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Social Initiative Forum Summer 2020
Enlivening Social Life: Solidarity in the Time of COVID-19
Will Impulses Worldwide
Editorial Easter - Renewal and Resurrection Borne out of Pain, Suffering, and Death

We all experience ourselves united as part of the drama of the Coronavirus pandemic - suffering and compromised to greater or lesser degrees depending on where we live and how our governments are able to handle the situation. 

We are very privileged in Dornach because only spatial distancing is enforced, not a severe lockdown. Apart from this, the work continues, partly via the internet, but mostly in the Goetheanum itself.

A very different reality is challenging our society, where severe lockdown is enforced by police and military crackdowns, and people are exposed to enormous social and existential crises, as for example in South Africa and India.

Yet, at the same time, new and highly creative ways of building social and spiritual bridges are emerging - enabling intercultural awareness and support through digital networking, empathy, and appreciation across racial and cultural barriers.

With a deceleration of modern frenetic lifestyle and a stop placed on an economy driven by consumerism and profit, it has brought sudden stillness and tranquillity to nature and society as if all are holding their breath and pausing to reconsider.


We are challenged to stand firm in the growing tension field of escalating crises and the creative possibility of a transformed future. But the opportunity for change is what we may consciously discern, create, and manifest in the potential of the unknown.

Rudolf Steiner suggests that “The grief and pain we suffer can be turned into strength to support everything we are called upon to accomplish” for the dignity of human life. “It is often the case in life that when a group of people finds themselves faced by a common disaster, they are united by it in a way that gives them strength and energy to go on together in effective common action.” (1)


Recognizing and contemplating the interconnectedness of all things prompt individuality to become common humanity. While requiring the courage of the individual, it can also build the capacity to participate in the processes of renewal and resurrection, borne out of pain, suffering, and death. 

“We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror of what may come to us from the future. We must acquire serenity in all feelings and sensations about the future. We must look forward with absolute equanimity to everything that may come, and we must think only that whatever comes is given to us by ‘World Direction’ full of wisdom. It is part of what we must learn in this age, namely to live out of pure trust without any security in existence, trusting only in the ever-present help of the Spiritual World. Truly, nothing else will do if our courage is not to fail.” (2)


With this contemplation and in the light of Easter, we wish you all the courage and dignity needed for the inevitable change in which we find ourselves. 


With warm greetings from the Social Initiative Forum Team,

Joan Sleigh Project Leader
1 Steiner: Awakening to Community, CW 257, Lecture 6 
2 Text compiled from 2 lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in 1910 

In our time Social Initiatives in the World 
Worldwide Social Art from stART
Germany - stART International organized a Social Art Program entitled Challenging Times. This initiative sprung out of an impulse to answer the COVID-19 pandemic in a homeopathic approach: treat like by likes. This program includes several Social Art Projects available in 10 languages. More about stARt's project here.
Pedagogy Response from Freunde
Germany - Friends of Waldorf Education-Emergency Pedagogy mobilized their team to support Waldorf Schools in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, and South America affected by the economic consequences of the lockdowns. Their response includes opening a hotline for psychosocial support, implementing emergency educational programs, and providing supplementary instructional aids. Support here.
Food Drive launched by Gamot Cogon Waldorf School
Philippines - Gamot Cogon Waldorf School in Ilo-ilo launched a food drive to help families in their local community who are economically affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. They have distributed organic vegetables, fish, and rice to 200 families in Libongcogon. Support here.
Photos [top-bottom]: stART International [DE], Freunde-Notfallpädagogik [DE], Anna Slater [PH]
Initiatives-in-focus Anthroposophy in Action
Anthroposophical Prison Outreach [US]  is a non-profit program that encourages incarcerated individuals to take responsibility for their lives through studying anthroposophical texts, fostering a meditative practice, reflecting on their own biographies, and developing positive human relationships. APO
WOGOUD STUDIO [Egypt] provides an “Art Therapy Further Education” program over three years in various modules – tackling the relation between artistic work and human development. They also “train the trainers” who teach art in schools; work artistically with children or teens in social/therapeutic relations; and who are working within vacation-camps, school projects or charity organizations. WOGOUD STUDIO
Forums Spaces of Encounters & Colearning
Dinero y Conciencia: Ethical Banking Conference goes Online
South America – Dinero y Conciencia Foundation president Joan Melé and Banca Etica-Latin America invite our Spanish- & Portuguese-speaking friends to join a cycle of live-streamed conferences on Money & Consciousness available online from April 1-23, 2020. More about the conference here.
Freedom Board Contributions from the Network
LIBERTY! EQUALITY!…Fraternity?
Could it be that the denial of an integrated economy based on collaboration and the fulfillment of one another’s needs through industry and cooperation is as much a social sin as the outlawing of religious freedom or the freedom of the press? - Nathaniel Williams of Free Columbia [US] | Read the rest of the article here. Photo: penguingrandomhouse.com
FEEDBACK: How are you enlivening social life during the lockdown? Any contribution you want to share, tips on how to cope proactively, outreach programs initiated by your organization, or causes that you want us to feature? E-mail us at hello@socialinitiativeforum.org.
A Call for Support Reaching out to the Community
"I was deeply touched by the transformation of the incarcerated individuals after reading books from Rudolf Steiner through the Anthroposophical Prison Outreach. Anthroposophy becomes a tool for them to change their perspectives and biographies. For my birthday, I wish to ask your generous support for this worthy cause." - Milena Kowarik, Social Initiative Forum Click and support
From Anthroposophy Worldwide In Life 

Project Leader Joan Sleigh and coworkers Nicole Asis, Juan Bottero, and Milena Kowarik of the Social Initiative Forum engage in upholding human dignity and supporting individual development in addressing the social challenges of our timeFull article here | Interview & Translation: Sebastian Jüngel | Published 25 March 2020 at goetheanum.org 

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The Social Initiative Forum
Section for Social Sciences - Goetheanum
Rüttiweg 45 CH-4143 Dornach CH
hello@socialinitiativeforum.org
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World Social Initiative Forum · Section for Social Sciences, Goetheanum · Rüttiweg 45 · Dornach 4143 · Switzerland

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