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+++ 11.05.2018 +++

Full of creativity and vitality

In the summer of 2016, a first joint convention took place in Armenia bringing together Waldorf teachers from Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine. The aim was for the colleagues to have a dialog on the basis of Waldorf education and exchange the experiences of their daily work, regardless of national circumstances and possible political oppositions. This went so well and was accepted with such enthusiasm, that they immediately started planning the next session to be held already in the next year. And so, about 90 teachers from the four countries met between 25 and 28 June 2017 – this time in Georgia, close to Tbilisi. The Friends of Waldorf Education supported the convention with travel allowances for participants from Russia, Armenia, and the Ukraine.
Ruben Janibekyan from the Waldorf School In Yerevan also took part in this conference and tells us about his impressions.

 

After the successful conference in Armenia in summer 2016, the general desire for another installment was more than huge, and, thanks to the efforts of the initiators, the organization committee in the host country of Georgia, the support of the teacher-training seminar in Kassel, Germany, and the numerous cooperating foundations in Europe, we were able to implement this idea. The experience of the first extended conference in Erivan had shown with such clarity that the main advantage of such a conference is that there is, in addition to the purely Waldorf-educational impulses, also a process of reconciliation and international community building. Against the backdrop of the well-known current developments in political arena, this second component appears to have become particularly relevant and important. In Georgia, these two aspects were closely interrelated.

The conference took place in an educational center close to Tbilisi, at the outskirts of the small town of Rustavi. Main topic of the conference was the “Problem of Faust Within Modern Man” as Goethe presented it so brilliantly in his poetic work.
The conference consisted of different parts. In the mornings, Prof. Dr. Michael Zech from Kassel gave profound talks on “Faust” under the title of  “Anthropology and the Tragedy of Modern Man”.  Michael Zech presented the relevance of the problem in our modern times in a very impressive way.

After that, the colleagues continued their work on educational topics in several focus groups. The exchange of experiences proceeded actively and was very interesting – everyone embraced this rare opportunity. In the second half of the conference, presenters summarized what had been discussed in the focus groups. During lunch break, we enjoyed the tasty Georgian food at the cafeteria. Immediately after the short lunch break, there were various opportunities for artistic work. There was a drama group, lead by Goscha Gorgoschidze from Georgia. Gohar Tumasyan from Armenia offered a painting workshop. Vlada Eliferova from Russia gave an introduction to artistic projective geometry. In addition, there was a dancing group led by Marina Stepura from Ukraine and Nino Roinishvili from Georgia.

After a short coffee break the well-known historian Markus Osterrieder started with his talks on historical characters who dealt with the problem of Faust themselves or who engaged with it artistically – for example Church Father Augustine or the writer Boris Pasternak. The title was “Historico-cultural aspects of the conception of man”.

Then we discussed the joint projects, initiated by several schools. For example, the student’s conference initiated in Armenia in 2016, which eventually took place in Odessa in 2017, and which was initiated by young people from Georgia, Armenia, Germany, and the Ukraine.

The evenings also had an artistic touch. They were hosted by representatives of the different countries. The first two evenings (Georgia and Armenia) were again dedicated to the topic of Faust: Former students of Georgia’s Waldorf School gave a very mature, almost professional and expressive performance of Faust in Georgian – lead by director Goscha Gorgoschidze.

On the second evening, a group of teachers from Armenia performed an impressive scene from Faust Eurythmically. On the third evening, the Ukrainian and Russian participants united their efforts on stage: They recited and sang various classical and folkloric poems and songs. During the festive announcement of the birthday of one of the participants, the evening suddenly developed into an impressive general presentation of the various national spirits, all of which celebrated together in a kind and friendly manner. There was no hint of psychological antipathy, no indication of any current difference amongst this variety of different people. On the fourth evening, we had a break so that mainly the Slavic guests could visit Tbilisi. On the fifth day of the conference, all of the artistic groups presented the fruits of their work. It was amazing how much one can accomplish in such a short time.

It was a conference full of creativity and vitality of the participating teachers. The conference took five activity-filled days, was lead in a very positive mood, and left the clear impression that our common humanity needs consistent and continuous care.

The Waldorf School Aregnasan in Yerevan would like to thank all those people and foundations that have contributed to the success of this conference.

For many years, Ruben Janibekyan has been a high school teacher at the Waldorf School in Yerevan, Armenia.

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