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Echo Of Generations

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Symposium 2016 Frau Ehret


14. September 2016
10.00 – 17.00 Uhr
New University Heidelberg



Constructive to results of former studies published in the Institute of Gerontology the aim of this symposium is to show, differentiate and recognise the importance and merits of very old people for society. Numerous of them are disregarded and their number rises. But in which way can we fetch them back in the middle of our society?

Through the restoration of the symmetry of generations, so the answer. If the oldest old and the centenarians contact the youth in a mutual and supporting way the benefit is huge. Either in a talk or dialogue or in a common activity, in play or within learning, these two generations are really fascinated from another and can give a lot each other. The old are animated and become happy, for a short time they will be young, and the youth gain more interests and insights and find someone who really understand them and whose serenity is a refreshment for the young soul.

Background for this scientific event are the results of diverse projects of Echo of Generations which is financed by the Dietmar Hopp Stiftung.



Project 1 and 2: The Wiesloch und Buchen diary studies


In the diary studies we integrate the diary method of the developmental psychologist Charlotte Bühler to analyse experience and behave of young and old people in intergenerative contact and situations. Cause „more is necessary than general observation or experiments, and this we got donated from the youth directly in their literary productions, especially their diaries“ (Bühler 1967, S. 1).

We motivate 12-17 year old pupils to write diaries during their 3-month-visits in the homes of very old people, also we motivate the oldest old to do the same, and then we found strong evidence for the first generational postulat.


We  speak  anthropologically  from  the  symmetry  of  generations,  as  old  and  young  are  their  respective  alter  ego.  (Ehret 2016)

Associated workshops:

  • Conversations and activities between pupils and very old people
  • Generations of war: What the youth will know and the old will tell


Project 3: The play of young and old in Lobbach

In the Lobbach townhall we established in 2014, supported by honorary citizen Doris Ebert, a public space for play of young and old, which found great admission on the part of the 6-12-year old children. Our oldest player celebrated in February 2016 her 103. birthday.              We investigate the pure sphere of play as an example for basic research and found evidence for the play-bonding-postulat. If young people build up a bonding to an old person, we can expect, that they develop special competences, e.g. morality (Ehret 2016).   

 Associated workshop:

  • The play of young and old

Project 4 : Intergenerational Seminar with the Oldest old: 18+ meets 85+

Since summer 2015 the oldest old and young students regularly meet another for studying. The lecture series are well established now and psychologically and academy didactical evaluated.
A description and recommendations for doing and reproduction you find here        hier

Associated workshop


  • Intergenerational studying with the oldest old
This project isn’t part of the sponsorship of Dietmar Hopp Stiftung.
It is founded by Dr. Sonja Ehret and voluntary conducted until now.


Astonishment Workshop:

For more than the half of pupils grandparents belong to the very closely connected persons and they belong to a typical family for them also. The wish for gathering with grandparents is strongly existing and is clearly expressed by the young likewise the concern to lose a grandparent, „such person , which has always time for me“ (Pius, 12). In this workshop  the wide  field of (great)grandparent relationships is treated out of an international perspective.

  • (Great)Grandparents and (Great)grandchildren – A huge asset


Conference Program

10.00 h  Greetings

Political representatives

Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Director, Institut of Gerontology, Heidelberg University
Katrin Tönshoff / Meike Leupold, Dietmar Hopp Stiftung
10.10 h  Inaugural adress

Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Institut of Gerontology, Heidelberg University
10.30 h  Plenary lecture „The symmetry of generations“

Dr. Sonja Ehret, Institut of Gerontology, Heidelberg University
11.00 h  Coffee break

Comments and Lectures

11.20 h   Pictures of age by the youth and pictures of youth by the old in Germany

Prof. Dr. Dr. Ursula Lehr, Federal minister retired,  Chair BAGSO

11.40 h  The archetyp of the old wise

Prof. Dr. Ingrid Riedel, Konstanz

12.00 h  Musical intergenerational interlude
12.20 h  The bonding theory and their influence on society of today

Prof. Dr. Klaus Grossmann, Emeritus Regensburg University
12.40 h  Generations in dialogue: A socialtheoretical perspective

Prof. Dr. Kurt Lüscher, Konstanz University
13.00 h  Lunch break
14.00 h  Workshops


  • Conversations and activities between pupils and very old people
    Leadership: Dr. Sonja Ehret, Universität Heidelberg
    Assistence: Philipp Kempf M. A. / Miriam Fehmann


  • Generations of war: "What the youth will know and the old will tell“
    Leadership: Prof. Dr. Insa Fooken, Frankfurt University
    Participation: Dr. Jörg Hinner, Heidelberg University


  • The play of young and old
    Leadership: Prof. Dr. Rolf  Oerter, München University / Dr. Sonja Ehret, Heidelberg
    Assistence: Doris Ebert, Lobbach


  • Intergenerational Studying with the oldest old
    Leadership: Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Heidelberg University
    Assistence: Inge Burck / Miriam Fehmann


  • (Great)Grandparents and (Great)Grandchildren – A huge asset
    Leadership: Prof. Dr. Dr. Ursula Lehr, Federal minister retired, Chair BAGSO
    Participation: Dr. Anne Ramos, Luxembourg University


15.00 h Coffee break
15.30 h Panel discussion „Young search for Old“

The actual relevance of the oldest old in context of family, education and development of society and the following generations discuss:

Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Prof. Dr. Dr. Ursula Lehr
Prof. Dr. Klaus Grossmann, Prof. Dr. Kurt Lüscher, Prof. Dr. Rolf Oerter
Prof. Dr. Insa Fooken, Prof. Dr. Ingrid Riedel
Dr. Sonja Ehret, Ursula von Dallwitz-Wegner and pupil representatives
16.30 Uhr Outlook and Vernissage „Tell me from your time as a child“

Overall moderation: Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Kruse, Dr. Sonja Ehret
Congressorganisation: Dr. Sonja Ehret, Miriam Fehmann & Marcus Jannaschk, Institut of Gerontology Heidelberg in collaboration with Dr. Jörg Kraus, Young University Heidelberg

Responsible: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2016-08-29
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