Max Weber

What was your involvement at the recent World Social Forum? 

Weber: I was involved in the preparation and organization of some of the panels that the WCC was organizing or co-organizing. I also contributed as technical support, as well as in moderating a side event and drafting the statement resulting from this. 

What were your impressions of the forum?

Weber: For me, it was great to see the intersections of the many different topics. In general, at the forum, it is overwhelming how many events are taking place! And its important to have all those topics in one place—to bring issues like gender, economic, ecological, and social crises together. This is, for me, one of the biggest outcomes. For example, the panel that I moderated was not about explicitly about gender—but it was crucial to put this topic in the final statement. During the panel, one of the visitors raised her voice and emphasized how important the voice of women is – especially because its women who are not allowed to own land in her context. And that its women, at the same time, who often do jobs that involve farming and land, so it’s also them who know in a holistic way how those systems work. It showed how these topics are interlinked. The statement was signed by more than 50 organizations.

I think its enormously important and crucial that theres even a stronger engagement of churches, faith-based actors, and WCC. In a lot of panels we organized or co-organized at the World Social Forum, the WCC was visible—but its important to push even further, to increase the engagement, and to link the vital work that WCC is doing with the many people´s movements and groups worldwide. 

Its a great possibility to join forces, to work together, to collaborate, to inspire each other. The New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA), to name just one example where WCC is working on economic justice, is a framework that brings together many experts across the church landscape to work on a different system—to work for a system change. Its not possible to continue to have very few living on the backs of so many. This is part of an unjust system. We are full speed on our way into catastrophe—and catastrophe is already reality for many people on this planet. We cannot sustain this for any longer. One of the organizers of NIFEA was speaking on our panels.

How do you stay inspired with your work? 

Weber: To be honest, it is a challenge, to see how many issues are at stake at this very moment, and how many injustices we have to face. But there are a lot of people working toward justice, toward reconciliation, toward peace, and they are creating the hope and building the bridges that are needed.

How will your research fellowship inform your studies at Bossey? 

Weber: My masters thesis is related to what the WCC is doing concretely in terms of economic justice. My work is about the Economy of Life and the de-growth movement which both try to paint a different picture—not that we have to grow without end. I first began to get linked to this idea when I attended the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) 2022 in Karlsruhe. 

Im happy and grateful that I could do this fellowship. Its fantastic to be here at the WCC because its important for me to have this practical experience—to meet staff from all over the world, and to learn about the many areas where they are working toward a more just world. 

I am grateful to the Protestant Church in Germany and the German National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation (GNC/LWF) for the scholarships enabling me to be here and also for the support that I received from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg as well as the Erlöserkirche Friedrichshafen to be able to attend the World Social Forum. 

WCC collaborates with messages from World Social Forum on key justice issues (WCC news release, 28 February 2024)

Learn more about the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey