The Waldorf School was a response to the horrors of the First World War, the Human Rights Charter to the inhuman extermination machinery of the Nazis. Both were based on an image of humanity that recognises the dignity of every individual human being as the constituent basic element of a free and peaceful world, irrespective of their socio-economic, cultural, religious or indeed ethnic origin.
While the 1948 Charter constituted a global fundamental right, the founding of the Waldorf School in 1919 was the joint child of a political movement that vehemently advocated a civil society that was liberal, democratic and based on solidarity, as well as of Rudolf Steiner’s anthropological and anthroposophical research: the developmental conditions and precise observation of children and adolescents were to take the place of school programmes that had to subordinate themselves to political, economic or ideological goals. The Friends of Waldorf Education serve both goals: worldwide, tirelessly and in practical life they work to ensure that kindergartens, schools, special needs educational facilities and teacher training centres can develop, and often enough also survive, in the spirit of the dual freedom of personal development and institutional freedom.
Over the decades, Nana Göbel’s boundless interest in the people who take responsibility on the ground has made her the best authority on the worldwide school movement and the people who support it, always supported by her Berlin team.
Karlsruhe is the location of the great centre of volunteer services, through whose placements tens of thousands of young people have worked in Waldorf educational institutions on all continents. Here, too, the Friends’ global impulse became tangible and practical. Bernd Ruf’s experience in educational trauma work have led him and his team, as the youngest child of the Friends, on emergency education missions to many disaster areas.
Rudolf Steiner longed for a “World School Association”. The Friends do this: practically, in solidarity, unselfishly and always with the aim of reducing dependencies instead of creating them. Many Waldorf schools and individual donors from our rich country have made it possible through their donations for this work to be done. The Friends bring back to us the concrete experience that this educational impulse “develops in a living way” wherever there are people of good will!
With deep gratitude that the children of this world have you as their advocates and “intercessors”,
Henning Kullak-Ublick for the German Association of Waldorf Schools