September 19, 2019 has been in the hearts and minds of all connected with the Waldorf movement for some time now. And, as this day approached, thousands of individuals made their way to Berlin to celebrate the 100-year anniversary Waldorf education.
From Japan, India, Kenya, South Africa, and Europe, to Mexico, Venezuela, Israel, New Zealand and the United States, Waldorf celebrants arrived at Berlin’s Tempodrom. The Tempodrom itself is one of the newest event centers in Berlin, and on September 19th, its sweeping, sail-like tented roof rose to the sky hearkening these visitors from far and wide.
Among the thousands of audience members present were myself, Nita Davanzo, Director of Waldorf100 for AWSNA, and Melanie Reiser, AWSNA’s Executive Director of Membership.
The celebration began with an introduction and welcome by Henning Kullak-Ublick, Director of the international Waldorf100 events and Master of Ceremonies for the day. The morning, titled See the World, brought a showcase of student performances.
The morning whirled by, awing, delighting, and refreshing the audience with performance from the incredible talent and focus of the Kyotanabe Steiner School High School Taiko Drummers, to the traditional clog dancing of a Denmark Waldorf School’s high school students, to the fifty-plus Stuttgart high school eurythmy performance group. These performances served as inspirational reminders of the heartfelt creative arts that live with vibrancy in each and every Waldorf school.
The afternoon, titled Change the World, brought leaders of the international Waldorf educational movement to the stage to help the audience sink into the depth and breadth of the intellectual forces that drive the Waldorf movement. Florian Osswald spoke about the relevance of Waldorf education in the 21st century. Monique Brinson, principal of the Oakland Community School for Creative Education, spoke on diversity and inclusion. And two passionate German high school female student leaders spoke of the bright future to come. The afternoon was closed with a preview of the soon-to-be-released final Waldorf100 film, reEvolution, which focuses on technology and its rightful place as a tool to be understood and used, rather than a negative influence or addiction.
The theme of Love the World closed the phenomenal day, and more student performances, many socially-charged, sprinkled with a few more speakers, brought the day to an end. Highlights from this evening included Little Yarra Steiner School high school students self-directing and performing new modern orchestral works without a conductor, a 30-piece student recorder ensemble from the Waldorf School in Chengdu, China, two fully-produced musical theater numbers from Berlin students, all accompanied by the multi-Waldorf school orchestra and chorus, made up of over one hundred student performers.
The event was live-streamed and watched by hundreds of thousands around the world, some streaming it live into their schools, and others watching throughout the day in their offices and homes.
Nita Davanzo says of the event: "To say that this day’s events were inspirational and uplifting would be an understatement. As a witness to the performances and speakers, my heart and spirit were filled with tremendous gratitude and pride to have been given the gift of a Waldorf education, as well as still-sparking inspiration and excitement for the work that lies ahead."
Waldorf education is alive and thriving in the world. With over 1,400 Waldorf schools, kindergartens, and teacher training institutes worldwide, it is the fastest growing educational movement in the world. The celebrations in Berlin were a representation of all the Waldorf education movement has to offer students and the world, as an education of the past 100 years and for the next hundred years to come.
- Waldorf Education