In the Service of Democracy, Peace and Development.
Democracy can survive only with a democratically-minded population.
This lesson, learned from the failure of the first German Republic, the Weimar Republic, led the Federal Republic of Germany to establish political foundations. As an important part of political culture, these foundations would henceforth serve as a lasting and profound anchor for democratic awareness in our country. Former German President Roman Herzog accurately characterised them as “schools of democratic thought and action, testbeds for civil courage and common sense that bestow upon us the ethical principles without which our political system cannot function.” Today, six political foundations operate in Germany, spanning the political spectrum. Each is closely aligned with one party. Their legitimacy comes from nearly complete state funding from the German parliament. Their conscious and intentional coexistence is an exercise in pluralism founded upon on a basic consensus on liberal democratic principles. “Democracy,” Herzog also said, “means example as well as instruction.”
The Hanns Seidel Foundation, named after the former Bavarian prime minister and CSU chairman, has belonged to this family of foundations since 1967. It is politically aligned with the Christian Social Union and engages in political education with the aim of promoting the democratic and civic education of the German people on Christian foundations. Its educational programmes extend beyond party boundaries and are open to all interested citizens. Its commitment to democracy, peace, and development abroad also rests on these foundations. In addition, the foundation’s practical actions focus on standards of human dignity and tolerance, freedom and responsibility, solidarity and sustainability, equality of opportunity and intergenerational justice, and subsidiarity as a principle of responsibility and structure.
Mission and objectives must be pursued consistently. Structures must be reviewed, processes corrected, and new formats developed and introduced. Digitalisation is also becoming increasingly important for political education. We are very well positioned here. Online seminars are no substitute for face-to-face seminars, but they complement our range of services decisively. This enables us to generate new reach to young target groups. Participation in the socio-political debate, dialogue with various interest groups, and the development of solution strategies are among our tasks – which we fulfill nationally and internationally, always in the service of democracy, peace, and development. This brochure provides a compact overview of the Hanns Seidel Foundation’s wide-ranging activities.
The conceptual and operational work of the Hanns Seidel Foundation is primarily concentrated in five departments. Whilst the Academy for Politics and Current Affairs focuses on current trends and scholarly research, the Institute for Political Education offers seminars on a number of different topics. The Institute for Scholarship Programmes runs programmes that benefit talented, socially committed academics. The Institute for International Cooperation operates and evaluates development cooperation projects. The main focus here is good governance, democracy-building, help for self-help, and sustainable development. The Institute for European and Transatlantic Dialogue sees itself as a bridge-builder and mediator within Europe and with the USA and Canada.
The Central Services supports these five departments as a service provider. The Banz Monastery Educational Centre and the Conference Centre at the foundation’s headquarters in Munich are places to meet and engage in dialogue. The overarching guidelines governing the foundation’s work include the relationship between citizens and the state and the tension between globalisation and regionalisation. Here too, the focus is on the new role of Germany and Europe as a result of international conflicts and migration, the impact of the increasing individualisation of society and questions of responsibility for future generations.
Understanding of democracy must be secured again with each generation. Political contexts must be made clear, especially to young people. Learn more about our mission here.
The Hanns-Seidel Foundation is devided into five departments which are specialized in different fields. If you want to learn how our foundation is structured, click here to learn more.