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A Half-year Interactive Reflective Learning Programme
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A Half-year Interactive Reflective Learning Programme

Transitioning To An Ecological Civilization: Dialogues East And West

February July 2017


Jointly organized by Schumacher College, United Kingdom

Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China, Southwest University


This program aims to achieve the learning objectives:

Exploring what is wrong with the current economic system and why we need a great transition

Mapping the global story of the transition town movement with its origins in the UK, and the story of Rural Reconstruction as a social movement towards transitioning to an ecological civilisation

Experiencing social engagement and participating in rural life

Re-valuing indigenous culture and traditional knowledge and its links to ancient ecological and holistic thinking and practices rooted in Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism

Applying ecological principles towards creating an ecological civilisation


[During this programme we will explore what is wrong with the current economic system, in east and west, and why it is not delivering well-being for people and planet.  We will look at the seeds of new possibilities towards growing an ecological civilisation fit for the twenty first century.]


Module 1: Transitioning to an Ecological Civilisation: West

Residential at Schumacher College, United Kindom, 13-24 February 2017

The journey will start in the UK at Schumacher College where we will learn about the global story of Transition Towns and how it started in the local town of Totnes. Here we will meet with community activists and social entrepreneurs and visit inspiring projects that have emerged from the local community in response to climate change, peak oil and economic instability and inequality. Together, we will experience inner transition practices and community participation processes to cultivate empowering, engaging, creative and enjoyable ways of being together as part of the transition.


Between residential modules, our journey continues on-line, where you will be invited to further study and be supported in creating your own initiative inspired by the transition movement.


Module 2: Transitioning to an Ecological Civilisation: East

Residential at various locations in China (Beijing, Chongqing and Chengdu, Sichuan province) organised by IRRC Southwest University, 18 – 30 June 2017

During Module 2, we will experience first-hand the culture and ecology of China and have an opportunity to dialogue with intellectuals and activists about what creating an ecological civilisation means in contemporary China. We will visit inspiring projects as well as exploring the cultural and ecological roots to traditional Chinese wisdom rooted in Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Participants will be introduced to the ancient holistic philosophy and practice of cultivating inner strength for outer action and have the unique opportunity to visit sacred places and monasteries related to modern day practices of these ancient holistic traditions.


[This is an educational experience designed for the people who are interested in cross-cultural dialogue; exchanging holistic theory and practice east and west, towards creating a global movement transitioning to an ecological civilisation.]


 Julie Richardson

 Manager of Schumacher Worldwide and Senior Lecturer Julie has taught ecological economics and international development at the Universities of London and Sussex and has worked in sustainable development for over 20 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. This experience changed her view of ‘development’ – believing there is much we can learn from the wisdom of other cultures about sustainable livelihoods and restoring healthy relationship between human society and nature.

Sophy Banks 

 In 2006 Sophy helped to set up the first “Heart and Soul” group of the newly forming Transition Town Totnes project, the first experiment in a movement which many thousands of communities globally have tried in some forms. Since then she has trained people around the world in the model and process of the Transition movement, which is unusual in combining outer change with deep reflection and insights from many inner traditions. Sophy has backgrounds in science, psychotherapy and family constellations, as well as playing a lot of football with other women in East London.


Rob Hopkins

Rob is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes  and of the Transition Network.

This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first 2 year full-time permaculture course in the world, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, as well as co- ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission.


Stephan Harding

Coordinator and Senior Lecturer - Holistic Science, Schumacher College

Stephan oversees the MSc in Holistic Science, teaching on the core models and as part of several of the short courses at the College. his scientific cast of mind lead him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University. Stephan was appointed Visiting Professor in Wildlife Management at the National University in Costa Rica, where he lived for two years before becoming a founder member of Schumacher College in 1990. Stephan is author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia. Green Books


Professor Wen Tiejun

Executive Dean of the Institute of Advanced Studies of Sustainability of Renmin University of China, Beijing; the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China, Southwest University, Chongqing; and the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of the Straits, Fujiang Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou. He is a renowned expert on sustainability, agrarian issues, policy studies, macro-economics, south-south cooperation, and inclusive growth. He has published many books and articles including ‘Ecological Civilisation, Indigeneous Culture and Rural Reconstruction in China (Monthly Review, February 2012).


