The foundation runs activities and programmes in 62 countries from East to West across cultures. People who joined our training programmes and seminar workshops become a part of our liberal network and members of our alumni associations in their home country.
Brussels is home to the office the International Political Dialogue (IPD), a major department of the Foundation that supports FNF activities and programmes in developed countries, including Germany. The IPD facilitates political delegates’ visits to Germany and oversees the International Academy for Leadership which conducts political and economic seminars and workshops at the Theordor-Heuss Academy in Gummersbach.
C Civic Education
One of the main objectives of the Foundation is to provide civic education to interested members of the general public and NGO activists as well as to encourage state organisations to become more active in providing basic education on liberal democracy and democratic practices to their people.
Since its establishment in 1958, the Foundation has always promoted liberal democracy as a mechanism for peace as well as protection of individual human rights and freedoms. Liberal democracy is subject to the Rule of Law so minorities can appeal against a majority’s decision if they can believe it is unethical and can prove that it is undemocratic. Under this form of government, the state’s discretionary power is limited and everyone is treated equally under the law. This means even top government officials can be prosecuted for power abuses or other wrongdoings.
LINK to Liberal Democracy
LINK to Rule of Law
E Economic Freedom
The FNF promotes economic freedom as a means to lifting individual citizens out of poverty and to raise their standard of living. Countries with high economic freedom, also termed ‘market economies’, tend to be wealthier and have higher employment rates than countries with little or no economic freedom.
LINK to Economic Freedom
Freedom is the core liberal value that the Foundation has been promoting. At the heart of every FNF activity and project are the freedoms of individuals—the freedoms of speech, access to information and education, to trade, to travel, to own property, to defend individual rights, to vote and to determine the political future of one’s country.
Gummersbach is the name of the Western German city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where the Theordor-Heuss Academy is located. For years, the Academy has been serving as the venue for many FNF workshop seminars and trainings on liberal democracy, conflict resolution, civil rights, human rights issues, market economy and free trade.
H Human Rights
Since its establishment in 1958, the Foundation has been promoting respect for human rights for we believe mutual respect and understanding are key to living together in harmony despite social, cultural and religious differences.
I International Academy for Leadership (IAF)
The IAF is the name of a major department of the Foundation that oversees workshops, seminars and training programmes at the Theordor-Heuss Academy in Gummersbach. Every year the IAF publishes a list of programmes that will be conducted at the academy. The IAF was originally established in Portugal in early 90’s and was relocated in Gummersbach in 1995. It aims to provide a forum and centre for international political dialogues. People from all over the world come here to exchange political experiences, learn about other cultures, and work together toward liberal solutions.
January is one of the most important months in the history of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. At least five major events took place.
1961 — The “Friends of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation” association was
1964 –- The newly established Archive of German Liberalism was opened in
1987 –- The Research Institute and the European Meeting Centre Saar were
founded in Saarland, southwest Germany.
1995 — The International Academy for Leadership began its work at the Theordor
Heuss Academy in Gummersbach.
1999 — The Foundation’s CD documentary, titled “In the Name of Freedom” won
the Comenius Prize for Quality.
Kiev, the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, is home to the Foundation’s newest office in Eastern Europe. There, the FNF runs several liberal training and political consultation programmes, which represent our contribution towards a more liberal and democratic Ukraine. Headed by Mr. Manfred Wichmann, the Kiev office was officially opened in 2007. It works closely with the FNF regional office for Southeast and Eastern Europe in Sofia, Bulgaria.
L Limitation of State’s Power and Role
As a political concept that the FNF promotes, liberal democracy prizes individual freedoms and favours limitation of state’s discretionary powers, which is key to the related concept of Rule of Law. Liberals believe that if people are given proper education and are free to pursue their goals and to fulfil their potential, the role of the state should be limited to law enforcement and maintaining a fair and free functioning of markets.
LINK: to Rule of Law on Liberal Ideas page
M Market Economy
Market Economy is an economy with a high level of economic freedom. It is a market of a country in which citizens are free to own property, to enter and compete in markets, to undertake an occupation, to trade locally and internationally. In other words, a market economy is conducive for people to exercise their economic freedom and raise their standard of living.
LINK: to Market Economy on Liberal Ideas page
N Naumann, Friedrich
The Foundation was named after Friedrich Naumann, a liberalism pioneer who greatly contributed towards the establishment of a liberal democratic Germany after the fall of the Nazi regime.
LINK: to Friedrich Naumann on Liberal Thinkers page
Open-mindedness is one of the most treasured liberal values. A liberal democracy regards dissent and disagreement as normal and even as something positive. A majority might be right or wrong. If it is wrong, it is the process of open discussions and debates between people of different convictions and opinions that can put things right. Without discussions, there is no way to find out what people want and what better solutions there might be.
LINK: to liberal democracy on Liberal Ideas page
P Partner Organisations
The Foundation never works alone in any project or activity abroad. We always work in cooperation with local NGOs, governmental agencies, academics, activists, students as well as educational institutions.
The ultimate goal of the Foundation is peace achievable through the presence of liberal democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law, and economic freedom.
The Foundation believes in people’s participation in politics and encourages ordinary citizens to get involved in determining the political future of their nation.
A free press is essential to a sustainable democratic society and even supports the growth and maturity of such a society. Without the neutral and objective media and press freedom to inform the public truthful but negative reports of state officials or the government, corruption will escalate and injustice will prevail.
Property ownership is key to national economic development and prosperity of individual citizens. Without the right to own property, ordinary citizens’ ability to raise their standard of living and to contribute to the national economy is restricted.
R Rule of Law
The presence of Rule of Law within a liberal democratic society ensures equal treatment under the law so that nobody is above the law, discriminated or receives unfair preferential treatment. One key aspect of Rule of Law is limitation of state power so that a government does not have absolute power to do whatever it pleases. Effectively, enforcement of Rule of Law prevents power abuses or at least minimise such occurrences.
LINK to Rule of Law
S Stephan, Werner
Werner Stephan was the first director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, serving in the position from 1959 to 1964. He was also an executive member of the German FDP Party and one of the founders of the FNF.
T Truman Haus
Truman Haus is the name of the FNF headquarters building in Potsdam, Germany. ‘Haus’ is the German word for ‘house’. The building was named after the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S Truman who stayed in this house while he was negotiating with Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, following the German surrender that ended the World War II.
Their meeting, called the Potsdam Conference, covered issues such as the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties, and measures for countering the effects of war.
U Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Foundation supports human rights projects throughout the world. