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Jan-Mar 2020

The Forums Report

We live in a time of dire crisis & need. The worst suffering manifesting in the world is societal. These underlie all areas of the world & aspects of life, evident in poverty, hunger, marginalization, violence & most notably, in national prejudice & inequality. However, it is equally apparent within the widespread pain & suffering that these are the source of the biggest possibilities. As
humanity, we are the driving agents, not only of society but also of the evolution of the world. We are being forced - individually & collectively - to wake up to the social issues & the critical situations that we have caused & continue to create all over the world. Whether these be the economic crisis caused by greed & consumerism; the destruction of the environment; manipulation &  exile through taking power
over others; or cultural-spiritual or religious disputes causing terror, torture & wars - all of these lead to social crises. We are all aware that this area of life demands most concern & energy in the world at the moment. Through it, however, we are waking up. We are forced to wake up to ourselves as individual agents within a social context. On the one hand, we face the most dramatic situations & on the other hand, these motivate unlimited potential. Through this potential of awakening to a new social understanding & vision, the Social Initiative
Forum has its vocation & must become proactive. We have to not only be present in the social situation but also show up, step in, & engage in what is happening. This means we have to participate, not necessarily by joining mass movements & demonstrations, but largely in our way of thinking & forming concepts, which become attitudes. We participate when we bring the right attitude & understanding,
through interest & an enquiring mind into circulation with the people we meet & work with. In this way, we participate in the future transformation of the crisis in society by bringing healing wherever we can. Social healing is transformation through empathy, compassion & love towards all people. These are the social tools we all have & can use to be active contributors to healing society. This is the
purpose of the Social Initiative Forum - providing forums & spaces so that human beings can meet at the highest level of humanity & manifest individual & collective potential. I would like us to co-create a worldwide network of partners, of mini Social Initiative Forums all over the world - linking people who carry & represent the same vision who partner with the same purpose. This means building a universal web of social & spiritual awareness, which aims particularly at the social crises of our time, all of which are
interconnected in diverse areas of life & thereby have the potential to unite all people.

Joan Sleigh | Project Leader, Social Initiative Forum
Executive Council, General Anthroposophical Society
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Photos [top-bottom]: Samuel Leon Knaus [DE], Ritika Arya [IN] & Narimeh Paeplow [DE] 
SIF Egypt 2019 Creating Spaces for Individual Unfolding
The Social Initiative Forum Review text: Nicole Asis [PH] | photo: Ritika Arya [IN]

Attended by 250 people from 26 countries, SIF Egypt 2019 was held last December 12-15, 2019 at Heliopolis University in Cairo. The Social Initiative Forum with SEKEM & Heliopolis University brought this year’s International Forum to the MENA region. Aligning with SEKEM’s Vision for 2057, the theme “Unfolding Individual Potential for the Future” was also an echo of Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish‘s vision how he dreamt

SEKEM to be – a community in the desert where people come together to learn, live & work as one while unfolding their individual potential. This symbiotic relationship between Education & Sustainability is also a relevant issue nowadays in the face of climate change, unresolved wars, & digitalization. We ask as a global community: how can we create a sustainable world for future generations? & how can education play a role in this paradigm shift?
SIF Egypt 2019 Forum Report: Nicole Asis [SIF]
Forum Reflections The Voice of Future Generations
Youth Participants reflect on the Forum & their next steps forward
interviews collated by Nicole Asis [PH]

"The conversations that I had were invaluable in strengthening my commitment to value diversity & sustainability in education & to give back to my community. I am forever grateful to participate in this Forum that revealed the great effort that is being done worldwide inspired by Anthroposophy & the future work needed to continue Rudolf Steiner’s legacy." - Noura K. Hamad, 28, Egypt

"We can create that space, be together with others even we all had different backgrounds, views. Have many chances to converse, communicate, understand one another. Through that, I think people can transform themselves & the world." - Hibiki Kawamura, 19, Japan

"I have always wanted to find out how Anthroposophy can contribute to global challenges & changes in a healthy, human way. So it was super interesting to experience SEKEM, to meet all these engaged people from all over the world & to explore together how individual potential can be unfolded for the future. However, one big question is left -what is the new that wants to emerge?" - Magdalena Ries, 31, Germany

Youth participants reflect on SIF Egypt 2019
SEKEM's Nadine Greiss reviews the Forum 
photo: Narimeh Paeplow [DE]
Full of Confidence: Unfolding of Potential becomes Visible Everyday
"Although the SIF 2019 came to an end, the real future designing is only beginning – & unfolding individual potential will never end. SEKEM is happy to be part of this visionary network & looks forward to the upcoming developments for which the foundation was laid during the SIF in Egypt."
Full of Confidence: Nadine Greiss [SEKEM]
INFO 3's Andrea Kreisel reviews the Forum    photo: Info 3

Seid jung im Herzen

Der globale gesellschaftliche Wandel kann nicht stattfinden, wenn wir auf das Handeln anderer warten. Jeder Mensch kann selbst Vorbild für künftige Generationen sein. Wie gelingt es, individuelles Potenzial für die Zukunft zu entfalten? Mit dieser Frage beschäftigte sich das Social Initiative Forum in Ägypten in Zusammenarbeit mit der SEKEM Initiative. Info3 war dabei.

