Inclusion is a matter of the heart!

Inclusion is a matter of the heart!

About the inclusive congress “Moving Borders” from 15. to 18.06.2022 at the Volkshaus Zurich (Switzerland)

“Living in the Encounter” has been a European inclusive congress format since 1998, held in Berlin, Dornach, The Hague, Prague, Brussels, Vienna and Belgrade with the initiative of Thomas Kraus.

Following on from this, an inclusive organizational team around 

  • the Swiss Association for Anthroposophical Curative Education and Social Therapy (vahs) with Matthias Spalinger, 
  • the Zurich Eingliederung with Udo Pfeil, 
  • Domenig Gaegauf and Matthias Buchmann,
  • a course of students from the HFHS in Dornach and
  • students of the Waldorf School Wetzikon

together with more than 500 people from 12 European countries looked at the topic of “moving borders­” – expanding, shifting, overcoming – from many perspectives. It couldn’t be more topical and fitting!

What are the boundaries that move us and that we move? 

Boundaries are…

  • geographically spatial – which can be life-threatening in the event of conflict and war, and great joy when traveling,
  • emotional – which are traumatizing when transgressed and can also ignite our passion, 
  • physical – that can hurt us and also create euphoria,
  • temporal – which can make us hectic and breathless and also lead to deep relaxation and
  • structural – that can constrain us and provide security.

What would happen if we had no borders? 

One of many questions that were explored in 23 working groups: researching, playing, dancing, painting, singing, discussing.

To recognize and cross boundaries, we need mindfulness and patience and “no freaking out” (quote from a participant). Sometimes the step across the border happens quietly and silently. And it certainly works better if we support each other in empathizing and treating each other with respect.

Because “there is no standard for being human” (quote Andrea Kron-Petrovic) and therefore also no generally valid assessment at which moment I experience my limit. We were encouraged to try again and again to expand our limits and to draw confidence, strength and trust from this – “pleasure and joy in experiencing a limit” (quote Walter Beutler).

With fine food, in the working groups, during excursions and a boat trip across Lake Zurich, panel discussions, a poetry reading with texts by Johanna Maria Ott, an inclusive dance project (, with Romanian folk music by Elena Sima & friends and the band ‘Los Inkludios’ at the closing party, we got to know each other and celebrated with joy! 

We have been “nourished” (quote Domenig Gaegauf) and got confidence to go new ways. Moreover, the congress is “a spiritual fact that can never be erased” (the same) and that can carry us all together into our future – when we are back home again!

It was a well-rounded event – and a golden ball was symbolically presented in thanks for the statement: “Inclusion is a matter of the heart” (quote Andrea Kron-Petrovic).

Sonja Zausch, member of the leadership team of the Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development at the Goetheanum