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The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung or FES (Stiftung is the German word for foundation) was founded 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 Figures <Top>
  • Staff: A total of 660 in the offices in Bonn and Berlin, the six educational centres, the fourteen regional offices and abroad. 
  • Budget: Approx. 152 million € (in 2014); mainly central and regional government funding. 
  • Activities: In Germany alone around 220.000 people took part in more than 2,600 adult education courses, discussion forums and conferences in 2015. 
  • Branches: Offices in 105 countries work for social justice and democracy.
  • Scholarships: 2834 scholarships were awarded to students and PhD candidates in 2015, about 300 of those to nationals of other countries.
  • Library: Largest specialized library on the German and international labour movement with more than 1.000.000 volumes. The internet library is accessed over 30 million times every year.
  • Archives: Largest collection of documents on the history of the German labour movement with over 56.000 meters of writings.
  • Publications: 1000 studies, briefings, handbooks, traning materials and event documentations worldwide. 

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 co-operation, 
  • 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 policy. 

National Work <Top>


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 14 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 United Services Union (ver.di). 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


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