?

The contemporary landscape of local and global life is witnessing diverse crises and tectonic shifts in the ecological, economical, social, political, and existential dimensions. From war and terrorism, extreme poverty and hunger, catastrophic climate change and environmental destruction, growing numbers of refugees to the rise in stress-related illnesses such as burnout, depression, anxiety disorders, and increasing suicide rates. Confronted with these challenges, old habitual patterns both on a personal and institutional level need to be questioned and transformed in order to create new possibilities and pathways of being, thinking and doing.

A much more widespread form of violence than war and armed conflicts can be described as structural violence that results in socio-economic inequity, with the consequence that 2.5 billion people live under the poverty l ine. Similarly, a sustainable response towards the present ecological disaster cannot emerge, if there is not a radical shift in the mindset of mankind. Although policies and regulations are essential to redirect development, although national and international leaders and institutions have a central role to play, the actual change can only come about if there is simultaneously a profound transformation of consciousness in everyday life and actions.


Within this context, we aspire to foster new perceptions of the self/other/world and create prototypes of act ions based on the contemplation on the following questions:

+ What are human beings capable of being and doing?
+ What kinds of conception of the human being (Menschenbild) need to be developed in order to foster the highest potentiality and creativity of individuals/collectives?
+ Which practices and technologies are avai lable to us today to shape our subjectivity – our thoughts, speech and actions – so that we are capable of embodying the change we aspire to see in the world?
+ With an awareness of our interdependence, how can we build new relationships towards ourselves, others and our environment?
+ How can we create awareness-based action research and learning communities for profound personal transformation and societal innovation?


08:30 AM Arrival and Registration
09:00 – 09:30 AM Opening
09:30 AM – 12:00 PM Talks by Dr. Tho Ha Vinh,
Dr. Kai Romhardt,
Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer,
Prof. Dr. Tania Singer
12:00 – 01:30 PM Panel Discussion and Q & A
01:30 – 02:30 PM Lunch
02:30 – 03:00 PM Relaxation Session
03:00 – 05:00 PM Ideas Labs
05:00 – 05:15 PM Break
05:15 – 06:30 PM Presentations of each Ideas Lab
06:30 – 06:45 PM Closing
07:30 PM Dinner (optional)



1. Community Building + Living

2. Education + Self-/Leadership

3. Mindfulness + Working Culture

4. Presencing + Ecosystem Economics

5. Neuroscience + Compassion

6. Ecology + Community Engagement

7. Social Entrepreneurship + Sustainable Livelihood

The workshops will be led by the speakers in collaboration with people who have expertise in these specific fields.



+ Dr. Tho Ha Vinh / ProgramDevelopment Coordinator of the Gross National Happiness Centre in Thimphu/Bhutan
Tho Ha Vinh is the Program Development Coordinator of the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Centre in Bhutan. He is in charge of setting the learning objectives, developing the curriculum and the learning process both for Bhutanese and international participants.

He has been the Head of training, learning and development at the International Committee of the Red Cross from 2005 to 2011. In this position he has developed and implemented a “People Leadership and Management program” for over 600 mid level managers and 140 senior managers including all the executives of the ICRC. He has trained humanitarian professionals working in war zones and emergency response in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Ha Vinh is the founder and chairman of Eurasia Foundation, a humanitarian NGO developing educational programs for children and youths living with disabilities, as well as ecological projects in Vietnam.

He is a visiting fellow in adult education and humani tar ian wor k in several Universi t ies (Hue/Vietnam, UCL/Belgium, Geneva/Switzerland). His fields of research include: Cognitive and emotional development, social and motivational dimensions of learning, multiple intelligence, contemplative learning practices, interactive learning strategies, biographical dimensions of learning, mentoring and coaching.

Ha Vinh holds a Ph.D . in Psychology and Education from the University of Geneva.

+ Dr. Kai Romhardt / Founder of the Mindful Business Network
Kai Romhardt is a Buddhist teacher in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh. He founded the German-language “Mindful Business Network“ ( and works as a speaker, trainer and coach. He holds a masters degree in “Management and Organisation” from the University of St. Gallen and a PhD in management and social sciences from the University of Geneva. He has authored 6 books, including „Slow Down Your Life“ and „Wir sind die Wirtschaft“. More info:




+ Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer / Senior Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Sloan School of Management in Boston/USA and Founder of Presencing Institute
Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management. Scharmer is the founding chair of ELIAS (Emerging Leaders for Innovation Across Sectors), an initiative focused on developing profound system innovations for a more sustainable world. ELIAS links 20 leading global institutions across the three sectors of business, government, and civil society. He also is a visiting professor at the Center for Innovation and Knowledge Research, Helsinki School of Economics, and the founding chair of the Presencing Institute, a research initiative on developing and advancing social technologies for leading innovation and change.

He chairs the MIT IDEAS programme and helps groups of managers and professionals from business, government and foundations stimulate innovation within their environments. Scharmer has consulted with global companies, international institutions, and cross-sector change initiatives in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has co-designed and delivered award-winning leadership programs for client organizations, including Daimler Chrysler, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Google, Natura and Fujitsu.

Scharmer is especially known as one of the founders of the 'Theory U' approach that deals with personal leadership and a different way of thinking. He has further developed this approach with the employees of the former MIT in the past few years. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges (2007), Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations and Society (2005), coauthored with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers, as well as Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies (2013) with Dr. Katrin Käufer.

Scharmer holds an MS and a PhD in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University, Germany.

+ Prof. Dr. Tania Singer / Director of theDepartment for Social Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig/Germany

Tania Singer has published multiple papers on the social brain in high-impact journals such as Science and Nature, and is currently an Advisory Board Member of the Society for Neuroeconomics. Tania investigates the foundations of human social behaviour and, more specifically, the developmental, neural, and hormonal mechanisms underlying social cognition; social moral emotions such as empathy, compassion, envy, and fairness; and emotionregulation capacities and their role in social decision making and cooperation. To achieve these goals, she uses a multi-method and interdisciplinary approach, where she combines theories, paradigms, and techniques f rom di scipl ines as var ied as neuroscience, developmental and social psychology, psychobiology, and economics.

After Tania Singer received her Ph.D. in psychology from the Freie Universität Berlin in 2000, which was awarded the prestigious Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, until 2002.

Tania became a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, London in 2002 supported by a Leopoldina stipend and at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London in 2006. Then, she accepted a position as assistant professor (2006- 2008) at the University of Zürich and later as Inaugural Chair of Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics and Co-Director of the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research.

In 2010 she became a director of the Department for Social Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. In 2011, she was awarded honorary professorship at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and at Humboldt University, Berlin and is an honorary research fellow at the University of Zurich.

Towards an Ecology of Life and Mind is kindly supported by