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February 06, 2006

Complexity, Democracy & Sustainability

The 50th Anniversary Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

July 9-14, 2006
Sonoma State University – Rohnert Park, California

Call for Participation

The 50th anniversary conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) offers a landmark opportunity to celebrate and reinvigorate a half-century of interdisciplinary collaboration and synthesis. The ISSS is unique among systems-oriented institutions in the breadth of its scope, bringing together scholars and practitioners from academic, business, government, and non-profit communities to explore what Gregory Bateson has called the “pattern that connects.”

These past fifty years have produced a tremendous richness and breadth of research into the nature of complexity, from the scientific study of complex systems to interactive approaches in management and community development. Building on this impressive heritage, the 50th annual meeting of the ISSS aims to convene leading thinkers and practitioners from across the spectrum of systems-related fields in order to nurture an ongoing synthesis of theory and practice, to cultivate a more integrated understanding of the challenges confronting humanity, and to envision possible paths toward solutions. Both the American Society for Cybernetics and the Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches (ACASA) will be holding annual meetings in partnership with the Sonoma conference; and representatives from other related organizations will be participating in the program, including the System Dynamics Group, the Santa Fe Institute, the New England Complex Systems Institute, the Institute for Intercultural Studies, the General Evolution Research Group, and the Center for Organizational Dynamics (University of Pennsylvania), among others.

The theme for this anniversary conference, “Complexity, Democracy, and Sustainability,” is an attempt to capture some key dimensions in the broadly defined field of systems research. Following an opening keynote from Fritjof Capra on Sunday evening, July 9, the conference will be organized around four main plenary sessions:

  Complex Systems and the Roots of Systems Thinking
  • Self-Organization and Living Systems
  • Ecological Systems and Sustainability
  • Social Systems Design and Practice

Confirmed speakers include: Ralph Abraham, Yaneer Bar Yam, Vincent Barabba, Mary Catherine Bateson, Mike C. Jackson, Alexander & Kathia Laszlo, Ervin Laszlo, Hunter Lovins, Humberto Maturana, Richard Norgaard, Susan Oyama, George Richardson, and Geoffrey West.

ISSS conferences have a tradition of interaction and rich conversation, integrating provocative plenary discussions with breakout sessions organized around Special Integration Groups (SIGs) and other interactive formats for dialogue and synthesis. This year we plan to incorporate even more interactive dynamics into the morning plenary sessions. The formats of the afternoon breakout sessions will vary from traditional paper presentations to general discussions, as noted in the description for each session, which can be found at http://projects.isss.org/Main/Sonoma2006CallsForPapers. Along with the traditional SIGs, we are organizing the following additional sessions:

Economics and Complementary Currencies, Arts-Informed Inquiry, Terrorism and Peace, Climate Change, and a Bateson Forum. We also plan to create opportunities for Open Space and World Café Conversations.

We invite proposals for papers relating to the conference theme, as well as sub-themes proposed by SIG chairs. Proposals for additional forums on systems-related areas not addressed by existing SIGs and other proposed sessions will be considered. For information on submitting abstracts and proposals, see http://www.isss.org/conferences/sonoma2006/.

Pre and Post-Conference Workshops: We are currently planning a pre-conference workshop on Mind in Nature and a post-conference workshop on The Food System. Additional information will be available on the ISSS website.

Deadlines: The priority deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals is February 28, 2006. Abstracts submitted after this date and before June 1 will be considered for inclusion in the program on a space-available basis. Papers accepted for presentation will be compiled on a CDROM and distributed at the conference. The deadline for submission of full papers is April 30, 2006.

Location: The conference will be held at Sonoma State University, located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley vineyards, 50 miles north of San Francisco. There is a shuttle service from both the Oakland and San Francisco airports (http://www.airportexpressinc.com/) to the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, which is just a 5-10 minute taxi ride from the conference site.

Comfortable accommodations in on-campus housing are included in the Resident Registration Fees as outlined below. Fees include all meals, from Sunday evening, July 9, through Friday lunch, July 14. Rooms are all singles, each with an adjoining bathroom,
arranged in four bedroom suites that include a kitchen and living room. See facilities at http://projects.isss.org/Main/Sonoma2006Venue.

We anticipate having on-line registration available before April 15; in the meantime a downloadable registration form is available on the ISSS web site. Early registration is recommended, as space may be limited. Registration fees are described below for both
resident and non-resident categories. Non-resident fees do not include parking passes (which can be purchased on-site) nor transportation to and from the conference site. There will be an additional charge of $30 for the banquet on Thursday, July 13 for both residents and

(Includes on-site meals and housing)

Payment by April 15

Developing country$600USD

Payment after April 15

Developing country$700USD

(Includes Sunday reception and lunches)

Payment by April 15
Developing country$325USD

Payment after April 15
Developing country$$400USD

For further information, please consult the ISSS website:

Posted by ACASA on February 6, 2006 at 12:25 PM in Announcements | Permalink


Thank you, Eric! Your work is very much "on point" to what we are exploring at ISSS this year. L.

Posted by: Lezlie Kinyou, Ph.D. at Mar 16, 2006 11:07:47 AM

For context, Arts-Informed Inquiry, is a Special Interest Group (SIG) at The 50th Anniversary Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences.
Eric J. Lindblom PhD http://juarez.bravehost.com

Posted by: Eric J. Lindblom PhD at Mar 15, 2006 7:43:48 PM

The General Systems concept of Arts-Informed Inquiry is brilliant. I would highly recommend this effort. I have responded in kind. In respect, response and in support, I have created a course at Harvard University in Arts-Informed Inquiry: http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/ViewProject.do?projectID=463 and a supportive website: http://artsinformed.bravehost.com
Eric J. Lindblom PhD Harvard University, http://elindblom.bravehost.com

Disclaimer: These websites have no affiliation with any other person or organization.These sites are NOT affiliated with arts-informed or ISSS.

Posted by: Eric J. Lindblom PhD at Mar 15, 2006 7:30:02 PM

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