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Social Initiative Forum Mid-Spring 2020
Enlivening Social Life: Initiatives-in-Focus 
Addressing the Social Needs of Our Time
News Joan Sleigh continues as the Social Initiative Forum Project Leader 
Text: Nicole Asis [PH] | Photos: Nicole Asis [PH], Juan Bottero [AR], Samuel Leon Knaus [DE], & Francesca Volpe [CH]
2017: Talking about SIF at the Youth Section | © Bottero [AR]                2019: On Child Study at SIF Egypt 2019 | © Asis [PH]

After serving 7 years in the Executive Council at the Goetheanum, Joan Sleigh decided not to be reaffirmed as Executive Board Member effective this year. Her engagement and commitment to Anthroposophy will remain her focus as she returns to Cape Town to be with her husband and work with different initiatives in Africa. She will continue as the Project Leader of the Social Initiative Forum as her main task, along with working at the Goetheanum in a different capacity. 

Collaboration with the Social Science Section
Section for Social Sciences Leader Gerald Häfner reaffirms the ties between the section and the Social Initiative Forum in a meeting with Joan and the team, offering regular check-in meetings to align the goals and projects of both parties and provide a working space for the co-workers.

Finding new ways of Co-working
The SIF Team currently meets in person once a week, with co-worker Juan Bottero joining via Zoom. Once Joan relocates to South Africa, the team will continue with the regular weekly meetings via Zoom - Joan in Cape Town, Juan in Buenos Aires, and Nicole Asis & Milena Kowarik in Dornach. The biannual Advisory Board meetings for planning and evaluation will also be observed. 

2019: With Ute, Truus & Helmy at Heliopolis | © Knaus [DE]                 2019: The Social Initiative Forum Team | © Volpe [CH]
Strengthening Ties with the Worldwide Network
Joan and the Social Initiative Forum Team will continue strengthening the relationship among the network through Forums, featured stories and initiatives on various online platforms, quarterly newsletters, and upcoming webinars. Initial planning of SIF Nairobi 2021, SIF Ethical Individualism 2020 in collaboration with Georg Wiedemer and Freunde Ehemaligenarbeit, and SIF Goetheanum 2021 with conceptualizing webinar offerings are well underway. 

Joan's Contributions as Executive Board Member
As a member of the Executive Council at the Goetheanum from 2013 to 2020, Joan's tasks include co-carrying the Goetheanum Anthroposophic Studies; coordinating aspects of the First Class for English-speakers; playing an active role in Living Connections; nurturing the relationship to the Christian Community; and fostering an active dialogue with the English-speaking country societies through regular meetings and travels to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the US. She is the Project Leader of the Social Initiative Forum since 2015, bridging the impulse of founders Ute Craemer and Truus Geraets and strengthening ties to the Section for Social Sciences, the Goetheanum, and grassroots initiatives and partner organizations worldwide.
Presence, Participation & Purpose: Interview with Joan Sleigh
SIF Nairobi 2021 A Forum on Education and Social Engagement
Text: Nicole Asis [PH] | Photo:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Initiative Forum with its partners nyendo Lernen and Sunbridge Collaborative International decided to cancel the Forum "SIF Nairobi 2020: Inuka Sasa". It was scheduled for the 12th to the 18th of April 2020 with the theme "Entrepreneurship and Innovation". 

With the wish to still have a Forum in Kenya, Project Leader Joan Sleigh started initial talks with Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi Head of School Judith Brown to organize a Forum in Nairobi on "Education of the Future: Individual Unfolding and Social Engagement". The Forum will be held in 2021.
Though it is by-invitation-only, we have opened a few slots for those who are interested to join. To know more about SIF Nairobi 2021, please contact us at

Before canceling SIF Nairobi 2020: Inuka Sasa Summit, we have raised 815 CHF to support participants from Africa and the US. The money raised will be used to fund participants seeking support in the next Forum. Updates and the final Forum program will be published in our quarterly newsletters.

Thank you very much for supporting our various Forums, as we bring it to different local communities all over the world.
Initiatives-in-focus Addressing the Social Needs of Our Time
On Education and Communal Support
Free Columbia [US] offers an interdisciplinary study program on Transdisciplinary Learning, Speech and Drama, Social Theory, and the Arts, which seeks to promote and ignite freedom as inspired by Anthroposophy. There are no set tuition fees nor material costs. All students and friends of Free Columbia are encouraged to donate in support of this kind of education and the running costs are shared with the public. This sustainable model and structure of financing provide a sense of cultural hygiene and communal support. Free Columbia.
On Individual Empowerment and Social Renewal
Koberwitz 1924, Inc. [Philippines] centers its ethos on “connecting man and the cosmos, healing the earth” through agriculture, education, health, and nutrition. With an awareness of the present conditions in the Philippines, a country with a very powerful elite having the political power while a vast majority of poor people do not have much say in how things can be improved, they believe that raising the consciousness of the individual is an important first step towards social transformation. Koberwitz 1924, Inc.
On Inclusion and a World without Borders
Free School Esperanza [Switzerland] 
is a project by Association Esperanza as a response to the refugee situation in Switzerland by addressing the migrants' hope for integration, self-development, and a better future. The association came out of Initiativforum für Geflüchtete, an initiative by the Anthroposophical Swiss Society in 2016. The weekly sessions at Free School Esperanza provide consistent learning support for the refugees and make space for cultural exchange, social interaction, and integration. Free School Esperanza.
On Co-working with Nature and Each Other
Working for Bees [Zimbabwe] follows the asset-based approach to beekeeping that are easily mobilized to make a sustainable living for the community. The income from their production has enabled children in low-income communities to access quality education and families to have food on their tables. The honey they collect from beekeeping is also used as medicine. To ensure a viable home for the bees they protect, community members are planting trees, thus curbing deforestation, and reducing the impact of climate change. Working for Bees.
From ÆTHER  The Social Initiative Forum featured at

Text: Sofia Lismont [CH] | Photo: Monte Azul [BR] Published in French as “Un forum pour le changement” on April 11, 2020 at

ÆTHER writer and iconographer Sofia Lismont [CH] writes about the Social Initiative Forum - highlighting its worldwide network of grassroots initiatives and Forums that open spaces for individual unfolding, social encounters, and co-learning. [In French]

Face aux crises qui se multiplient dans le monde, de plus en plus de gens réalisent qu’un changement est nécessaire. Comment s’y prendre, comment y participer ? Le Social Initiative Forum, initié il y a vingt ans et intégré dans la section des sciences sociales du Goetheanum, propose une plateforme d’échange et de partage d’expériences aux acteurs du changement social. Elle soutient les uns et les autres dans leurs missions. Continue reading here.
Subscribe to ÆTHER
Freedom Board Echo from Japan to Brazil: Empathy through Song
"As a group of Japanese Monte Azul former volunteers, we sing "Ookina Uta" to our dear friends in Monte Azul. It is an echo of great music from Japan. We want to do something to help them because our friends are suffering from the Coronavirus. This is our way of showing compassion...and that we all think of them." - Massa Ando [JP]
 © The Social Initiative Forum 2020
Joan Sleigh | Nicole Asis | Juan Bottero | Milena Kowarik

The Social Initiative Forum
Section for Social Sciences - Goetheanum
Rüttiweg 45 CH-4143 Dornach CH
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World Social Initiative Forum · Section for Social Sciences, Goetheanum · Rüttiweg 45 · Dornach 4143 · Switzerland

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