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SEKEM Spring Festival 2018: A 40-Year Look Back, A 40-Year Look Ahead
Thinking of the coming 40 years
With a blend of nostalgia and looking ahead, SEKEM held its annual Spring Festival last week. At the open theater, the whole SEKEM Community celebrated spring in the commemoration of the birthday of its founder, Ibrahim Abouleish.
Nostalgic yet epochal
For the first time, next to SEKEMs CEO Helmy Abouleish, the festival program was co-presented by two from SEKEMs younger generation: Sarah Abouleish and Rene Floride. The two young SEKEM co-workers received a great applause from the audience. Next to SEKEM employees, students and pupils, a lot of SEKEM friends and partners came from near and far to attend the annual tradition.
“33 years ago, my father came to Egypt to meet his ‘crazy’ Egyptian counterpart,” Maren Walter, daughter of Ulrich Walter, Lebensbaum Founder
Among the audience was Maren Walter, the daughter of Ulrich Walter, founder of SEKEM’s long-standing partner Lebensbaum, Ulrich Walter. On behalf of her father, the German lady attended the event and was welcomed on stage: “When my father heard about Ibrahim Abouleish he decided to go to Egypt to meet his ‘crazy’ Egyptian counterpart. This is how their long journey started.”
Same as Ibrahim Abouleish, once Ulrich Walter was also called crazy for his interest in founding a company based on Organic farming – as Maren told. Lebensbaum has been a reliable partner to SEKEM for more than 30 years. The company mainly buys herbs and spices from SEKEM and distributes them in Germany. Besides, Lebensbaum is the biggest sponsor of SEKEMs recently opened venue, the Space of Culture.
Next to Maren Walter, the SEKEM community welcomed other reliable friends such as the Egyptology expert Dr. Bruno Sandkühler from Germany, Prof. Dr. Marcelo da Veiga, founding president of Alanus University and member of the supervisory board of Heliopolis University, Dr. Hermann Becke, head of the SEKEM Friends Association in Austria, and Dr. Hans Werner, co-founder and honorary chairman of the SEKEM Friends Germany and many more.
Arts and music: SEKEMs everlasting tradition
Also the Swiss artist, Masha Dimitri attended the celebration. With her unique smile, she presented an amazing acrobatic show.
Impressive as well was the musical contribution by Andreas Kalbhenn. The long-standing German co-worker sang a wonderful song in Egyptian-Arabic with his likable accent that was written especially for Egypt and SEKEM. On famous Lebanese tunes, Andreas performed it passionately. He is already known among the SEKEM employees by his great love to Egypt and the Egyptians.
Inspired by the Morning Speech
“To wonder at the beauty, Stand guard over truth, Look up to the noble, Resolve on the good. This leadeth us truly To purpose in living, To right in our doing: goodness of heart, To peace in our feeling: human love, To light in our thinking: Light of the trust. And teaches us trust, In the working of God, In all that there is, in the width of the world, In the depth of the soul.” Morning Speech, written by Rudolf Steiner
In short theater sequences, the youngsters from SEKEM School, the Community School, and the Special Education Program metaphorized the words brilliantly on stage. Then all audience stood up together by the end of the festival and hand in hand they spoke the Morning Speech as they do every day before starting their work.
“We should also be crazy when thinking of the coming 40 years.” Helmy Abouleish
Helmy Abouleish concluded the festival by an invitation to the whole SEKEM community – an invitation to reflect and to look into the future. “Together, we could create more sustainable communities in the desert. That was the vision of my father. Like him and like Ulrich Walter, we should also be crazy when we think of our vision for the coming 40 years.”