The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung or FES
(Stiftung is the German word for foundation) wasfounded
in 1925 as a political legacy of Germany's first democratically
elected president, Friedrich Ebert,
who died in that year.
Ebert, a Social Democrat of humble origins,
had risen to hold the highest office in his country despite
considerable opposition from his political adversaries.
He assumed the burden of the presidency in a country which
was crisis-ridden following its defeat in World War I.
His own personal experience led him to propose the establishment
of a foundation with a threefold aim:
- furthering a democratic, pluralistic
political culture by means of political education for
all classes of society,
- facilitating access to higher education
for gifted young people by providing scholarships,
- contributing to international understanding
and co-operation wherever possible to avert a fresh
outbreak of war and conflict.
The Foundation, which was immediately
banned by the Nazis in 1933 and not re-established until
1947 after World War II, continues today to pursue those
aims and has developed extensive programmes in each of
the above areas.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung today is a non-profit making,
political public-interest institution committed to the
principles and basic values of social democracy in its
educational and policy-orientated work.
Facts and Figure <Top>
- Staff: A total of 581 in the
head office in Bonn, the six educational centres, the
twelve regional offices and abroad.
- Budget: Approx. 204 million
DM (in 2000); mainly central and regional government
- Activities: In Germany alone
around 150.000 people took part in 2000 in more than
3,000 adult education courses, discussion forums and
- Branches: Offices in 90 countries
(2000). Activities in more than 100 countries.
- Scholarships: 1700 scholarships
were awarded in 2000, 340 of those to nationals of other
countries. Over 430 first-time scholarship holders in
the same year.
- Library: Largest specialized library on the German
and international labour movement with more than 600.000
- Archives:Largest collection
of documents on the history of the German labour movement.
International Work <Top>
In the Foundation's offices in Africa,
Asia, Latin America and Oceania approx. 90 German staff
and about 500 foreign nationals are involved in projects
in the fields of economic and social development, socio-political
education and information, the media and communication and
providing advisory services. Approximately half of the Foundation's
annual budget is devoted to this co-operation with our partners
in the trade unions, politics, the business and academic
communities, the media and the arts.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung sees its activities in the
developing countries as a contribution to:
- the improvement of political and
social framework conditions,
- the democratization of social structures,
- the strengthening of free trade unions,
- the improvement of communication
and media structures,
- regional and international media
- regional co-operation between states
and different interest groups,
- overcoming the North-South conflict.
The Foundation has offices in 38 of
the OECD countries, in Central and Eastern Europe, the
former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Together with
its partners in the trade unions, education and research,
public administration, local government and various social
groups and organisations the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
fosters dialogue amongst all democratic forces with the
aim of bringing about a balance of interests, solving
conflicts and developing policy options.
The activities and publications of the "Eurokolleg" are
centred on the study of the opportunities and problems
within the European Union.
In the reform states of Eastern Europe the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
is involved in supporting the transition to a market economy
and establishing a civil society, particularly in the
fields of labour market, social, environmental and media
The aim of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's
work in the field of political education is to enable the
people of the Federal Republic of Germany and its organisations
to determine the future of their own society and be actively
involved in the political process.
The six educational centres and the
12 regional offices are making a major contribution
to the social integration of East and West Germany.
The educational work of the Foundation
is supported by the German Trades Union Congress (DGB)
and the German Salaried Employees'Union (DAG). The programmes
are carried out in co-operation with universities, women's
associations, the German Sport Federation, agricultural
associations, the Armed Forces, the police, church organisations,
teachers associations, parents associations, youth and
senior citizens groups, works councils in the public and
private sectors, Amnesty International, members of local
government, development policy groups, chambers of trade
and commerce and press associations.
For more details visit www.fes.de