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Global Social Witnessing – Foundations

Course Description:


Many caring, committed individuals wonder how to respond to global events that seem out of control. Social activists, health professionals, leaders, and healers from every work of life are emotionally overwhelmed and with no effective way to respond and make a difference. They yearn to be able to respond, to gain the possibility of finding some restoration to conflict, suffering, and injustice around the world.

Global Social Witnessing (GSW) is an essential new social technology that offers a way to restore possibility. First introduced by Thomas Hübl in 2017, it is about developing the human capacity to mindfully attend to global events with an embodied awareness, creating an inner world space mirroring these events. In doing so we increase our ability to respond, and more effective healing and peace-building become possible.

“Global Social Witnessing begins with each individual. It is the ability to relate to processes, incidents, and situations that happen in our culture. But in order to relate to myself, I need to have the ability to adequately map my outside into my inside … When I can create a physical, emotional, and mental representation of (outer) events within myself can I really relate to them. This relationship, in turn, allows me to come to an appropriate (not reactive), creative action.” (Thomas Hübl)
The purpose of the course is to grow the capacity and understanding of GSW and its application in our lives and the world.


This course consists of four parts:

Introduction (Week 1)

In this module, you will review the structure of this master program and how all of the courses and modules are interrelated with each other. A video lecture by Thomas Hübl will present you with the high, deep, and wide range of GSW – from contemplation, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and art.

GSW Practice in Live-webinar (Weeks 2 – 7) on September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12 and 26, 2021 from 8:00 PM to 10 PM in CEST. Zoom links can be found in the lessons titled “Video.”

This section is presented in a series of live online webinars and attendance is required. We will provide an experiential learning environment for Global Social Witnessing in this group setting. Students will be introduced to key practice tools and principles of GSW such as transparent communication, meditation, presencing, attunement, and group coherence. Additionally, in the live facilitated sessions students will participate in a GSW practice in a we-space by focusing on a current event in the world while applying the tools and principles they have learned. Facilitators and students will dialog and reflect on personal and collective insights of the GSW we-space experience. The goal of this section is to integrate GSW as an embodied practice and to expand students´ awareness necessary to be and become agents of change in the world.

GSW and Philosophy (Weeks 8 – 11)

This part will provide a space where diverse perspectives from artists and philosophers will inspire you to better understand GSW as an embodied phenomenon. There are many philosophical insights that can help us frame the witnessing and communication process. We have chosen seven philosophers which we think can help us: William James, Kitaro Nishida, Karl Popper, Emmanuel Levinas, and Michael Bakhtin. In each session, we will focus on one of their key philosophical concepts which will be presented by our communication scientists, followed by some reflective questions in the context of GSW. In this way, we hope to deepen our understanding of GSW.

GSW and Social Science (Weeks 12 – 15)

This module will provide an introduction and background information on Global Social Witnessing (GSW) from the perspective of the recently emerging scientific field of generative social field studies. Furthermore, core concepts and methods of Hartmut Rosa Resonance Theory as well as from Theory U by Dr. Otto Scharmer will provide a helpful framework to deepen the understanding of GSW. In addition, the interplay of phenomenological as well as systemic perspectives within GSW is examined. The main aim of this module will be to enable you to reflect and act from an awareness-based action-research perspective in relation to GSW.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Possess increased capacity to be aware of their physical, emotional, and mental responses to world events (Witnessing Consciousness)
  • Possess increased capacity to relate to world events from a deepening sense of compassion and presence, opening new impulses and possibilities for responding more effectively (Global Citizenship Capacity)
  • Possess increased familiarity with the dynamics and creative possibilities resulting from group coherence in a “We” Space (Facilitation Capacity)
  • Possess an increased understanding of generative social field theory to reflect on the practice of Global Social Witnessing (Transformative Science)
  • Possess an increased ability to analyze through a sociological perspective Global Social Witnessing (Awareness-based Action Research)
  • Possess an increased ability to conducted micro phenomenological observations in the context of Global Social Witnessing (Vertical Literacy)
  • Possess an increased ability to hold artistic, scientific, and philosophical perspectives in the context of Global Social Witnessing (Transdisciplinary Competency)
  • Possess an increased philosophical and artistic understanding of theories and concepts around witnessing (Communication Capacity)
  • Possess an increased ability to embody Global Social Witnessing as an art informed practice (Creative Competence)


Kazuma Matoba, PhD – Kazuma was born in Kobe/Japan and studied Linguistics and International Politics at Sophia University in Tokyo. After his PhD study in Germany, he has taught and researched at several Universities in Japan and Germany. Since 2018 he has been Professor for intercultural education at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. He is co-founder of the Institute for Global Integral Competence (www.ifgic.org), managing director of the Academy of Inner Science Graduate Program, and Master of Arts in Inner Science at Ubiquity University. One of his research topics is “Global Social Witnessing” and leading a research project (www.globalsocialwitnessing.org).

Christine Gerike – Christine, born and raised in Germany, lives with her family near New York City since 2015. She holds an M.A. in American Studies, Economics, and Political Science from the University of Münster, Germany. Christine is a trained manager of non-profit educational organizations and has worked as a transformational coach and facilitator since 2011. She is a graduate of the yearlong Pocket Project training in 2017/18; she initiated the first Global Social Witnessing (GSW) online practice in 2017 and has facilitated monthly group calls on a broad variety of world-related topics since. Christine co-founded the GSW Competence Center in 2019, which is dedicated to expanding the practice and understanding of GSW in and for the world.