„Wir sind soziale Wesen und brauchen ein offenes Herz, um in der Welt zu sein.“ So eröffnete Projektleiterin Joan Sleigh das Social Initiative Forum in der Heliopolis Universität für nachhaltige Entwicklung in Kairo. 250 Menschen aus 26 Ländern der Welt trafen sich, um gemeinsam an globalen sozialen Fragen zu arbeiten. Das übergeordnete Motto der viertägigen Konferenz in Ägypten lautete Unfolding Individual Potential for the Future. Zum ersten Mal seit zwanzig Jahren fand das Forum in einem arabischen Land in Nordafrika statt, zwischen Wüste und Nil, Pyramiden und Palmen: in SEKEM, einer Initiative für nachhaltige soziale und ökologische Entwicklung in der Wüste nahe Kairo. Im Vordergrund der globalen Konferenz stand die Rolle der Bildung für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft. „Die Frage ist, was brauchen Lernende, um selbst Führungskräfte der Zukunft zu werden?“, so Sleigh für das fünfköpfige Organisationsteam. Die SEKEM Vision, die auf den Gründer Ibrahim Abouleish zurückgeht, und der Initiativgeist vor Ort galten als Inspiration für die Tagung: ökologische Nachhaltigkeit, Zusammenleben in Würde und wirtschaftliche Tätigkeiten im Einklang mit ökologischen und ethischen Prinzipien.

Es ist schwer zu sagen, wo Bildung anfängt. Wie muss sie sein, damit sich Menschen frei entfalten können? Was macht Bildung für alle Menschen möglich?

Seid jung im Herzen: Andrei Kreisel [INFO 3]
Forum Contributor Alexander Schieffer, Ph.D. shares his experiences in SIF Egypt 2019    photo: TRANS4M 

TRANS4M contributes an Integral Perspective in SIF Egypt 2019

A highlight of this year’s Forum was the level of ownership, enthusiasm, creativity & professionalism that a team of youth organizers,
led by SEKEM’s Nana Woo, was seen throughout the 4-day event – a major ingredient to its success. Furthermore, the Forum was deeply enriched by being embedded in the innovative organizational & educational frameworks of SEKEM & Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development. In turn, the dynamic, innovative and transcultural spirit of the Forum brought many evolutionary impulses back. A tangible win-win situation that made participants & organizers leaving the Forum enriched, energized & further enabled to make his or her contribution to a more sustainable future.
An Integral Perspective: Alexander Schieffer, PhD [TRANS4M]
SIF Ethical Individualism 2019 Steadfast in the Changes
The Social Initiative Forum Review text: Nicole Asis [PH] | Massa Ando [JP]
Last October 18-20, 2019, youth volunteers from Freunde’s Freiwilligendienste program gathered at the Goetheanum for SIF Ethical Individualism 2019
 
Enabling social transformation is a daunting task for everyone. Like how a 19-year old participant put it, “I know where I can find the strength within me, but I don’t know how I can start to make social changes”. Most volunteers are proactive & see that it can be done. “I would start my class with singing & the children loved it,” shared a 21-year old participant about her experience during her volunteer year as a teacher-assist in Georgia, “they told me they didn’t really sing that much. Singing together made them feel alive & I saw how it changed them.” A 21-year old volunteer expressed her certainty by saying, “I am aware of how to engage in the world & what my inner strengths are”, while another 20-year old participant said, “we need to be confident in doing something (because) even the smallest actions
SIF Ethical Individualism 2019: Nicole Asis [SIF]
WSIF Japan 2019 From Empathy to a Just & Fraternal Society
The Social Initiative Forum Review text: Daisuke Onuki [JP] | photo: Ren Tamura [JP]
The theme chosen for the occasion was “Knowing Self through Others: Empathy, a Path towards a Just & Fraternal Society”. The issues of socioeconomic, as well as cultural marginalization in the world, specifically in Japan, were addressed. The important role of empathy in awakening the local community, the society, & the world to the sense of brother-/sisterhood was emphasized. Different ways with which different cultures “embody” empathy were explored. In our modern times, when embodied experiences of meeting others are compromised both because of a kind of civilized aloofness & the availability of virtual technologies, it was so beautiful to see our participants spontaneously shake hands, kiss, hug, bow, or give Thai wai, respecting each other’s cultures & eager to learn from them.
WSIF Japan 2018 Forum Report: Daisuke Onuki [SIF]
What is the Social Initiative Forum?

Presence, Participation & PurposeAn Interview with Joan Sleigh

NA: Is the Social Initiative Forum relevant in our time?

Joan Sleigh: Being present is the first aspect of showing relevance – that we step into a process of healing through participation. The second is to participate wherever the development of social skills & awareness can take effect. & thirdly is what is the purpose? The purpose is that we assist in developing a cosmopolitan society with a new understanding of oneself & each, in which we can be present with & for one another.

Presence, Participation & Purpose: An Interview with Joan Sleigh
Upcoming Events from our Partners
Seeking light & warmth even in the coldest days,
The Social Initiative Forum Team
Joan Sleigh | Juan Bottero | Milena Kowarik | Nicole Asis | Natasha Weddepohl
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