For the self-contemplation of a pedagogical movement celebrating its 100th birthday, it is important that the young preparation team of the international student conference 2019 chose the topic “Courage” as the basis for the encounters, the conversations, the perspectives into the future to be shaped together.
“Courage” includes the quality of the heart and the act: elements that could be experienced in the long time of preparation, in the thoughtful deliberations and decisions, and finally made it possible to welcome 650 participants from over 30 countries.
During the five days, the festivity and joy in the encounters, the attention and seriousness in the listening, in the conversations, in the perception of the contributions and the experience of what can generate and bring about courage were experienced. From the courage to work for the environment and social change in the Egyptian desert landscape, from the courage to commit oneself to social change in the political arena, from the courage to stand for the uniqueness of each child, from the courage to develop one’s own multi-layered identity, from the courage to take the diversity of society as a starting point for one’s own actions – the courage of the other can become an inspiration to gain courage oneself.
Each day was accompanied by a question on the theme of courage: the questions inspired conversations and enabled statements to be made that were based on the wonderful – and courage-giving! – wisdom of young people.
Courage could be experienced in many different ways: not least in the decision of many participants themselves to make the long journey to the Goetheanum: “Either all or none” was the maxim of a group of students from Chile who committed themselves with the school community to undertake the great and very expensive journey under the condition that it would be possible for everyone to participate – exemplary courage to solidarity!
Organisational strength and a special train for the Goetheanum made it possible to travel with all the pupils to Basel and to create an open space for performances on the beautiful Münsterplatz above the Rhine. Music, dance, a common eurythmic Hallelujah in the large circle could be seen by the cathedral celebrating its 100th birthday this year and the interested and astonished pedestrians. The expressiveness of a peaceful and creative gathering could be witnessed.
How much courage has been necessary through these 100 years that this school movement has become a worldwide reality! Parents, teachers, school co-workers – it has always been courageous decisions that have made an education possible in which the uniqueness of each and every human being can be acknowledged in their dignity.
To find the courage to re-found the world in its foundations – this courage that Rudolf Steiner called upon young people almost a century ago, it was perceptible this spring in and around the entire Goetheanum. It generates hope – and it anticipates the future.
A big thank you to all those who supported this project and made it possible!
Constanza Kaliks, May 2019