Manda Johnson – Manda was born in London, England, and emigrated to New Zealand 36 years ago. Originally training in Acupuncture and Hypnotherapy, she has a BA Performing and Screen Arts, Contemporary Dance major. She has extensive post-graduate training in group work methods of J.L Moreno, as well as being a registered Shin Somatics therapist and educator. With a passion for individual and community development she currently facilitates groups of businesspeople and organizational leaders for Collective Intelligence New Zealand. A graduate of the Pocket Project Restoration of Collective and Intergenerational Trauma training 2017/18, Manda co-founded the GSW Competence Center in 2019.

Robert Buxbaum – Robert is co-founder of the Pocket Project’s Global Social Witnessing Competence Center and has worked to develop and refine GSW practice since 2017. He also co-created and co-teaches Witnessing the World in Me/And Me in the World, a webinar series on GSW Principles and Practice. Robert is a certified coach, social activist, and former executive leader of large-scale public and private organizations. He is a senior student and graduate of Thomas’ Hübl’s Timeless Wisdom and Pocket Project training, a member of Thomas’ Core Group, and facilitates groups and workshops.

Steve Holmes – Steve Holmes is a retired professor and trainer for intercultural communication. In his retirement, he has found the time to critique and improve intercultural communication theory and practice. He grew up in Oregon USA but has lived in Germany since 1971. He loves American Pragmatism and Sports, therefore, embodiment.

Wouter Extercatte – Wouter Extercatte is a researcher in the field of activism and cultural change. He received a Master of Arts at the University of Amsterdam with a focus on Russian literature and cultural theory. After working some years in the field of sustainability transitions for a classical NGO he became more and more engaged in new forms of grassroots activism and transition initiatives. His interest in the topics of civic impact and transformative bottom-up innovation has since then led him to engage with many ideas and people and to develop further his own ideas on fundamental societal change.

Lukas Herrmann – Lukas Herrmann facilitates awareness-based transformation for organizations, relationships, and individuals. He is a trained family therapist, psychologist, and practices awareness-based action research. His work focuses on the inner, inter, and outer domains of change to foster a triple flourishing – individual growth, relational depth, and systems evolution. In his PhD, Lukas inquires into the co-creation of generative social fields in schools by growing relational competence and mindfulness. As a Compassionate Systems Master Practitioner, he collaborates with Peter Senge, MIT, to transform education systems. This includes a passion to promote Global Social Witnessing – awakening to our response-ability with respect to our shared global challenges and activating our deepest sources of intelligence and aliveness in service of a larger whole. His current project: www.empathie-macht-schule.de (German). Lukas can be reached via lukas.herrmann@uni-wh.de

Adrian Wagner – Adrian Wagner, Doctoral candidate of Thomas Hübel’s AIS Graduate Program, Transformative Leadership Facilitator at Teal Wave Consulting, and Co-Founder of the Black Forest School of Metamodernism. In his dissertation, Adrian is researching the Pocket Project with awareness-based action research methods based on Presencing and Theory U. His focus is to shine more light on collective trauma integration and how to develop individually and collectively the capacity of Global Social Witnessing. His current project includes the creation of a decentralized, autonomous installation between collective shadows, art, Ai nature, philosophy, and poetry. https://seedslibrary.com/poetree-gestell-x-a-decentralized-autonomous-installation/ and www.blackforestmetamodernism.org. He can be reached via: adrian.wagner@humboldt-viadrina.org

Course Modalities:

Non-Credit Options

Lite Level – This course is delivered on-demand with no faculty interaction and is perfect for lifelong learners who want to go at their own pace and who are not interested in academic credit but still want to experience the course.

Audit-No Credit – If you would like to participate when this course is offered in our Live Virtual Classroom mode, you may attend the live faculty webinars but will not be required to submit assignments for credit.

If you take a few courses and decide you want to officially enroll in a degree program, you can gain academic credit for Lite versions or Audit-No Credit versions by paying the difference between these course fees and a normal academic fee, successfully completing quizzes, submitting your reflection journals and delivering a Final Creative Assignment that will be graded.

For-Credit Options

Live Virtual Classroom: Study that takes place within Ubiquity University, in which Ubiquity academic coursework is accomplished through attendance in Live Webinars, with faculty and student interaction being a part of the Live Webinar content. To receive academic credit, you must not miss more than 3 live sessions, you must complete the quizzes and submit any other required assignments (if any), and a final creative assignment for grading at the degree level you are enrolled in.

Internal Online Independent Study: Study that takes place within Ubiquity University, in which Ubiquity academic online coursework is engaged in independently on one’s own and does not include faculty interaction. To receive academic credit, you must complete the quizzes and submit your reflection journals and final creative assignment for grading at the degree level you are enrolled in.

The rules guiding our assignment collection and grading process can be found here: Ubiquity University Grading Policy

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We allow students at all academic levels to participate in our online courses. However, those students who are enrolled in MA or PhD programs are expected to offer a more sophisticated analysis on reflection tasks, writing assignments, and in the final creative assignment. You will be graded commensurate with your degree level. Except for the Final Creative Assignment, word counts are offered as guidelines. If you need to exceed the word counts to submit an MA or PhD level response, you may feel free to do so as long as the word count expansion is reasonable and necessary.

Course Contact Information:

Live Virtual Classroom macrocourses are delivered by faculty in live Zoom sessions. You will have a course facilitator who is available to answer questions and offer additional assistance and that information will be provided to you upon registration. Please do not email faculty directly with any technology or registration issues.

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Information about how we process refund or cancellation requests can be found here: Refund and Cancellation Policy.

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