Guest speakers



Arjen Wals is Professor of Social Learning and Sustainable Development and an Associate Professor in Environmental Education at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. He also is a UNESCO Chair in the same field. Wals also works as an Adjunct Faculty member of Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Arjen Wals’s research focuses on learning processes that contribute to a more sustainable world. Wals explains: “Ultimately, sustainability needs to emerge in the everyday fabric of life – in the minds of people and in the values they live by. Such emergence depends on how and what people learn, both individually and collectively. A central question in my work is how to create conditions that support new forms of learning that take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness which is all around us, but so far remains largely untapped in our search for a more sustainable world.”

Mariana Nicolau

Mariana Nicolau is a lawyer with a Master’s Degree in Constitutional and Environmental Law from the University of Coimbra, Portugal and Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. Her master’s thesis explored the interface between environmental law and SCP, dematerialization and sufficiency, and aimed to analyse related mainstream legal and policy tools and recommend innovative approaches to support SCP through law and policy. The focus of Mariana’s work at the CSCP is to investigate lifestyle patterns and impacts in different cultural settings and to develop tools that foster more sustainable ways of living at different levels of action.


Arvind Singhal is the Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Endowed Professor of Communication and Director of the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Texas’s Department of Communication.  He is also appointed, since 2009-2010, as the William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow at the Clinton School of Public Service, Little Rock, Arkansas.  Singhal teaches and conducts research in the diffusion of innovations, the positive deviance approach, organizing for social change, the entertainment-education strategy, and liberating interactional structures.  His research and outreach spans sectors such as health, education, peace, human rights, poverty alleviation, sustainable development, civic participation, democracy and governance, and corporate citizenship. (attendance not yet confirmed)

VWT 2 2014

Victoria Wyszynski Thoresen holds the UNESCO Chair for Education about Sustainable Lifestyles at Hedmark University College in Norway and is Associate Professor of Education as well as director of The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (previously the Consumer Citizenship Network) which is a partnership of educators and researchers from over 140 institutions in more than 50 countries. Thoresen has specialized in curriculum development, global education, peace education, value-based education, lifelong learning and consumer education. In addition to many years of experience as a teacher and teacher trainer, Thoresen has written articles and textbooks for teacher training and has functioned as an international educational researcher and consultant. Thoresen has been an invited speaker at many conferences on sustainable human development, education and behavior change, citizenship and social responsibility, economic growth and well-being.  She has assisted UNESCO, UNEP and the Marrakech Process Task Forces in the creation of policy recommendations and a core curriculum for education for sustainable consumption. Thoresen has been actively involved in the international processes on sustainable development.  For a number of years she was chairman of the board of the Norwegian Peace Center. 



Bert de Vries has been a senior scientist at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL, formerly MNP and RIVM). He has been a member of the TARGETS- and IMAGE-teams on Global Change Integrated Assessment Models (IAM) and has contributed to modelling and scenario construction for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Between 2003 and 2013 he was Professor of Global Change and Energy at Utrecht University. His research expertise and publications are in resource and energy analysis, modelling and policy; climate and global change modelling; and complex systems modelling for sustainable development.


Jan Vandermoortele is an independent researcher, writer and lecturer, former UN Represenative and Humanitatian Coordinator in Pakistan. Jan Vandemoortele has served in various capacities with the United Nations for 30 years, both at headquarters and in the field. He was UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator to Pakistan from 2005-08. As Director of the Poverty Group at UNDP, he was closely involved with the creation of the Millennium Development Goals. Prior to that, he worked at UNICEF and with UNDP and the International Labour Office (ILO). He holds a Ph.D. in Development Economics. He publishes regularly in journals and books, speaks often at international conferences and at universities. He is a member of various advisory groups, including advising the UN Secretary-General. His focus areas are: MDGs: their use, abuse and the need to focus on equity. Urgency to diminish donorship by switching development debate from 'money changing hands' to 'ideas changing minds'.


Guus Geisen has worked as a teacher and a principal in Special Education and as an educational consultant in primary and secondary education. He is the author of ‘De   Kunst van het Denken’ (The Art of Thinking) in which he connects outcomes    from brain research and the practical application of these insights in schools and classrooms. Since 2004 he has been working as an independent entrepreneur and is specialised  in innovation and organizational development. He works with his partners from IRISZ and Stichting Duurzaam Leren (Foundation for Sustainable Learning) on regional, national and international innovation in education.

A symposium will be held at the conference about: “Ethical Transformation and Education for Service at the Community and Institutional Level”. There will also be an International Roundtable with participants from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. In addition there will be several workshops.