Advent 2019

The Journey of Becoming
"We must learn to reawaken & keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us, even in our soundest sleep" - Henry David Thoreau

Advent is the journey towards Christmas, the festival of new birth & becoming. It is a time of inner & outer preparation in the anticipation of the Child to be. Most festivals within spiritual traditions carry the potential of transformation, the promise of change & renewal. Such moments ask for preparation, for deliberate setting aside of the old in anticipation of new possibilities. Christmas, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, is prepared through the journey of Advent, a journey of active awakening & awaiting what is to be born.

SIF Egypt 2019: Unfolding Individual Potential for the Future, a Forum that will happen in Advent, will focus on the journey of the emerging individual, awakening to its potential. Together we will explore how formal & informal education, destiny-learning & the shaping of life itself may contribute or hinder the self-realization of every individual.

Faced with the current dilemmas of our time, humanity appears to be in the advent of birthing new potentials & possibilities in order to sustain its future. Such capacities can only be based on individual freedom & intentionality. At present, a journey of preparation, of anticipation, of deliberate transformation is called for. Do we know what is in the process of being born in us? Are we midwives of our own emerging selfhood & potential? Can I pause for a moment to listen to the language of another, allowing it to awaken my own hidden melody, the inner child that holds both innocence & wisdom?

To be awake to the advent of my Self is to be truly alive. Yet how, in the face of fear, doubt, wars & deadening routine can I awaken to the sensitive poetry of life, to other individuals in their emerging potential, to the inner child born out of the struggle of loneliness & pain?

The Social Initiative Forum aims to empower & support the innate potential of each human being to co-create its own personal reality in harmony with his/her environment & community. Together, we wish to explore & learn how to awaken to a future created out of individual potential & self-realization. & this can only be founded by recognizing that an interconnected global society of self-directed individuals is the sole agent of a dignified humane future.

Joan Sleigh

The Social Initiative Forum Project Leader
Executive Board Member of the General Anthroposophical Society

Upcoming Forum

SIF EGYPT 2019 Unfolding Individual Potential for the Future
12th -15th of December, 2019 | Heliopolis University, SEKEM, Egypt
Social Initiative Forum 2019 at SEKEM - Unfolding Individual Potential for the Future
"How do we learn to ask questions?" Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development
Happening on the 12th to the 15th of December, 2019, SIF Egypt 2019: Unfolding Individual Potential for the Future is a 4-day Forum on educating the Self towards community development through an integral, socially-relevant & artistic approach. 

Forum Theme

Why Education & Sustainability
SEKEM, Social Initiative Forum, & Heliopolis University
SEKEM's Focus
"Recognizing & transforming Education as the basis for human development - free development of potential & development vs. teaching & learning, education for sustainable development in & with nature, & art as an important aspect of learning." - SEKEM für 20157 Themenvorschlag Nr. 3, June '18
Founded by Ibrahim Abouleish in 1977, SEKEM is a sustainable community in Cairo, whose main thrust is towards a future where every human being can unfold his or her individual potential, where mankind is living together in social forms reflecting human dignity, & where all economic activity is conducted in accordance with ecological & ethical principles.
Education & Sustainability are key themes that SEKEM is focusing on as a response to the social & environmental challenges prevailing in Egypt. Because of this, SEKEM partnered with the Social Initiative Forum to organize a Forum where an international network of educators, social workers, students, & researchers can gather to share ideas on creative pedagogical practices for individual & holistic potential-unfolding that can help build a sustainable future. 

Founded by Ute Craemer & Truus Geraets in 2000, the Social Initiative Forum is a nonprofit initiative led by Joan Sleigh under the Section for Social Sciences at the Goetheanum. It has an international network of over 300 organizations & individuals working towards social development through grassroots initiatives in the fields of education, agriculture, medicine, & the arts. The Social Initiative Forum aims to connect, strengthen & promote social impulses & grassroots initiatives, arising out of, but not exclusively from an anthroposophical background working toward alleviating poverty, inequality, & marginalization through empowerment, increased resilience & collaboration.

SIF Egypt 2019 will be held at Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development, a pioneer research institute established by SEKEM in 2009. Heliopolis University's unique humanistic program focuses on individual consciousness, economic solidarity, social justice, & environmental balance as groundwork for sustainability.
register now

