The Great Debate

Solutions by Re-thinking

More than 400 participants from all over the world will meet at AU from 1-3 June to discuss sustainable solutions to the challenges of the future


Unconventional conference aims at creating sustainable solutions

The United Nations is organizing yet another major conference on sustainable development, known as the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The goals are yet again to ensure renewed political commitment towards a sustainable development and to forecast new and future challenges.

In June 2012 more than 400 students, researchers, NGOs, think tanks, entrepreneurs and business people from more than 35 different countries will take an active part in finding solutions to the challenges that the world is facing. They will work to identify the most important challenges and bring forward concrete solutions that can help ensure that the political process will continue to move forwards and not backwards.

All this will take place at Aarhus University June 1-3 at an unconventional conference labeled ”The Great Debate: Solutions by Re-thinking”. The conference will be a mix of short inspirational presentations from key stakeholders and intensive workshops, where the focus will be on idea development and innovation processes.

In these workshops the participants are asked to answer the following questions:

  • What is the most important problem we have to solve?
  • What do the solutions look like?
  • Who can make it happen?

In the wake of ”Solutions by Re-thinking”, a broad range of concrete suggestions and ideas for the solutions of tomorrow will send to stakeholders throughout the EU and work as inspiration to the coming negotiations in Rio.

Among the keynote speakers are Michael Braungart, co-founder of the concept ”Cradle2Cradle, Jørgen Ørstrøm Møller, writer and former Danish Ambassador to Singapore, Sony Kapoor, who is behind the international economic think tank Re-Define and from the Danish Social Democrats, Jens Joel, member of the Parliaments energy and climate committee.


The conference is organized by the Aarhus based NGO Global Citizen and New Europe, with support from European Commission. The Great Debate is a so-called high visibility event meant to raise awareness of the Danish EU-Presidency. The aim of this conference on the long run is to gather as many European stakeholders as possible each year in Denmark, who can develop new solutions.


I am proud that Aarhus University is co-hosting such an ambitious and important European conference as ”The Great Debate: Solutions by Re-thinking”.

At Aarhus University we give high priority to creating an international learning environment, where people of different cultures can meet learn from each other. It is natural for Aarhus University to support an event that brings together people of so many different nationalities.
I have no doubts that this conference will offer new and innovative solutions on the challenges that the world is facing in regard to economy, demography and sustainability.

I am looking forward to an interesting and fruitful conference at Aarhus University.

- Mette Thunø, Dean at Arts