Michael Ben-Eli


Dr. Michael Ben-Eli is founder of the Sustainability Laboratory, established in order to develop and demonstrate breakthrough approaches to sustainability practices, expanding prospects and producing positive, life affirming impacts on people and ecosystems in all parts of the world.


As an international management consultant, Michael pioneered applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations.


In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future.


Michael is author of the widely acclaimed five core sustainability principles. He is leading the development of the Sustainability Laboratory as a world-wide network of advanced research, development and education centers. Focusing on significant sustainability related change, the Lab is conceived off as a new kind of a planetary vehicle for sustainability innovations.


Dr. Ben-Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on projects involving research on advanced structural systems and exploration of issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.



Thursday Workshop
Sustainability: Definition, Underlying Principles, a Case and an Exercise


Establishing the concept of sustainability as the organizing principle on our planet is emerging as the most significant challenge of our time. The concept of “sustainable development,” as coined by the World Commission on Environment and Development, and with it, the term “sustainability” itself, have been gaining increasing recognition in recent years all around the world. Widespread use, however, has led to growing ambiguity, so that today both terms are employed within a very broad spectrum of meaning, often to the point of trivialization.


This workshop will present a new definition and a set of related core principle, as developed by the Sustainability Laboratory. It will demonstrate the application of the principles in a specific development project, and provide an opportunity for participants to explore the application of the principles to selected cases of their choice.


The workshop will be organized roughly in three parts:

  1. Presentation and discussion of a definition of sustainability and the derived five sustainability principles related to the Material, Economic, Life, Social and Spiritual domains.
  2. Demonstration of an application of the principles in a community-based development project. This project, with a Bedouin community in the Negev Desert of Israel, seeks to develop a model for sustainable agriculture in an arid zone, that is applicable locally as well as to other similar eco-zones around the world.
  3. An exercise exploring the application of the principles to issues selected by participant. Workshop participant will suggest a number of relevant sustainability-related issues. They will select, as a group, a few such issues which will be addressed by small break-out team, then presented by each team to the workshop as a whole.


Friday Presentation:
Understanding the Sustainability Challenge


This short presentation will provide an overview of the sustainability challenge facing our planet, take a bird’s eye view of the five core sustainability principle, and touch upon the nature of change that is required to ensure a peaceful transition to sustainability as the foundation of a new world order.