Forum Keynote Lectures

How can Individual Unfolding lead to a Sustainable Future
SIF Egypt 2019 Programme
Day 1: Potential Unfolding in Formal Education 
Florian Osswald [Pedagogical-Goetheanum
What education do the children of today & tomorrow need?
Margret Rasfeld [Schule im Aufbruch] Education for Sustainability - Schools in Transformation
Benjamin Cherry [China Waldorf Forum] Anthroposophy as a Door towards Individual Human Encounter 
Day 2: Potential Unfolding in Lifelong Learning 
James Sleigh [Camphill West Coast]
Economic Inclusivity for the Marginalized
Aonghus Gordon [Ruskin Mill Land Trust] To develop self-generated conscious action
Ha Vinh Tho [GNH-Bhutan] From Inner Transformation to Social Innovation - GNH & the Threefold Social Order  
Day 3: Economy, Ecology, Culture & Society 
Simone Helmle [Demeter Academy]
Deep in Our Hearts - Paths of Learning to Awaken the Future Within
Alexander Schieffer | Trans4m Unleashing Human Gene-I-Us - A Transformative Whole Life Learning Journey 
Joan Melé [Fundación Dinero Conciencia] Human Dignity as Foundation of a New Economy
The Forum will end on the overarching theme Stepping into the Emerging Future Together, which will culminate with a keynote lecture by SEKEM Chair & Managing Director Helmy Abouleish on Unlocking Potential - Key for Human Development.
Skills & art workshops will be facilitated by an international network of experts in the field of education & sustainability including SIF project leader & Goetheanum Vorstand Joan Sleigh (Understanding the Child as a Unique Individual), Monte Azul & WSIF founder Ute Craemer (Social Art), SEKEM eurythmist Mona Abouleish (Meeting -in between-Space), & author Dr. Bruno Sandkühler (Islam, Individual, & the Anthroposophical Approach).
SEKEM music producer Sherif Mostafa will hold a workshop on Oriental Rhythms & Tones. Free Columbia co-founder Nathaniel Williams will focus on Puppetry & the Gestural Practice of Centering. University professors Daisuki Onuki & Atsuhiko Yoshida will moderate a discussion on The Power of Diversity within the International Anthroposophic/Waldorf Community. & The Breede Center founder Pieter Holloway will tackle Ethical Entrepreneurship as a Way to do Business Differently.
They will also be joined by Heliopolis University's esteemed faculty: performance artist Dorothea Walter (Speak & Inspire), Faculty of Business & Economics Dean Dr. Omar Ramzy (Center of Education for Sustainable Development), & ESD Instructors Mohammed Anwar & Moamen Ghanem (Education for Sustainable Development in Egyptian Public Schools - Educamp Project).
SIF Egypt 2019 programme
Photos (top-bottom): The Social Initiative Forum & SEKEM

A Call for Support

Who the Forum is for
SIF Egypt 2019 Changemakers 
With your contribution, you will help bring together a worldwide network of social organizations & anthroposophically-inspired grassroots initiatives in this 4-day Forum, where exchanges on best practices in the field of Education & Sustainability can emerge. This will also give a platform for these changemakers to be celebrated & seen - how they are upholding human dignity in diverse & inspiring ways.
Support the Social Initiative Forum 2019 for Unfolding Individual Potential for a Sustainable Future
"Do we need a revolution in Education?" SEKEM  
support changemakers

Ruwwad - Jordan رواد التنمية - الأردن [Jordan] is a non-profit organization who supports the empowerment of marginalized & poverty-stricken communities through education, youth volunteerism & grassroots impulses in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon & Palestine.

Started by Ute Craemer in 1979, Monte Azul International e.V. [Brazil] has been working in the favelas of São Paolo in the fields of education, medicine, & culture. More than 1,350 children & adolescents are being mentored & educated in a Waldorf framework; & around 1,000 people per year are being treated in their health center. 


REDES Ecovillage [Senegal] is a community service organization who brings relevant solutions to the complex environmental & socioeconomic challenges in West Africa. Their projects include Reforestation Summer Camps, Lahel Permaculture Project Small, & Cross-border dialogue between the Mauritians & the Senegalese.

Al-Sama Camphill [Palestine] is a Camphill Community where people with different abilities are accompanied in their becoming through anthroposophic art therapies & curative education. The impulse behind it came from Al-Sama founder Mrs. Faiza Vida Alhusseini conviction, that now is "the time to start social work-with hope to put the chaos, the wars, religion aside, & to start to build the human being."

more initiatives here

Youth Pre-Forum

How do we transform Sympathy into Empathy?
5th to the 10th of December, 2019 | SEKEM, Egypt
What is the environment that allows us to unfold our potential? How do we form an individuality & what kind of space do we need to express it? How can we transform an individuality that is driven by sympathy into a Self acting in Empathy? 
The idea is to explore the unfolding of individual potential in different cultures by looking into poverty, Injustice & inequality, how these subjects relate to our daily choices, & how this unfolding can build a more empathic world. We will do some artistic movement, drawing, walking, while engaging in conversations - open where this will take us!
Text: Teo Nasar | Photo: Narimeh Paeplow

A Call to Action

Allianz Eliant's call for "A Screen-Free Early Childhood Education"
Allianz Eliant interviews pediatrician Stefan Schmidt-Troschke, MBA on how illness can be a tool towards Self-development; how the future of medicine is seen as co-creating & related to education; & how can a child develop in a healthy way in the modern world.

"If we consider relationships, we find that they are severely interrupted today by the unbelievable amount of stimulation that children are subjected to - for instance, media. The strong impressions they encounter actually prevent them from being aware of themselves & truly perceiving the world. I sometimes come across children who have to compete with a mobile device for the attention of their parents & who develop real feelings of jealousy. I think this is a huge issue & we should address it consciously today. We also need to encourage parents to think differently, & perhaps even put in place real periods of "off time", particularly in the presence of young children."- Stefan Schmidt-Troschke, MBA

Allianz Eliant signature campaign for "Screen-free Early Childhood Education" here.
Looking forward to the encounters & initiatives that will emerge out of the Forum,
The Social Initiative Forum Team

Joan Sleigh | Juan Bottero | Milena Kowarik | Nicole Asis | Natasha Weddepohl
Any questions? Get in touch!
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