Asia is the largest continent on earth. With approximately 44.4 million square kilometers, it occupies about a third of the world’s landmass. With more than four billion people, about 60 percent of the world population lives in Asia. In China alone, there are. 1.3 billion people and India has over one billion inhabitants, even though both nations together are geographically smaller than Russia
25 years ago there was not a single Waldorf initiative in Asia. Meanwhile, there are Waldorf schools and kindergartens extending from Thailand, via Nepal to China. In 1987, a Waldorf school opened in Tokyo and in 1988 a kindergarten in Bangkok followed. From the mid-90s onwards Waldorf education took a strong foothold in Asia. In 1996, the first schools opened in Thailand and the Philippines, 1998 in India, and 1999 and 2000 in Taiwan and Nepal. Several initiatives in Korea and China followed suit. Meanwhile, there are approaches to Steiner education even in Pakistan.
Since 2005, there is an Asian Waldorf Teachers' Conference taking place every other year. Initiated mainly by the Friends of Waldorf Education, these conferences are attended by Waldorf teachers from all over Asia and are an important forum for training and exchange among Waldorf educationalists. The last Asian Waldorf Teacher Conferences took place in Hyderabad (India) 2011, in Manila (Philippines) 2009, in Bangkok (Thailand) 2007, and in I-Lan (Taiwan) 2005. The next Asia Conference will be held in late April 2013 in Seoul, South Korea.
A report about the last meeting in India 2011 is available in the autumn 2011 issue of our newsletter.