International Summer School 2016: Pluralism, Development and Social Change

The Kosmopolis Platform/Dept. of Globalization and Dialogue Studies of the University of Humanistic Studies (the Netherlands), in cooperation with HIVOS (Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries), The Asia Foundation, Azim Premji University, (India), PUSAD-Paramadina and The Centre for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies of Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) and the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice of the University of the Free State (South Africa) welcomes applicants for the 2016 International Summer School on Pluralism, Development and Social Change.

Eligibility: We welcome applications from

  • Graduate students from universities in Indonesia with current (or recent) relevant work – and study/internship experience in civil society practices of social change
  • NGO staff members who work in the field of Pluralism, Development and Social Change in Indonesia

General information:
The program will be conducted between 7 July and 24 July 2016 and is hosted by Azim Premji University in Bangalore, India. It involves an 18 day full time program of lectures, excursions, seminars, literature study, discussion, guided individual – and small group work and assignments. The maximum group size will be between 20 – 24 people. Selected participants are required to prepare a pre-summer school assignment. The course will be completed with a group presentation and a design for a pluralism workshop which participants conduct after they return home.  Upon successful completion, participants will receive a Kosmopolis/University of Humanistic Studies Certificate in Pluralism, Development and Social Change.

The summer school aims to:

  • bring together a diverse and international group of participants who are interested in social change and wish to enhance their critical understanding of social theory of change, practices of pluralism and the politics of difference at local and global levels
  • intensify links between development practitioners and scholars in order to (1) enrich both their knowledge bases with new perspectives, insights and skills, and (2) stimulate the creation of international networks of civil society initiatives around issues of social change and pluralism
  • facilitate international dialogue on theories and practices of pluralism and professional and personal experiences with cultural- and other forms of diversity and difference, leading to a critical international comparative analysis of pluralism approaches in various social, political, economic and ecological contexts
  • integrate theoretical and practice-based knowledge of all participants and help them to translate it into new insights, strategies, policies and/or practices for pluralism
  • create a learning environment in which participants simultaneously learn about as well as simultaneously live with difference in a pluralist, international and intercultural setting. Critical reflexivity, reading and writing, dialogue, experiential learning, active participation and skills training are central to the program.

Brief information about the content of the summer school program:

  • The last few decades witnessed significant changes across the world, mediated by technological revolutions, economic liberalisation, political upsurges, the rise of new identity politics, aspirations of regime change, grave concerns about ecological crises and movements for a broader understanding of ‘gender’ equality, including the rights of the LGBT persons. In an increasingly interconnected world, societies and communities become more diverse and complex, that is: more plural. Theories and practices of ‘pluralism’, or ‘living with difference’ and how they relate to social change, are central in the program.
  • We depart from the idea that pluralism can enhance an ethos of democratic engagement and that differences can be a creative source for social change. We focus on three interrelated and intertwined perspectives: (1) worldview/religious perspectives which focus on how states, societies, NGOs and religious communities address challenges of religious co-existence as well as new meanings and manifestations of secularity (2) social-politicalperspectives which address the social tensions, inequalities and conflicts that often accompany diversity and difference and (3) ecological perspectives which refer to diverse ways in which humans interact with their environments by drawing on pluri-cultural values and their modes of symbolic awareness of the human–earth relationship.
  • The summer school program brings together activists, academics and social practitioners from Southern Africa, India, the Netherlands and Indonesia to exchange knowledge about pluralism and social change and reflect on its implications for social practices and academic research.

How to apply: All eligible applicants may download their application form from or Please send your application form

Deadline of applications: 6 June 2016
All applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection process, approximately 10 days after the deadline. Selected participants will be contacted by the country coordinator and central coordinator of the Summer School.

The summer school is co-funded by all participating universities and institutions. The funding includes room and board for all selected candidates during the summer school, as well as participation in the program, including the excursion. The program will also fund your international travel/ – and visa costs.



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