Latest update: August 26, 2009

Ainsi, toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages,
Dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour,
Ne pourrons-nous jamais sur l'océan des âges
Jeter l'ancre un seul jour ?
And so, driven on ceaselessly toward
new shores, carried beyond return into eternal
darkness, shall we never cast anchor for a
single day in the ocean of time?
Alphonse de Lamartine: Le Lac (1820).
English translation:
The idea
The Learning Development Institute has, over the ten years of its existence, organized transdisciplinary dialogic events that usually involved groups of participants of several tens to more than a hundred people. The debates on the Meaning of Learning (MOL), those around the Book of Problems (BOP) or concerning the Building of the Scientific Mind (BtSM) are examples of such events.
On an on-and-off basis, we have also opened our house to receive guests from the LDI community or sympathetic to LDI's mission and had very interesting conversations with them. Based on that valuable experience, we have now decided to become more proactive in this area and, still on an ad hoc basis, wish to host, whenever the opportunity arises, conversations about things that matter at one of the places where we regularly live in southern France and The Netherlands, or even where we may be traveling. We call these events Lakeside Conversations or, in French, Conversations au bord du lac, not only because of the setting of where we spend part of our time in the Low Countries (see the photo), but also inspired by Alphonse de Lamartine's above cited poetic words.
We are glad, also, that these localized meetings have a much smaller ecological footprint than the larger ones we will continue to organize from time to time.
How it works
Typically, these events take place around dishes and glasses whose delicious, refreshing and uplifting contents we share as much as the thoughts, ideas and experiences we bring to the table.
While, by nature of these events, participation is by invitation, you are welcome to indicate your interest in participating by writing to us. If you are part of the LDI community, i.e., if you have ever seriously collaborated with us on implementing LDI's mission, don't hesitate to be in touch if you happen to be in or to be traveling to The Netherlands or France. We shall be happy to host you, as many of you have experienced in the past, and invite, whenever possible, like minded spirits to cast their anchor at the same place, so that we can all share thoughts, food and drinks.
In the spirit of social networking, those invited are welcome to suggests others whom they feel should join the party.
The issues of discussion
We feel that there is no shortage of issues that serve as food for thought. Some of them may be related to LDI's current work in the areas of Building the Scientific Mind (BtSM) and Learning for Sustainable Futures (LfSF). However, we are naturally also open to any suggestions.
Over time, we assume some workable process will emerge to ensure that matters of discussion reflect the interests of the community of those who participate in these conversations, while at the same time serving to propel LDI's work forward. They may well turn out to fall in line with Christopher Phillips's ideas of the Socrates Café.
Preceding experience
Without yet having invented the name, several discussions that would have deserved to be called 'lakeside conversations' took place over the years, most of them in Eyragues, France. They involved visitors from Australia, North America, and Europe. We are hopeful that this choice of continents will become less biased. They focused on issues such as learning in a transdisciplinary perspective; building the scientific mind through in-depth exploration of the conceptual nature and structure of the sciences; electronic gaming for value clarification and attitudinal change; and the building of sustainable futures.
Past events
On September 2, 2009, we met in Lienden, The Netherlands, to discuss the conceptualization of Life Sciences books for the series Basic Books in Science. Participating scientists were Roy McWeeny (via a teleconferencing link from Pisa, Italy), Maria Christophorou, Maurijn van der Zee, and Jan Visser. The outcome of this conversation is shared among the participants and two other scientists, Toni Gabaldon and Jordi Villà i Freixa, who are part of the authoring team of the life sciences books for the series in question.
On September 13, 2009, we exchanged thoughts about collective intelligence and the collaborative building of the scientific mind among Carolina Ödman, who had proposed the theme; Chide Groenouwe; Lya Visser; Ronald Siebes, and Jan Visser. Information on the outcome of this conversation and possible next steps can be found by following the link to the report about this conversation.
On September 17, 2009, and still in Lienden, we engaged on a dialogic event dedicated to issues in the realm of Learning for Sustainable Futures involving Lya Visser, Chide Groenouwe, Jaap Swart, Marten de Vries, Ekko van Ierland, and Jan Visser. Francio Guadeloupe and George Miley, who had wanted to attend, had to cancel their participation at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances. A report is not (yet) available on this discussion. Following the link, however, one has access to the Prompt to Discussion that sparked off the conversation.
Forthcoming events