«Becoming Human» was the title of the 2018 Summer Youth Conference. The preparation involved a collaboration between members of the youth sections from different countries, which practically meant that for a year we organised most of the conference on Skype. It was an incredible challenge considering the time zones between Australia, India, Israel, Central Europe, USA and Brazil.
The idea for this topic was born at the International Youth Section Meeting in The Hague in July 2017, where we collected questions that touched us as young people. In these questions we always saw a connection to the human being and to the future of our earth. It seemed important to us to look at the link between the human being, its development and the shaping of a better future.
Many hours of challenging and beautiful Skype conversations were ahead: struggles about the title, the program, the workshops and lectures… The balance between form and freedom was what preoccupied us the most. It was important for us to encourage the young people’s own activity during the event and that a co-creation could take place. It should not become a conference in which the participants would only be served lectures and workshops before returning home. 90% of the workshops were given by young people because we wanted to promote their great potential.
Two days before the conference started we finally met face to face as an organization team in Dornach. 11 people – from Brazil (3), Germany (2), Switzerland (1), Australia (1), Holland (1), Israel (2), Argentina (1).
In two days we used all our strength to make this conference possible – after the preliminary work already done on site (Juan and the small group of project co-workers had already done a lot).
When it finally began, a great burden fell from our shoulders. Our vision had become reality, albeit with compromises from each of us.
After the first informal meeting of the 170 participants, Constanza Kaliks gave an introduction to the theme, which focused mainly on the question of human rights and taking responsibility for them. The fact that the rights are being stated somewhere does not guarantee that they will be respected, as can be seen in situations everywhere in the world. Each of us has the responsibility to make them real. The evening was rounded off by an Euyrthmy performance by the young Novalis ensemble. We were allowed to experience the struggle between light and shadow deeply and stirringly.
We started every morning with singing and movement. Kefas from Sweden woke us up from our sleepiness with rhythm, songs and vocal meditation.
Every day of the conference had had a title: “ME”, “US”, “THE WORLD”. So we wanted to draw attention to something different every day. To achieve this, two persons of the organising team were responsible each morning to bring the intention of the day into the space.
Joan Melé gave a fiery lecture in which he summarized the biography of Rudolf Steiner, the principles of Anthroposophy, social threefolding, banking today and our responsibility. One could think that this was not possible in an hour. But he managed to talk about everything in a way that reflected the deepest essence of the matter and was understandable for everyone. Especially impressive was how he pointed out to us what happens with our money in the banks and that we should ask what is supported with our money. We have to get up and take responsibility for what we buy and where our money is. In discussion groups we worked on what we had heard and after lunch we went to the various workshops. The OPEN SPACE gave the opportunity to listen to the initiatives of the participants and to make spontaneous small workshops or meetings possible.
In the evening we were allowed to see a performance in Georgian. A young group showed us how “Faust” was experienced by them and brought it into the 21st century. It was a very genuine experience!
On “US” day we had a panel discussion with Constanza Kaliks and Nicanor Perlas instead of a lecture. In the evening, an “open mic” was held to coincide with a community day. Two hours the participants stormed alternately the stage in the “Schreinerei” and showed what they had to offer.
The “WORLD” day was facilitated in the morning by Nicanor Perlas, who shared with us his work in the realm of the artificial intelligence. What we otherwise only knew from science fiction films, he told us has already become reality. The next stage of evolution, some say, should no longer have anything to do with the human being, who will be denied by machines. In his work, he tries to work worldwide to ensure that this does not happen and that the machines do not control and replace us, but serve us and enlighten our humanity. His new book deals with “Humanity’s Last Stand.”
On the final day Constanza gave us hope again and encouraged us to fight for peace and freedom every day.
Rarely have I ever experienced such a conference. One felt the life of the young people pulsate in a very special way. The will for the future. The power to implement the ideas. Hardly have I ever experienced so much potential in a space. Something has changed enormously in recent years. Youth conferences are always a wonderful experience, but the situation in which the world finds itself in creates new forces in young people. Besides the joy of meeting, I experienced the will to become active and not only illusory, but possible. I hope that together we will work willingly for a future that is determined by the dignity and freedom of the human being.
An Article by Milena Kowarik, Switzerland