“I learned about a courage in SEKEM that is ready for risk – for everything new and uncertain. But it is also a courage that is linked to a deep trust in the importance and rightness of one’s own actions!” These words of long-time board member Waltraud Bandel fit well with the motto of this year’s SEKEM Day: “DOING the future, BEING human”. To the great joy of all around 100 participants, the SEKEM day, which normally takes place annually, could once again be held locally in Stuttgart after a two-year break.
After the public general meeting of the SEKEM Friends Germany on the morning of 2 October, lectures followed on the day’s topic by SEKEM Managing Director Helmy Abouleish and former politician and head of the Section for Social Sciences at the Goetheanum Gerald Häfner. In addition, there was an offer of various SEKEM products at the bazaar; and a Beethoven concert by the music duo Friedgard and Rudolf Gleissner rounded off the successful SEKEM day atmospherically. The committed advisory board member Dr. Martin Kilgus professionally led through this varied programme. But the secret star of this year’s SEKEM Day was Waltraud Bandel. “For over 20 years you have been the soul of the SEKEM Association. You have worked tirelessly for SEKEM, always with an exemplary ability to create balance and be fair,” Helmy Abouleish lent expression to his emotions. For Waltraud Bandel was bid farewell from the board at this year’s SEKEM Day after many years of commitment. Dr. Roland Schaette, Chairman of the Board, had further heartfelt words to say: “You can always rely on Waltraud. She was always there and active on many fronts. She has networked our association wonderfully.” Among others, the presence of Nadia vom Scheid, Head of the Department for External Relations, who bid farewell to Waltraud Bandel as representative of the City of Stuttgart, testified to this.
Courage is contagious
“I have the feeling that this courage is contagious,” said Waltraud Bandel in reference to her words mentioned at the beginning. “At least on me it had the effect of a driving force. And I also believe that many people who get to know SEKEM feel the same way.” This was evident, for example, in the reports of several young members of the association. There was the “SEKEM Youth Community”, who told about their online activities, and the dedicated advisory board member Mies Abdallah, who is setting up and overseeing the association’s expanded fundraising activities. In addition, the team from the new Cologne office gave insights into an extensive project to promote organic farming in North Africa, which is coordinated by the SEKEM Friends Germany association.
This charisma emanating from SEKEM, which is reflected among other things in the current projects of the German Friends Association, became a continuing motto of the SEKEM Day 2021. Helmy Abouleish addressed this in his presentation on the SEKEM vision goals for 2057 by explaining that SEKEM no longer wants to be a lighthouse standing isolated in the desert, but now wants to become the actual charisma with its vision for the future. This will require continued courage to do and to be human – as Waltraud Bandel has shown in the past decades in the warmest and most deeply connected way. Her radiance will certainly shine among the SEKEM Friends Association for a long time to come, even though she will now retire in her role as a board member.