oikos International (oikos) is a non-profit student-led organization for sustainability in economics and management education. Ever since the first oikos chapter was opened in St.Gallen, Switzerland, in 1987, a handful of sustainability-minded students at the helm of the organization knew oikos was more than an idea. Today, 33 years later, over 1,000 student volunteers shape the legacy of the organization. They work in 43 chapters across 20 countries to drive change towards a more sustainable and just future.
our Vision Economics and management education purposed for a sustainable world.
our Mission To transform economics and management education by empowering student change agents, raising awareness for sustainability opportunities and challenges, and building institutional support for curriculum reform.
Discerning the State of our World The outbreak of the Coronavirus - Covid-19 - has laid bare inherent vulnerabilities of our economic system and exposed unsettling priorities guiding decision-makers in public and private institutions. However, it also showed that solutions to the pandemic, as well as to the decades-long global crises - climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality, and poverty to name but a few - lie in empathy, systems thinking, and collective action. Unfortunately, these critical building blocks for sustainability are rarely appreciated and seldom pursued by leaders in government or in the business world. A growing number of critical voices in academia, policy, and practice see our education system as one of the root causes of this neglect. The disconnect between the needs of the future and the education of today is most visible in the disciplines of economics and management, where many of the core principles presented to students contradict the basic concepts of sustainability. For decades now, economics and management education have been promoting fictitious assumptions and a distorted image of the economy as a machine. Students have been overloaded with notions like a hyper-rational economic man and unlimited growth, and have not been encouraged to take classes in other disciplines, such as history, politics, psychology, or environmental science. This extreme self-centeredness has been diminishing studentsâ€™ ability to see a big, dynamic picture and has been undermining their potential to become visionary agents for change.
Building a More Sustainable and Just Future
We, at oikos, seek to facilitate a paradigm shift in social value systems towards sustainability. We aspire to fundamentally alter the way we define priorities and make decisions. Now, more than ever, we see a need for new transformative leadership that makes the sustainability and resilience of our world a priority.
We envision a future in which sustainability â€“ in all of its dimensions â€“ is the unifying theme and the basis of an education in economics or management. Where universities train young people to be a part of the solution and not just a part of the system. And where sustainability challenges are transformed into sustainability opportunities by a generation of responsible, intellectually courageous, and sociallyminded economists and managers.
Programs and working areas
12 international projects
To bring us closer to our shared vision for economics and management education and to the sustainable future of our societies and the planet, we run 12 international programs and over 200 local chapter projects all year round.
Raising awareness for sustainability opportunities and challenges
Thematic Squads on Sustainable Finance Current Global Issues - oikos Asks Curriculum Change Action
Winter and Summer Schools
FutureLab Global Spring Meeting NexGenLead Regional Meetings: Asia Meet Germany Meeting Francophone meeting Central and Eastern European meeting
Transforming economics and management education
oikos-PRME Research Hub
Case program Case Writing Competition Cases Collection
Research fellowships PhD Fellows oikos Associates
Positive Impact Rating
Curriculum Change Initiative:
Local chapter projects
Academies oikos In Residence
Empowering student change agents
International Working Groups on Strategy & Program Development Marketing and Communications Chapter Development Fundraising
oikos Leadership Program: Advanced Track Chapter Track Early Career Researcher Track Life Track
Raising awareness for sustainability opportunities and challenges Every year, we organize conferences and summer schools, in which students, oikos members, alumni, and partners meet with leaders in business, policy, and academia. Our goal is to walk the talk - we share knowledge, identify sustainability opportunities and challenges, draw blueprints for action, and design innovative solutions. oikos chapter memoers
members regularly translate lessons from these conferences into actions on the ground and devise solutions for their local universities and communities. Above all, we provide a platform to help foster a courageous network of committed, likeminded individuals who work together to scale-up action for sustainability.
oikos chapter members regularly translate lessons from conferences into actions Winterthese and Summer schools on the ground and devise The schools welcome motivated solutions for highly their local undergraduate and graduate students all over the world. The universities and from communities. Above all, we sessions provide acater platform week-long training to young people who help foster a courageous want to to develop innovative business ideas with a network likepositive impact ofoncommitted, local communities or want to minded individuals who work envision an ideal higher education system. together to scale-up action for sustainability.
FutureLab The oikos FutureLab is our flagship event that welcomes over 100 participants to share academic, practical, and critical insights into pressing sustainability- and education-related topics.
NexGenLead NexGenLead is set to take place for the first time in November 2020. The 3-week program aims to facilitate a dialogue on Leadership & Sustainability in a virtual setting between students, academics, and professionals across the globe.
Global Spring Meeting and Regional Meetings The Spring and Regional Meetings are annual events hosted by local oikos chapters across the world. The Spring Meeting targets all of the oikos community, while the regional meetings focus on specific regions. These meetings often address sustainability drawbacks and achievements of a country or region in focus.
Thematic Squads Thematic squads meet regularly to discuss and share perspectives on concrete sustainability issues, such as sustainable finance or ramifications of the global pandemic.
