The Marina Ewald & Kurt Hahn Address

Quick Facts | Ewald & Hahn | Philosophy, Purpose, and Selection Process | Past Presenters 

A Speech Given by an Exceptional Experiential Educator

The Ewald and Hahn Address is presented annually at the AEE International Conference by a person designated by the Board of Directors who has contributed to the development and advancement of experiential education with the tenacity and conviction exemplified by Marina Ewald and Kurt Hahn. 

Call for Nominations!

We're currently accepting nominations for The 2024 Marina Ewald & Kurt Hahn Address!

Submit a Nomination

Nominations Due: July 26

2023 Address: Honoring Charles Thomas 

Executive Director of Outward Bound Adventures

Charles Thomas HeadshotCharles Thomas has served as the Executive Director of OBA, Outward Bound Adventures Inc. for 23 years and has for 45 years dedicated his life to promoting diversity and inclusion in conservation and outdoor recreation. Charles, over the years, has garnered numerous awards and accolades, notably being a White House Invitee, being honored by U.S Congressional Representatives, honored multiple times by State Senate and House members, County Board of Supervisors, Board of Education, City Council, and various community-based organizations. Among these recognitions, he received the National Mosaic Conference Award, bestowed by a jury of his peers and the communities he tirelessly serves. Furthermore, he received the prestigious Howard Bell Lifetime Achievement Award, an acknowledgment of his profound influence in the realm of environmental education within California. 

As Pasadena's first Environmental Affairs Coordinator, he created the first gang intervention environmental restoration program. Charles designed over 10 enduring, award-winning programs that enrich avoided, overlooked, and forgotten urban communities, such as the transformative Environmental Studies Expeditions (ESE) and the innovative Environmental Restoration Teams (ERT). Additionally, in collaboration with the National Park Service and in order to staff another of his award winning programs called Roots and Wings, Charles created the Diverse Outdoor Leaders Institute (DOLI), a training program that certifies urban people of color as wilderness instructors to lead interpretive trips for underrepresented youth into national parks and wilderness areas. His other notable experiential education programs include Teach Me To Camp (TMTC) for single low-income mothers and their families and the Public Lands Education Project serving over 15 Native American tribes.

The Purpose, Process and Criteria 

"The Marina Ewald & Kurt Hahn address is a wonderful opportunity for the recipient of this honor to offer provocative, prompting, and perhaps potential words of wisdom to the larger body of the Association. In my experience, it’s been a time when some people making this address have helped shape members' understandings of the soul of experiential education."   - Denise Mitten, 2011 Ewald & Hahn Presenter

Philosophy and Purpose

The Marina Ewald & Kurt Hahn Address is a formal presentation to the membership of AEE during the annual conference. The purpose for this address is embedded in the desire of the Board of Directors for members of AEE to hear a tenured participant in the experiential education community. This opportunity is bestowed upon a person that the Board deems reflective of the current vision of the organization and the historical characteristics of Marina Ewald & Kurt Hahn. The recipient is also an individual who has contributed to the development and advancement of experiential education over a significant length of time, has demonstrated the tenacity and conviction that was exemplified by Ewald & Hahn, and is, most often, a leader in experiential education who has demonstrated both individual and global accomplishments that reflect upon the successes of the field and AEE.

Selection Process

The Board of Directors, rather than the conference Host Committee or the Awards Committee, reviews the list of possible candidates, including each candidate's brief biography. In selecting the recipient for the Ewald and Hahn Address, the Board of Directors review takes into consideration the annual theme that has been selected for the topic of the address. An AEE member can suggest a person to be added to the list of potential candidates by filling out the nomination form.

1. Any four board members can add a person to the list of possible candidates with submission of biographical data.

2. An AEE member can suggest a person to be added to the list of potential candidates by completing submission form. 

3. The selection process is documented in the AEE Policy Register (GP 12).

4. Once the selection process has been completed, a member of the Board of Directors will be delegated to invite the speaker. After the invitation has been accepted, further arrangements will be handled by AEE staff.

Criteria for Selection

● 15 years or more of service in experiential education.

● Influential in experiential education (recognizing broadest definitions of influence).

● Contribution of service to specific groups, and through these contributions, demonstration of compassion and spiritual integrity.

● Embodies attributes that Marina Ewald & Kurt Hahn regarded highly: craft, innovation, tenacity, service, spirit, adventurousness, compassion, enterprising curiosity, and physical, intellectual, and spiritual vigor.

● Highly regarded, reputable thinker and worker in some form of experiential education. Or have a message which is highly relevant to the field at the time of the address.

● Entertaining and inspiring speaker. Ability to draw people to the address and convey a message reflective of organizational needs.

● Willingness and availability to partner with AEE in furthering the AEE service mission.

● Contribution to diversity in the list of address designees.

● Preferably a current AEE member (individual or organizational representative).

