About Us

[[en]]Central to the work of evolve World is dialogue.[[de]]Im Mittelpunkt der Arbeit von evolve World steht der Dialog.

Who We Are

What are the core capacities that we need to develop in order to create a thriving, life-giving society? What do we need to understand; what knowledge must we seek? How do we need to transform our relationships to ourselves, each other, and the more-than-human world? These are questions that animate the work of evolve World and the hearts of the team committed to this work.

Central to the work of evolve World is dialogue. Our aim is to bring into dialogue those pioneers who are contributing to a new future potential, whether in philosophy, technology, politics, spirituality, psychology, economics, or art. We do this through evolve Magazine, live events, and conferences. Through salons, live in communities and online, the dialogue continues as impulses into the broader culture that provoke new thinking and inspire new projects embued with a dialogical spirit.

Through the practice of emergent dialogue, which we teach and attempt to live by, we are pioneering a transindividual cultural potential that opens human beings to a new co-creative capacity. This co-creative capacity comes to life between individuals when they are awake to the depth of wholeness and compelled by the creative potential of diversity. By developing this capacity, we aim to creatively resolve the polarity of unity and diversity in a synthesis that grounds a new consciousness and culture. Through our programs, practices, events, media, and retreats, we invite transformation-seeking individuals to join in developing the frontiers and potentials of this new culture of emergence as it unfolds between us.

evolve World lives only through the aliveness of the engagement of its participants: through ongoing co-conscious creative dialogue, bound together in the depth of meditation. We see ourselves as part of a movement of people who are compelled to revitalize the sacredness of life and to meet the complexity of today’s challenges through their personal development, perspective on the world, and creative participation in a new culture of conscious dialogue.

Our Story

Each of us came to this work through different life paths. Some were activists who tried to bring more equality and justice into the world. Others wanted to bring Spirit into the world beyond the meditation cushion, the monastery or the deep experience of a retreat. Others were compelled to find new ways of living together and working together. And still others followed a powerful inner call for freedom and deep connection with life. Our paths first intersected in an international spiritual community led by Andrew Cohen.

We then created emerge bewusstseinskultur e.V., as a charitable education association, which is still the legal entity that holds the work of evolve World. Through the generosity of a donor, in 2014, we were able to start evolve Magazin, a German language, publishing the first issue. In 2015, we started a “spirituelle Weggemeinschaft” (meaning: “spiritual path fellowship”) for those who wanted this consciousness work to become a shared life project with a deep spiritual foundation. Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold continued to develop the HigherWe as a practice of dialogue, called emergent dialogue, which they see as a cultural practice that brings sacredness alive in the most basic human exchange–speaking together.

The origin of what we call the HigherWe came from this time. We were all deeply inspired by the realization of what is possible through cultivating a conscious “We-Space.” We are grateful for all that we learned there, from light to shadow. So many people, our spiritual brothers and sisters, gave so much of their hearts and souls to what was an awakening of the collective field. In 2013, when Cohen went on a sabbatical to address issues of integrity in relation to his teaching and the community collapsed, the group of his students in the German-speaking countries, led by Thomas Steininger, who had been teaching this “We” practice, resolved to continue and the depth and the potential that we had experienced together in new ways, outside any guru-context.

evolve World thrives on the aliveness of the intersubjective field of the HigherWe, a field that builds as we simultaneously develop both trust in one another and our trustworthiness. What continues to give us strength and inspiration is the potential of this vibrant, creative consciousness field that we can cultivate together and that gives our work both depth and relevance to a fragmented world.

The Vision Team & the Leadership Team

The task of the Vision Team is to ongoingly bring the vision and the concrete work of our organization in sync. Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold are responsible for creating this function, which we sometimes refer to as being “architects of consciousness.”

They work to ensure that the conditions for creative dialogue and a vibrant HigherWe culture flower within the different dimensions of evolve World.

The leadership team  consists of four members who together are responsible for the health and growth of the association (“Verein”) and simultaneously bear responsibility for specific areas:

Thomas headshot

Thomas Steininger


Elizabeth Debold


Marlene Potthoff


Maria Zacherl


Working Principles

We hold the responsibility for the management of the organization and, at the same time, our work together provides an opportunity to practice our common vision: to create a new culture of co-creative working together. Therefore, we use these seven design principles to guide our leadership and create our organizational culture:

1. We use “dynamic steering” that is aligned with development, working with the information at hand and the situation at the moment.

5. We use emergent dialogue to support transparent, co-creative communication.

6. We make decisions by taking into account the principle of natural hierarchy (in which we recognize and acknowledge the different levels of experience, knowledge or skills of the people involved, and which we ongoingly reconsider afresh) through the distribution of responsibility and functional authority.

2. We are self-responsible; each of us develops his/her area of work autonomously.

3. We proactively address situations that the actors involved have questions about.

4. We understand our leadership culture as a process, in which we hold open the space of potential between us and seek to cultivate the presence of shared aliveness, so that we can develop a creative and productive work context.

7. We meet regularly and include spiritual practice in our meetings.


Cooperation with other like-minded organizations and people is a very important part of evolve World. We partner with others in many ways, from co-creating events or seminars to coordinating the editorial themes of evolve Magazine in support of initiatives developed by other organizations or as media partners. Our partners tend to be progressive and philosophically post-secular organizations that understand the role of consciousness in addressing today’s problems. We have recently been working with the Emerge Network, helping to found Co-Creating Europe, and providing media support for Integral Europe and LifeVERDE. Below are key partnerships that we have sustained for many years.

Die Integrale Akademie (DIA)
The Integral Academy DIA offers the German-speaking countries events relating to all areas of integral thought and practice from short evening lectures to several years training. DIA hopes to catalyze the European integral potential that is, as yet, still largely untapped. The Academy aims to introduce and promote integral perspectives, qualify members and other interested parties through ongoing training, developing new forms of integral pedagogy and placement, and overall make an important contribution to society through their services.

Meridian University
Meridian is a small graduate school in California, US that focuses on psychology and education. Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold teach about practices of collective emergence in the Leadership & Social Transformation section of their Doctor of Education program. Meridian conducts programs and symposiums in Germany (Berlin) in collaboration with evolve Magazin.

The Herbstakademie Frankfurt (HAK)
Since 2006, we have been part of the “Autumn Academy Frankfurt,” whose special feature is that it has been developed through the partnership of three different spiritual/philosophical approaches. Through the common interest of anthroposophists (Jens Heisterkamp of Info3), representatives of the integral approach (Sonja Student of The Integral Academy), and Thomas Steininger of evolve World, combined with other streams of philosophical thought and spiritual insight, the purpose of HAK is to engage in a dialogical exchange by bringing together those who want to develop a world-embracing spirituality. The ongoing work of the HAK and the individual contributions of its members are more broadly and ongoingly shared by participating media: Info3, evolve, Integral Perspectiven, and Radio evolve.
More information:

Villa Unspunnen
Villa Unspunnen provides space for contemplation and silence, for trans-religious dialogue, solidarity, and active learning. Its seminars focus on the development of humanity and the connection between human beings and the actual Source of All. Annette Kaiser, spiritual teacher in the lineage of Irina Tweedie, is spiritual director of the Villa Unspunnen, which is located in Switzerland. She is the author of several spiritual books and has developed the “The Practice Path of DO.” Since the 1990s, she has presided over the association “Open Hands,” which supports projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Annette Kaiser is involved creatively to bring about the realization of the vision of a Universal Spirituality of ONE World — ONE humanity — ONE awareness — local/global.