Summer University 2013

Tamera Summer University 2013: On the way to Gift Economy

Voices of guests:
"I have the vision that one day Tamera will be a global model for Gift Economy."
"I am amazed what inner turmoil was brought up by the simple fact, that I can choose how much money I want to pay for a book or a beer."
"My heart knows no numbers. What Tamera does is infinitely precious - but I cannot express it in numbers."
"Just leave me alone with the subject of money."


The ten days of the Tamera Summer University have been a gathering of international activists and initiators of study groups of "Terra Nova". Almost 500 people from 36 countries were present, including groups from crisis areas in Africa, the Middle East and South America, as well as from the scenes of uprisings in Turkey, Brazil and Egypt.

The Summer University has for the second time been an experiment in Gift Economy. Participation, accommodation and food were all based on donation, even the bar and the café. The bookstore and the upcycling bazaar with products from Tamera were also included in the experiment. Like last year, we thereby dealt with the nature of money. Where usually everywhere else on the planet one would automatically pay the specified price, everyone now had to rethink: How much is this worth for me? What do I wish to donate, for what do I want to ask - and what do I dare to accept as a gift?


For years Tamera has been asked to work on solutions in the field of economy, and now we take on the issue more and more! Our modernday relationship with money does bring about much of the suffering and the destruction of our entire planet. With every little thing that each of us buys or sells, we are unwittingly part of a globalized system of destruction. If we want to end war, injustice and exploitation, we need to liberate the essence of money from the bonds of domination and power. Stepping out from the system begins with a rather small shift in our mentality, to no longer convert everything into a monetary value.

Thus we can approach a different type of economy: The economy of generosity and abundance. This is how nature operates: Every apple tree gives its fragrance and its fruit freely without asking what it receives in return - and in return is blessed with sunlight, moisture and nutrients. The essence of the Gift Economy is to ask for what one needs and to give freely with joy. Contact replaces anonymous exchange. 

Internally, Tamera is already based, to a large extent, on Gift Economy: the employees are not paid for their work, they offer their efforts to each other and receive everything they need from the community. Any budget deficits that the community has at the end of year are covered by collective or individual efforts. We find that it is a form of economy that works particularily well whenever there is a high degree of trust and transparency in the community.

But how can these experiences be extended to our guests? Tamera is dependent on the revenues from the Summer University to cover the basic budget and the necessary development expenses. So, questions surfaced such as: Can we trust our guests that they consider their donations carefully? Who takes on responsibility for this experiment? What information do we need to give?


The experience of 2012, the first year of the Gift Experiment, had shown that guests paid on average only slightly less than the seminar fee of previous years. Since more people had participated in the Summer University, the generated income was more or less the same; and since more guests prolonged their stay due to the positive atmosphere, it ultimately resulted in a modest surplus.

This year, the Tamera community again said Yes with all its heart to trust in our guests and the dynamics of gift economy. We also decided to carefully consider and announce both our target amount: 180,000 € and our dream sum: 2 million Euros.


Roland Luder, responsible for the finances of Tamera: "With 60,000 Euros, the basic costs would be covered, the amount needed to accommodate and feed the guests. But this does not yet cover the total costs of the Tamera community so that research, development and running seminars can be possible. To cover all this we need 180,000 Euro. 

The third figure of 2 million Euros is the amount that Tamera would like to invest in its various projects before next year's Tamera Summer University."

We send these numbers out into the universe as a prayer for manifesting the dream of peace, with trust that we will receive exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.


The Tamera-Finance-Team brought up the issue of money and the economy repeatedly throughout the Summer Uni via: various announcements, a Global Circle, a documentary film and discussion evening, as well as a prayer and a ritual in the stone circle. One group leader said: "It has often been very emotional with the topic of money, but as soon as we gave information, the mood immediately transformed into solidarity, constructive thinking and gratitude for the authentic experience of being part of an experiment."


In the Global Circle about money, there have been seen very moving descriptions of inner experiences with the Gift Experiment including serious commitments, to seek sources of funds for financing Tamera's development and in this way to contribute to the project as a whole. For example, one guest, who works as a waiter in a jazz club, promised to forward all tips to Tamera for a full year. Johannes Ewig, coordinator of the Summer University: "This level of solidarity is new and overwhelming. No matter how the experiment may turn out, ultimately it has already been a success, because we realize that we generate hope."


The result


The Gift Experiment has not ended yet. All of us - the Tamera community, the guests of the Summer University and those who love and support Tamera - are invited to unite in sustaining the vigilance for some months in order to make the experiment a success.


Roland Luder: "We realized quickly in the bookstore and the bar that the donation basis was not used frivolously. In fact, people have very carefully pondered about what they want to give and can afford, and the revenue corresponded to the estimates. At the end of the summer university we had money and commitments for about 65,000 Euros. However, this figure is constantly changing. From last year I know that the guests still sent money for many weeks. We continue to keep the goal of 180.000 Euros firmly in view."


Whether you joined us in Tamera this year or not, all contributions to the Gift Economy experiment are warmly welcome!


Transfers here:

Associação G.R.A.C.E.

IBAN: PT50004563324023830233193


Purpose of payment: Summer University 2013