Marina Ewald 1887-1976 and Kurt Hahn 1886-1974

The below is from Denise Mitten, 2011 Ewald & Hahn Presenter

Marina Ewald (German 1887 – 1976)

Kurt Hahn is the much celebrated and revered founder of the Outward Bound movement. In 1904, at the age of 18, Hahn suffered from sunstroke that left him with a recurring disability for the remainder of his life. When he was a boy, he had walked in the Dolomites and saw value in students spending time outdoors. However, Hahn never completed a major expedition before or after his sunstroke and had to carefully regulate for the remainder of his life, how much time he spent outside, and under what conditions. 

Marina Ewald was virtually unknown to the outside world until Veevers and Allison (2011) went to Salem School and found, through reading Hahn’s personal papers that Ewald was Hahn's partner in planning and the co-director at Salem School. When Hahn fled to the UK during the Nazi regime she remained as director (totaling 50 years). In 2016 if someone searched for Kurt Hahn on the Internet, they’d find a number of schools that he founded, including the Salam School in 1920. In no earlier record was a co-founder named for Salam, except Prince Max von Baden as Hahn’s benefactor. In the past few years more has popped up on the internet about Marina Ewald.

Ewald encouraged sailing for girls and boys while Hahn, according to accounts. did not seem interested in sailing. In 1925 Ewald, a geographer initiated the school's first sailing expedition to Finland and Iceland. After this, she was an advocate for the usefulness of expeditions as an outdoor learning model and incorporated expeditions into the curriculum. As a result, Hahn embedded expeditions into his future endeavors, too, and today we thank him for his vision and inspiration. Notably, Ewald was a key player and instrumental to the inception of the Outward Bound expeditionary model. Ironically, this piece of history has been completely subjugated for almost 100 years, and we had a “gender washed” asymmetrical (his)story.  

Mitten, D., Gray, T., Allen-Craig, S., Loeffler, TA, & Carpenter, C. (2018). The invisibility cloak: Women's contributions to outdoor and environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education 1-9. DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2017.1366890
Mitten, D. (2013). Book review: Sourcebook of experiential education: Key thinkers and their contributions. Journal of Experiential Education36(1), 80–82.

The Below is Quoted from Outward Bound California

Marina Ewald was a childhood friend of Kurt Hahn, the man who is credited with the creation of Outward Bound, as well as a few other educational programs including the Salem School and Gordunstoun. Many of the core values of Outward Bound derive from an expedition to Finland that Marina led, in the summer of 1925. Not only did Marina Ewald lead the grueling and difficult trip, she was the only woman.

Marina went on to become the director of Spetzgart (an expansion of the Salem School), but as time went on and the political climate became more turbulent, Kurt Hahn (who was Jewish), was exiled from Germany in 1933. The Salem School he had established was shut down by Nazi's, after an unsuccessful attempt to keep the program independent from German government.

In November 1945, while Hahn was taking refuge in England, and developing another education program there, Marina Ewald successfully reopened the Salem school, free from Nazi influence.

Marina stayed with the school for many years, and received the French Award ’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) for her educational achievements. She made vital contributions to the structure of Outward Bound, and inspired students from all over the country and world!

A memorial for Marina Ewald now hangs in the Outward Bound California, Bay Area Program office, to remind all who enter that there are stories which must not go untold, there are women who have contributed and still continue to the success of Outward Bound, and we would not be where we are today without them.

Kurt Hahn was also a key figure in the development of experiential education. Hahn's personal experiences led him to make helping young people develop into healthy, happy, ethical and compassionate adults his life's calling. To that end, Hahn founded numerous colleges and programs dedicated to educating the whole person. 

Past Presenters

 Past Presenters

  • 2023 - Charles Thomas (click for video)
  • 2022 - D. Maurie Lung (click for video)
  • 2021 - Yap Meen Sheng (click for video)
  • 2020 - Vishwas Parchure (click for video)
  • 2019 - Mary Breunig
  • 2018 - TA Loeffler (click for video)
  • 2017 - Tony Alvarez (click for video)
  • 2016 - Jane Panicucci (click for video)
  • 2015 - Bill Proudman
  • 2014 - Karen Warren
  • 2013 - Laurie Frank
  • 2012 - Jasper Hunt
  • 2011 - Denise Mitten
  • 2010 - Jude Hirsch & Lee Gillis
  • 2009 - Cliff Knapp
  • 2008 - Bob Henderson
  • 2007 - Nina Roberts
  • 2006 - Peter Higgins
  • 2005 - Keith V. King
  • 2004 - Sanford Tollette
  • 2003 - Craig Dobkin
  • 2002 - Michael Gass
  • 2001 - Faith Evans
  • 2000 - Karl Rohnke
  • 1999 - Marianne Scippa
  • 1998 - Rita Yerkes
  • 1997 - Dan Garvey
  • 1996 - Tom Smith
  • 1995 - McClellan Hall
  • 1994 - Robert S. MacArthur
  • 1993 - Dick Kraft
  • 1992 - Bert Horwood
  • 1991 - Diane Hedin (given by Dan Conrad)
  • 1990 - Gregory Farrell
  • 1989 - Richard O. Kimball
  • 1988 - Jim Kielsmeier
  • 1987 - Betty van der Smissen
  • 1986 - Alec Dickson
  • 1985 - Willi Unsoeld (given by Jolene Unsoeld)
  • Removed
  • 1983 - Joe Nold