Winter School

1– 4 November 2019, Capulalpam, Oaxaca State, Mexico

Discover the cloud forests of the Sierra and share traditional knowledge, food and the hospitality of this remarkable community. Enjoy lectures by renowned academics and build your research network. Join the 2019 Oaxaca Winter School on Earth System Governance!


The Earth System Governance winter school in 2019 will be hosted in the Zapotec indigenous community of Capulalpam, two hours’ drive from Oaxaca City, in the spectacular natural forests of the Sierra de Juárez in Oaxaca, one of the regions of highest biological diversity in Mexico and in the world.

The 2019 Oaxaca Winter School on Earth System Governance is designed to function as an incubator for early career researchers working on earth system governance. The Winter School aims to:

  • build participants’ knowledge of key concepts and debates in earth system governance;
  • introduce participants to the Earth System Governance project and to fellow researchers in its global community;
  • critically reflect on the Earth System Governance project’s new Science and Implementation Plan and explore how themes and ideas in the plan could enrich participants’ research,  teaching and broader societal outreach; and
  • connect the academic concepts in the Science Plan with the Zapotec community’s knowledge systems and lived experience on the ground.

The Winter School will combine a series of stimulating presentations and dialogues on the research lenses in the new science agenda with ample time for participants to get to know each other and discuss their work-in-progress.

The Winter School is immediately followed by the 2019 Oaxaca Conference on Earth System Governance, to be held from 6-8 November, in order to allow participants in the Winter School to also take part in the Oaxaca Conference (separate conference registration is required).


Capulalpam is world renowned for its successful efforts of sustainable forest management and conservation. It hosts a wide variety of ecosystems and provides an opportunity to get to know an important biodiversity hotspot, including pine-oak, oak and cloud forests. It was also the first community in the world where forest management was certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. About 40% of the community lands are devoted to a local protected area established by decision of the community assembly and protected by community members. Capulalpam is also a successful case of community governance, communal land ownership and local development.

Three cooperatives (forest production, eco-tourism, spring water) provide local employment and collective gains that are always invested in community public goods. Zapotec traditions are lively in Capulalpam, among them the clinic of indigenous medicine and the music bands where many youngsters take part. Because of these lively traditions and the colonial architecture of the town, Capulalpam is considered a “magic town” by the Minister of Tourism of the Mexican government.

Who should apply?

The Winter School is intended for early career researchers (including junior researchers, PhDs and postdocs within 3 years of graduation). The programme will cater both to those already familiar with the Earth System Governance Project and to those new to the network. At the end of the Winter School, every participant should be able to situate her or his own research in key debates in earth system governance research and have a stronger capacity to advance the next generation of environmental governance scholarship.


Participants will arrive in Oaxaca City at the latest by 1 November 2019. That evening an introductory meeting will be held and afterwards the participants will be transferred by bus to the venue. During the following days, participants will stay in simple accommodation in the local community.

There will be a bus transfer back to Oaxaca city on the evening of 4 November, leaving one day for participants to explore the city before the start of the 2019 Mexico Conference on Earth System Governance on 6 November 2019.



The registration fee for the 2019 Oaxaca Winter School on Earth System Governance will be 190 EUR. Included in the registration fee are:

  • Bus transfers to and from the winter school and Oaxaca City
  • Simple shared (double and triple) accommodation in eco-tourism cabins
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner 1 November – 4 November 2019
  • An exciting programme of lectures and experiences.


Registration for the Winter School has now closed

Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Fit of applicant’s research with the core themes of the Winter School
  • Benefit of the Winter School for their ongoing research
  • Motivation to reflect on emerging themes in earth system governance research

Please send a brief motivation letter (maximum two A4 pages) which should include a description of current research, together with your CV to with “Winter School Application” in the subject line. The deadline for application is 20 June 2019 30 June 2019. Participants will be notified of acceptance about a week after.