Orientation Course

The Orientation Course


"It is imperative to make people develop for themselves that which they develop. Having into being. Recognizing a person and their abilities also implies having the ability to be leisurely creative, and to be at leisure is not merely to consume but to be able to perceive the world we live in: intellectually, emotionally and artistically. Creative, intelligent, interesting, emotional, artistic people, whatever their abilities, will always be content with themselves."
Prof. Dr. Iring Fetscher


Phase One, I:
How the Individual Prepares, Retreating to One's Inner Self

The initial stage of phase one is all about communing with oneself, about letting go and emptying oneself. This will help to sharpen one's own perception and to encourage dialogue "with oneself". Several courses, e.g. on meditation, are available to provide additional support.
Starting point for this phase is the individual, their very specific circumstances and possibilities.


  • letting go, gaining distance
  • becoming open for the new
  • becoming sensitive to one's own needs
  • listening to one's inner call
  • becoming aware of "oneself"

The duration of this preparatory phase very much depends on the needs of the individual. It is considered a preliminary step for the orientation course and is not linked to the timeframe provided for the phases which are to follow. Sometimes, individuals have already recognized their vocation in which case the preparatory phase is not necessary.

"However, to find one's profession one needs to hear and understand the inner call for it. It is a skill that can be taught, a skill the young ones should be made sensitive to early on in life. For those who have a profession they were called for not only feel needed but actually are needed too."
Dr. Rüdiger Dahlke

Phase One, II:
Becoming Aware of Oneself and Developing One's Own Creativity

During the second step of phase one, emphasis is placed not only on dialogue with "oneself" but above all on dialogue with others ("one's opposite" or "you" ), the immediate environment, with teachers and coaches. Individuals are encouraged to integrate themselves truly and fully into the group dialogue. They experience themselves as part of the group and are given feedback to their contributions. They learn to see things in their context, to better understand them just as they will better understand themselves and the points of view of others. By recognizing themselves in their opposites - looking into the mirror as it were - individuals can find out whether and how they will integrate into their future working environment.

Getting to know oneself means being confronted by one's own being and personality, one's individual potential, one's skills and talents, but also one's weaknesses and fears. The objective of this phase is to make individuals aware of all their possibilities and to help them find the right direction in life. There are many forms of creativity from which to choose (e.g. theatre, dance, music, books, creative writing and painting, experimenting with language) to experience and express oneself in a variety of different ways.

The individual is more than the sum total of past events. Yet it helps to deal with one's past to understand "who I am and which part of my environment has influenced/is influencing me most."

Individuals are called upon to see, hear and sense for themselves, to decide for themselves how they want to deal with outside influences in the future. Obstacles are challenges too for they bear many opportunities in them.

The orientation course is open to people of all ages and thus becomes a place of contact for different generations. By engaging in dialogue with each other participants become aware of what makes each one of them individual and unique but also of what all of them have in common. Thus they learn how to complement each other creatively to form a meaningful whole.
International networks are established to unite people from different countries with different religious and cultural background. One of the main objectives of the orientation course in this context is to support inter-cultural understanding and mutual tolerance.

Becoming aware of oneself

  • recognizing one's vocation and vision of life
  • rediscovering one's pote
  • being able to engage in dialogue, being careful and open
  • being truthful to oneself and to others
  • becoming aware of one's own creativity and developing one's own style of expression
  • linking knowledge and intuition with action (social, team-oriented and tolerant)
  • becoming sensitive to one's own needs as well as those of others, trusting oneself, showing courage and love
  • developing the necessary clarity of vision and farsightedness
  • judging one's powers/passive and active ones
  • showing responsibility: assuming responsibility for one's actions and omission of actions

Once individuals have recognized their vocation they are assisted in developing different options and in finding a suitable place for practical training.

Duration of first phase
3 - 4 weeks, depending on individual needs and/or requirements


Phase Two:
Practical Training and Emphasis on Subject Matter

"Society at the turn of the millennium is characterized by a general search for the meaning of life. Work is an integral part of that life. We cannot really escape the trends of our time and we live in a time where employers want to see their employees as partners and where employees expect their employers to recognize their worth as individuals."
Sir Sigmund Sternberg

"If you work without love, leave your work,
go to the temple and beg for alms from those who work with love."

Khalil Gibran


At the end of phase one of the orientation course individuals decide on a subject matter and thus choose the practical training offered by the partners in the international network.

During practical training, individuals are given the opportunity to inform themselves on the subject matter they have chosen and to recognize how their potential might be of use in the context. Enterprises/institutions get to know potential future staff who due to their willingness to be responsible for themselves and their social competencies will demonstrate skills which are not taught at schools or universities.

During practical training, individuals may call upon professional coaches (from the Society of Founders of the International Peace University network) to help them reflect on their immediate job environment and to develop new, efficient strategies as a team. Companies/institutions, etc. should appoint contact persons (mentors) to answer questions and provide feedback.

At the end of phase two individuals are given the task to write a paper. The paper is to contain theoretical and practical findings and to show up how individuals think they can put their vocation into practice in a real working environment.

Practical training in a company/institution is to be without payment.


  • gain insight into chosen subject matter
  • learn about different ways of implementation, to recognize the link between theory and practice
  • experience themselves in their immediate working environment
  • assume responsibility for themselves, for their actions and/or omission of actions, for their workplace, for their actions in the world outside
Partners in the network (companies/institutions, NGO's, etc.)
  • get to know potential future staff as well as their potentials
  • give potential staff the opportunity to acquire innovative/creative competencies as they learn to
    • consciously assume responsibility
    • know and understand people of different ages with different cultural background
    • know different creative methods and thus awaken their interest and inventiveness
    • develop their own ability to work in a team and engage in dialogue, knowing that real dialogue needs to be clear, fair, sensitive, open and honest
    • widen their horizon and become more flexible and mobile
    • undertake steps to fulfil their vocation - consequently, they are highly motivated
    • be conscious of the environment
    • understand how sustainable development works
    • recognize that life is a continuous learning process
    • see how everything is connected, showing a keen interest in common growth and success
    • see how diversity and differences open up new opportunities and chances

Duration of second phase
2 months minimum, depending on subject matter


Phase Three:
Reflection and Further Development

The orientation course is concluded by a one-week reflection phase. Questions asked are how individuals were able to contribute their potential, whether in dialogue with themselves, their peers or their superiors. Do they lack the ability to put their vocation into practice?

Individuals are given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences with the group, with colleagues, teachers or professional coaches and to prepare a clear training and job strategy. The goals defined in part one are compared to actual experiences to develop specific steps for future action.


  • practicing self reflection, automatic and repeated questioning of one's own truthfulness and expression, an ongoing learning process
  • taking delight in life-long learning and development
  • assuming responsibility
  • "Helping to help yourself"
  • being a model for others


"The way of strength is through your heart. Those who live for their duties radiate wholeheartedness and enthusiasm. They know why they live in this world and how they would like to change it."
Erich Fromm


As long as we live we will not stop looking for our identity.

With this in mind the Society of Founders of the International Peace University will offer additional seminars, courses and workshops to build on the foundations of the orientation course. Overriding principle will always be "helping to help yourself."

Duration of third phase
Reflection: 1 week; Follow-up courses: in accordance with individual needs and requirements


Fees for the orientation course

The Society of Founders of the International Peace University will make every effort to keep fees for the orientation course to a minimum. They will be determined in cooperation with the partners in the network.


The Society of Founders of the International Peace University will provide grants to enable those in financial difficulties to also participate in the orientation course. One way of financing such grants is to ask partners in the network for support.