Great SEKEM Anniversary Celebration in Stuttgart

The SEKEM Day in Stuttgart, which is regularly organized by the SEKEM Friends Association Germany, was strongly influenced by the two great anniversaries of this year: 40 years of SEKEM and 80 years of Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish. Accordingly, the whole program was solemn and comprehensive.

The theme day was opened on May 6 with a public members’ meeting by the SEKEM Friends Germany. After a piano performance by the young pianist Sophia Weidemann, the Chairman of the Board Dr. Roland Schaette reported on the activities that took place last year in cooperation with the SEKEM Initiative. And there were quite a few. Whether a visit of the Freie Hochschule Stuttgart, the transport of an entire metal workshop from Stuttgart to Cairo or the school partnership with the Silberwaldschule Stuttgart – the SEKEM Friends Germany showed that they are continuously supporting SEKEM with great commitment.

40 years SEKEM – what’s next?

“The SEKEM Day intents to be a meeting day on the one hand. On the other hand, information should be given that are connected to topics of worldwide relevance”, explains Waltraud Bandel, a member of the SEKEM Friends Board of Directors. And this happened in the course of the afternoon. Within the framework of lectures, talks or artistic performances, the SEKEM impulse and its connections to current events in the world was considered into detail. Hence, for instance, students of the Freie Hochschule Stuttgart presented a presentation on current challenges and how the planned “House of Cultures” in SEKEM can contribute to a holistic progress.

Students of Freie Hochschule Stuttgart presenting an artistic performance about the “House of Cultures”.

The “House of Cultures” is just one of the projects that show that the SEKEM Initiative is constantly growing and creating new impulses – even after 40 years. SEKEMs CEO Helmy Abouleish, who attended the celebration in Stuttgart on behalf of his father Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, reported on future developments. In a lively lecture, he made clear that the SEKEM organism is a daily development model that has no ultimate goal, but is constantly challenged in a continuous process. “We start every day new, question old patterns and try to create innovative oppotunities for tomorrow out of the burdens of today”, says Abouleish. This also became clear when he explained how SEKEM has been actively working for 40 years already on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that had been published by the United Nations last year to promote sustainable development on an economic, social and environmental basis worldwide. Abouleish also stressed on the importance of the international network that supports SEKEM for 40 years and in which the SEKEM Friends Germany take an important part.

Solemn and heart-warming Congratulations

With official congratulations and a solemn reception, the well-attended SEKEM Day faded away. The musician couple Gleissner, longstanding friends of SEKEM, dedicated together with three other musicians, the Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert to Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish. Werner Wölfle, mayor of the city Stuttgart congratulated Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish on his 80th birthday and on 40 years of SEKEM Initiative. And, on behalf of Stuttgart`s State Secretary Klaus-Peter Murawski, Dr. Simone Höckele-Häfner, Head of the Department for Development Cooperation, gave a laudatory speech. It has always been emphasized how important a creation such as SEKEM is today, also in Europe as a role model. This showed once again how the SEKEM Initiative and the SEKEM Friends are complementary and mutually reinforcing. “Looking at world questions, always from the point of view, what does SEKEM contribute to this and what can each of us contribute to it,” Waltraud Bandel phrases the idea behind the SEKEM friendship. And this was, surely, a thought-inspiration which the visitors of the solemn SEKEM Day took home with them.

Watch the inspiring keynote by Helmy Abouleish: “40 Years SEKEM – What’s Next” (only available in German language)

Christine Arlt

Read about the SEKEM Day 2016
Klaus-Peter Murawski honoured Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish with the “Staufermedaille” in 2015
Read about the fundraising for the Core Program of Heliopolis University for building the "House of Cultures"