About us

What we do

The Section for the Social Sciences

The Section for the Social Sciences is based at the Goetheanum in Dornach. But its work takes place worldwide - through its members, staff and interested individuals as well as through regional or thematic groups that support the work of the Section worldwide through their research and initiatives.


The Section for Social Sciences is concerned with human relationships in the three spheres of social life: economy, politics and culture. Our fields of work are: poverty reduction, companies with purpose, counselling, emergency education, ethical banking, fair commerce and environmental projects among others.

Our network consists of active people, projects, initiatives and institutions from different fields of work. The synergy among them is a key aspect, making the interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach a fundamental aspect of our work.

We work for the future of human dignity, in this sense we support the aims of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.


The School of Spiritual Science

The School of Spiritual Science is responsible for research in the spiritual field, for stimulating and dealing with practical questions and for continuing education in anthroposophically oriented fields of work. Today the school is divided into one general anthroposophical section and ten specialist sections. The work is based on the course in the humanities held by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 for the members of the university as part of their first class. The Goetheanum is the headquarters and coordination centre and its work takes place worldwide in the contexts in which members of the school of spiritual science are active.


Our Team

Gerald Häfner

Section Leader

Gerald Häfner has been Head of the Social Sciences Section at the Goetheanum since June 2016.

A former Waldorf teacher and journalist, Gerald Häfner is the founder of numerous initiatives and foundations, including, for example, ‘More Democracy’ and ‘Democracy International’. He also co-founded the German political party ‘Alliance 90/The Greens’, and was there State Party Leader and business director. Between 1987 and 2002, he was a member of the German Federal Parliament and, from 2009 to 2014, a member of the European Parliament.

Ariane Totzke

Communication and Office Manager

Ariane was born in Wuppertal and studied german philology and philosophy. Following her studies in Bochum and Trier, she worked for over 10 years at different universities in the field of cultural studies.

Within the framework of research projects at the ETH Zurich and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), she has published numerous scientific studies.

For the Social Sciences Section, she leads the office and manages the conferences and workshops together with Gerald Häfner and Andrea Valdinoci. Communication and advertising are also part of her work.

On the side, she offers professional photography as well as social media training.


+49 172 2750638

Andrea Valdinoci

Projekt Manager

Andrea was born in Rome, Italy. He worked as a social banker for the alternative Bank GLS Gemeinschaftsbank and the GLS Treuhand in Bochum, Germany.

Afterwards he became a Trustee of the Neuguss Holding in Berlin, which supports entrepreneurs in succession planning, inspired by the idea that companies should not be sold but find out the proper structure to realise their identity. Since 2020 he started to work for the World Goetheanum Association and he took on project management activities for the Social Sciences Section at the Goetheanum.

Support us


Together, with united forces, the Social Sciences Section can fulfil its tasks. The Section is happy to receive help from people. How exactly a cooperation can look like is to be discussed personally.
Please feel free to send us an email:



The work of the Section costs money, which is used for salaries, rent, lecture tours, events, working tools and other things. In order to sustainably build up the Section and strengthen its staff, financial support is needed. We are very grateful if you share our view and would like to support us financially.




Sektion für Sozialwissenschaften
4143 Dornach

Tel. +41 61 706 43 24

Email sektion.sozialwissenschaften@goetheanum.ch