The Vault

Towards Unity

By Michael Fredrick


This is the second Congress of which I've been Co-ordinating Director and many people have come up to me and asked: "Is there going to be a 3rd Congress?" Directing these Congresses has been very rewarding and a tremendous learning experience. However, if there is another Congress, it would be the last one for which I would serve as Co-ordinating Director, as it literally takes your whole life during two years of planning.

The most significant thing that I have learned in organizing these first two Congresses is the importance of an open policy, that these International Congresses be open to Alexander teachers worldwide whether they belong to a professional organization or not, or whether they choose to belong to a professional organization or not. As you can tell from the spirit of this Brighton event, an open Congress is obviously the right way to go. This open policy has been established in the first two Congresses, and the intention is to carry that through to the 3rd Congress and beyond.

Those attending both Congresses have been impressed by the openness and flexibility of each event. Political distinctions become less important as we are all inspired by the great discoveries of F.M. Alexander. We are all here to learn from each other and understand our differences in an atmosphere of trust without fear. How can this spirit of unity be assured of continuing in the future? What vision do you have for future Congresses?

What is clear to me is that these Congresses, if they are to remain open, should be apolitical and run by a non-partisan policy/ steering committee that is made up of a wide variety of teachers from all over the world. Therefore I am proposing the formation of a policy-making steering committee of seven to nine people to run the 3rd Congress in 1991.

This idea of having an open Congress run by a non-partisan policy/steering committee is something that I've talked over with the current Executive Committee and with Marjory Barlow, Marjorie Barstow and Dilys and Walter Carrington. There was wholehearted agreement. So having had this preliminary conversation, the next step was to approach the Master Teachers to invite them to attend. Yesterday as I walked around the University of Sussex campus, I met the Carringtons, Marjorie Barstow and Marjory Barlow, and I said, "Well, in 1991, if there was a third Congress, would you be willing to come?" And to my great delight, they all said, "Absolutely yes!" They were all smiling as they accepted the invitation. Then I said, "We've held one in America and this one in England. What happens if we look towards Engelberg, Switzerland for the 3rd Congress? ... It's a lovely village in the alps, near the lake Lucerne, with a great conference centre. Would you be willing to fly over?" And again to my great pleasure, every one of them said, "Absolutely yes!" So the intention is to aim for 1991 in Engelberg, Switzerland..

Now, as all 500 of us are assembled here together, I would like to extend a personal invitation for you to join us for the 3rd International Congress of Teachers of the F.M. Alexander Technique in Engelberg, Switzerland in August 1991.


In the his original address, Michael referred to San Fransisco, USA as the location of the next Congress. Subsequent to the Brighton Congress, the location was altered to Engelberg, Switzerland.


Michael D. Frederick is the former Chairman of the North American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. He trained in England with Walter Carrington and in America with Marjorie Barstow. Besides teaching the Alexander Technique in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, Michael is the Alexander teacher at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. He was the originator and director of the first three International Congresses on the Alexander Technique held in America, England and Switzerland. Michael is also a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, having trained with Moshe Feldenkrais in the USE and Israel. He has conducted "presentation skills" workshops for upper level coorporate management at the Du Pont Corpopration, Hercules Inc., Merck Pharmaceuticals and the US Army.

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