Li Shouli

He graduated from the China Agricultural University in 1991. He also held a number of positions such as the Dean of the International Institute of I Ching, the Vice Director of I Ching and Architecture Committee, the first President of Qingzhou Buddhist Association, the Honorary President of Qingzhou Mencius Mother Academy. Mr. Li has been deeply nurtured by Chinese traditional culture since his early age, and he has immersed himself in studying Chinese traditional culture for more than thirty years.  He has profound attainments in various traditional cultural subjects such as the Zhouyi study, Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, numerology, geomancy, and the Qi Men.


Zhang Lanying

She is Executive Deputy Dean of the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China, Southwest University, Chongqing. She has worked in the development sector since 1990 and initiated many pilot programs and consolidated these experiences through institutionalization, such as Sustainable Solid Wastes Management scheme at county level and training program for Youth leadership Development. She also applied participatory methods in mobilizing various players and translated, compiled and produced more than 10 books for practioners and farmers.


Zheng Bing

She is the Chief Director of Puhan Farmers’ Association at Yuncheng, Shanxi province. Under her leadership, the association focuses on sustaining village life by providing various services through farmer cooperatives, which includes social and economic services such as rural financing, purchasing daily goods and marketing agriculture products, traditional handicraft practices, children’s education, community-based elderly care etc. Their experiences become a center of excellence and center of learning for young generation in China. 


Schumacher College is an international centre for transformative learning for sustainable living. Our work is to inspire, challenge and question ourselves as co-inhabitants of the world, to ask the questions we all struggle to find answers to and to find sound knowledge, intuition and wonder in our search for solutions. www.schumachercollege.org.uk


Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China (IRRC) conducts multidisciplinary study and relevant theoretical research on Ecological Civilization and sustainable development; makes policy recommendations based on contemporary research studies on sustainable rural development, rural governance; and provides social services to meet local needs of sustainable development based on innovations and good practices generated from local intervention and practices both from local and abroad.



Apply for the Programme

Reserve your place for only £150.00 deposit.(You will get the return of the deposite if you are not selected to be the participants.)




Please note that the course will be offered in English language in the UK, China and on-line. Some informal interpretation may be offered and limited materials will be available in Chinese. To be able to fully participate in the programme, a standard of English of ELS6.5 (or equivalent) is highly recommended.


Program Fees

£3980 Course fee includes all tuition, accommodation, meals and fields trips in the 2 residential modules and the on-line study circle. Please note, it does not include travel to and from the residential modules, personal travel insurance, visa fees, or any personal incidental expenses.

The residential Module 2 in China starts from Beijing and ends in Chengdu. Arrangements for participants to return to Beijing at the end of the programme can be organised for an additional fee of £150. You will get the return of the deposite if you are not selected to be the participants.


Bursaries are available for this programme. ?Please apply at least 8 weeks before the programme starts. 


Contact?For more information about this programme and our bursary programme, please contact




Alternative Options:

Option 1: Participate East-West Dialogues Workshop in Beijing after the program:

There is an option to participate in a two-day workshop ‘East-West Dialogues’ in Beijing on 3-4 July 2017 for an additional fee of £200. ‘East – West Dialogues’ is a participatory workshop to explore the synergies between traditional Chinese culture, contemporary Western holism, and applications in modern life. Further information will be posted at a later date. Fee: £200: This is a special reduced fee for participants on the Transitioning to an Ecological Civilisation Programme. It covers workshop fee, accommodation and meals. It does not cover transport to and from the workshop in Beijing.

Option 2: Participate Module 1 only and on-line course. Course Fee £1990

Option 3: Participate Module 2 only and on-line course. Course Fee £1990