Taking Heart

Taking Heart

11 March 2024 Wolfgang Held 582 views

The largest conference of the Youth Section in five years, the International Students’ Conference 2024, will be held from 10 to 14 April.


The ISC was organized for the first time in 2015, took place every two years at the Goetheanum until 2021, as a collaboration between the Youth Section at the Goetheanum and the Philosophical Section of the WaldorfSV (Board of the National Students’ Council of Waldorf Schools in Germany). This year, the organizing team of the Youth Section is expecting 600 students aged 16 to 20. The theme of the last conference was “Trust”; now the Goetheanum is inviting them with the theme “Taking Heart—Finding Our Way together.”

“With this theme, we want to address the values of the heart and community and consciously counter the increasing alienation of people from nature, their individuality, and their fellow human beings,” said the young organizers. Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, the first guest speaker at the conference, is an activist in the fields of climate change, the environment, and indigenous peoples. He has represented the Arctic peoples at the United Nations General Assembly. “Melting the ice in the heart of men” is a motto of the shaman.

During preparations for the conference, the desire arose to create something coherent and interconnected. “How do we prepare a student conference where all the activities and aspects are connected to one image? How can we provide a sense of connection to the larger society beyond the conference? How can we make an offering for the people who live around the Goetheanum? So, we came up with the idea of preparing a participatory storytelling event designed for a public space for the last full day of the conference. Many of us are familiar with storytelling events that take place in theaters, auditoriums, cinemas, or on video, but there are also ways to tell stories where everyone can participate. Examples include puppet shows and festival parades. We wanted to find the right story for this conference. Gradually, we came to the vision of bringing together singing, movement, images, procession, and performance to recount “Excerpts from the Peacemaker’s Journey.” This story tells of the turning point that led to the founding of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in North America over 700 years ago. It took place in a territory that was at constant war and dominated by a culture of cannibalism and dark magic, and culminated in a constitutional confederacy built on the power and spirit of peace.

This article was originally published in the (online exclusive) English Edition of the Weekly ‹Das Goetheanum›.


Translation Charlie Cross

More International Students’ Conference, April 10-14, 2024

Image Event poster