USB Events

Philosophy Retreat for Business Executives

  Retreat        15 – 17 March 2019       Boschendal Estate

Exploring big ideas. Expanding horizons. Looking at work, life, innovation and leadership in new ways.

All in exquisitely beautiful surroundings. The Philosophy Retreat for Business Executives has been designed to cultivate the big-picture thinking and creative reasoning needed to navigate an increasingly complex and disrupted business environment.

Political and economic uncertainty, global interconnectedness, rapid advances in information and biotechnology and major ecological shifts call for higher-order decision-making skills. These have to transcend the traditional grounding in finance, marketing, strategy and operations.

The Philosophy Retreat is a joint venture between the Philosophy Department of Stellenbosch University and the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), in keeping with the growing international trend of improving business decisions through philosophical reflection. Unlike the usual outward-bound executive course, the Retreat offers an intellectual adventure for those who want to grapple with big ideas and unsettling questions.

The two-day experience takes place at the historic Boschendal Estate in the Cape Winelands. Participants can expect diverse presentations ranging from brief talks to interactive sessions. Content is presented by thought leaders from the Philosophy Department and Business School. No prior knowledge of philosophy is required.

There will be no pre-packaged answers, but rather a great deal of open-ended exploration and reflection.

We offer an adventure of the mind that is removed from the office, but relevant for the office. Expect to discover new ways of thinking that can inspire new ways of doing.

Breathtaking natural scenery, culinary delights and stimulating intellectual content will engage both the mind and the senses.

Programme topics include:

  • What is philosophy, and why does it matter?
  • Do we have free will?
  • What does it mean to think?
  • What is the good life?
  • Is a just society possible?
  • How should we live in and with our natural world?

Programme overview

Friday, 15 March 2019

  • Check-in at Boschendal from 14h00
  • Welcome and introductory session at an exclusive wine-tasting in the Manor House
  • Friday Night Market at Boschendal
  • After-dinner conversation around the fire-pit

Saturday, 16 March 2019

  • Early morning mountain biking, hiking, or horse riding
  • Retreat programme and partners’ social programme
  • Gala dinner with guest speaker
  • After-dinner conversation around the fire-pit

Sunday, 17 March 2019

  • Early morning mountain biking, hiking, or horse riding
  • Themed conversation over breakfast and closure
  • Jazz Lunch at the Werf Restaurant (optional)
download brochure

Booking and fees

The Retreat is restricted to 18 delegates. All will enjoy luxury private accommodation in cottages on the Estate.

The all-inclusive fee of R30 000 covers accommodation and meals for two people, enabling each delegate to bring along a partner/spouse.  The fee also includes accommodation for up to two children aged between four and 14*. A social programme for partners (e.g. spa treatment or wine tasting) is included, but they are welcome to attend any of the philosophy sessions. The following is also included:

  • Mountain biking, hiking or horse riding (guide included)
  • Point-to-point transfers from Cape Town International Airport or any destination in the greater Cape Town area

*Children stay for free, but meals and the Tree House programme will be billed separately. See Boschendal website for more detail.

For further information and bookings, please send an email to Alternatively, contact Prof Daniel Malan Tel: 082 902 0269 or Prof Vasti Roodt Tel: 021 808 2418


Tags  Workshop, Event, Business Executives, Philosophy



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