Transforming economics and management education We strive for an economics and management education reform that goes deep in terms of purpose, content, and methodologies. Our goal is to create a positive vision of what â€˜business as usualâ€™ must look like for society to achieve an economic system that creates new opportunities within the planetary boundaries. To this end, we support research on sustainability in economics, finance, and management. We encourage the writing of high-quality cases on sustainability topics that stimulate innovative teaching and learning experiences. We teach students how to advocate, forge alliances, and push for reforms at local universities. Together, we discuss new ideas and theories to (re)evaluate the role of economics and management in our society. Finally, we help to revolutionize business school rankings by shifting their purpose from a focus on competition to collaboration, conversation, and mutual learning.
Case Program The oikos Case Writing Competition encourages the writing of high-quality cases on sustainability that stimulate innovative teaching and learning experiences. The competition was launched back in 2003. Since then thousands of professors and students worldwide have benefited from over 160 cases included in the oikos Case Collection.
Curriculum Change Initiative The main purpose of the initiative is to foster the transformation of economics and management education together with the global oikos student community. While the Academy facilitates exchange on innovative economics and management programs and teaching approaches, oikos in Residence seeks to accelerate the creation of materials for groups working towards curriculum change in these disciplines.
Positive Impact Rating The Positive Impact Rating (PIR) is a new rating conducted by students and for students. For the first time students around the world assess their business schools on how they perceive their positive impact in the world. The positive impact of business schools goes beyond their contribution to business and the economy; it addresses the need for their positive impact for society.
Research Fellowships The oikos Research Fellowships â€“ has helped close to 20 outstanding Ph.D. students and recent graduates to pursue their passion for sustainability in economics or management since 2006.
oikos-PRME Research Hub The hub, a joint project venture of oikos and UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), is an online platform for sharing research on sustainability in economics, finance, and management amongst bachelor, master and PhD students worldwide.
student change agents
We support the next generation of leaders that strive towards sustainability. Our programs and leadership roles are filled by students who voluntarily commit as project organizers, chapter managers, or international working group members. The experience they gain in their roles and within the community provides them with the necessary insights, knowledge, and skills to become responsible and disruptive change agents. The oikos Leadership Program (LEAP), in particular, allows students to reflect on their values and teaches them how to align their actions with their internal motives. It encourages them to spearhead change in their local communities and helps students become confident, independent, and purpose-driven worldshakers.
International Working Groups
Working Groups are highly autonomous and innovative multicultural teams composed of oikos members, alumni and supporters. Currently, 15 oikees - as we like to call ourselves - are developing entrepreneurial approaches to the day-to-day operations of oikos.
oikos Leadership Program Organized in four tracks, the program addresses diverse needs of oikos members and alumni: Chapter track helps our students develop organizational skills, advanced track fosters their personal growth, while researcher track aims to create a support network for young scholars who are about to enter the world of academia (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers). Life track caters to the needs of the LEAP alumni who remain engaged and help develop the program further. Since its launch in 2015, the program welcomed over 250 participants and remained a lasting influence on their lives. For many LEAP is an ongoing learning journey. The program alumni continue their personal and professional growth with us by helping oikos shape the future of the program.
LEAP Tracks • • • •
Chapter Track Advanced Track Researcher Track Life Track
Supporting our cause While we have made progress in over more than 30 years of our organizationâ€™s work, we understand that change has been insufficient in light of urgent global challenges. Whereas oikos is not alone in this struggle, we sense our potential to accelerate the pace of reforms, and we need your support to do so. We acknowledge our donors and partners without whose generous support our work would have been impossible in our annual and recurring publications (annual reports, brochures), as well as on our website. We also invite our supporters to our annual conferences and webinars where they can meet and exchange with the whole oikos community - student members, alumni, faculty, and other partners. This way, our supporters also get access to the pool of young, diverse, motivated and sustainabilityminded talent with proven abilities in organization and leadership. Partnerships in other forms, such as collaborations, programs or workshops, are also very important for us, as we strive to support and learn from and with our partners.
Throughout the years, thanks to the combined efforts of the oikos International leadership, our community and supporters, we have constantly refined and innovated our programs to better respond to contemporary and impending challenges and opportunities. Most recently, as Covid-19 disrupted the world, we managed to react quickly to the new, unusual circumstances; we provided cutting-edge support to our chapters and kept all international programs and many chapter projects running online - an environment where oikos students have been working and thriving for several years already. If you want to contribute to our cause and help us create a more resilient and sustainable world, you can support us in a number of ways:
Funding We welcome contributions, whether for a specific project or for the general budget.
We accept donations of any size and for any length of time. However, to manage our projects strategically and plan our work in a longerterm, we highly value donors who are ready to make prolonged financial commitments.
We need partners who: •
Time We would be happy if you considered contributing your time and knowledge to our cause.
In-Kind We would be glad to receive your support in the form of professional services or products to help oikos in leveraging its impact as an organization.
• • •
Can help us expand our worldview of management and economics education Are willing to explore specific sustainability issue areas with use Can share with us responsible leadership strategies Are interested in engaging with academics and students to develop learning projects that can benefit all stakeholders and society as a whole Who are interested in innovating learning methods and methodology, and want to participate in our work in this area.
There are several needs that can be met through services and offers provided by your own organization. If you think you can provide valuable services to oikos that are not mentioned in the list, we would be happy to discuss your ideas. • • • • • • • • •
Web development and support IT infrastructure & devices Legal Consolidation Training and coaching Travel subsidies Social media/communication services Space for conferences/seminars Office & storage space Training and coaching on diverse organizational domains