Marie Wilpers

In October 2019 twenty-two educators, change-makers and activists from 17 different countries from all over the world came together in Germany to embark on an 8-month-long learning journey with the interest and aim of tackling the root causes of global crises through education. They were all keen to make their educational work more transformative, empowering and emancipatory. 


"It was a rare opportunity to connect with people in a an authentic and nourishing way - having our souls and spirits nourished with adventures in nature and stimulating conversations. I feel part of a community now - one that will continue to inspire me, knowing that out there under the stars some beautiful beings are working for change in their different settings" 

The Journey was based on the principle of experiential learning through reflected action. It was comprised of physical workshops and webinars, as well as online mentoring, individual research, and an action experiment conducted by the participants in their own working context. It created spaces for participants to reflect upon their own educational practice and underpinning theories of change. By learning from a diverse group of peers and through reflected action participants were invited to move towards a more meaningful and transformative practice – on a personal, organisation and societal level. The journey itself seeked to offer participants a transformative learning experience, by applying holistic, multi-sensual and interactive methodologies and creating immersions into different knowledge and learning systems. We worked e.g. with storytelling, arts, theatre and embodied exercises and left the comfort zone of what we know as conventional Global Citizenship Education. 


The global COVID-19 pandemic happened in the midst of the course. While it affected everyone differently, it still played a key role in most participant’s personal and professional daily life.  Through a series of support calls, new questions that arose were addressed and discussed. It became clear that the Corona crisis is a catalyst for many things – for us to realise what is actually important to us, how solidarity is put into practice, how learning in crisis can provoke societal change – but also how a crisis can be instrumentalized for political interests. 

After having completed this journey, we envision participants to have an increased ability to be stronger leaders of systemic change in their own organisations, networks and social contexts, and to unfold the transformative and empowering potential of their educational practice. We are thankful for each and every one of the “travellers” who joined the journey and contributed to the individual and collective learning process. 

We thank Tereza Čajková and Rene Suša for having facilitated the Learning Journey. Their knowledge, experience and commitment made it to what it meant to most participants: a truly transformative learning experience. 


One of the participants, Ira Vihreälehto, reflects on her experiences in this blog post

Carminda Mac Lorin, who also participated in the TLJ, even wrote a song about the journey. 

You can listen to the song here while reading the lyrics below.   

Transformative Learning Journey 

By Carminda Mac Lorin 

How could I imagine that 
I would find whispering 
My past, our present and their future? 
You invited us to walk 
Along all those magic trees, 
Learning from that secret wisdom 
That Filip brought with him. 
Transformating what we see 
Learning from what's beneath our feet. 
Dreaming how the world would be 
Beyond the house of modernity. 
How could I imagine that 
Along that elephant parade 
I would find whispering 
What I need to build spaces 
Open to plurality. 
Now I know that with you 
I rediscovered the world. 
Transformating what I see 
Learning from what's beneath my feet. 
Dreaming how the world would be 
Beyond the house of modernity. 
(I will) keep going through this Transformative Learning 
Journey, we will keep building the road. 
I commit to Global Citizenship Education 
Building peace and hope in the world.



About the Author

Marie Wilpers

Position: National Officer - Germany
Phone number: +49 30 263929917

Marie is the national officer of VENRO, based in Germany. She is a member of the Innovation Team and coordinates the Transformative Learning Journey.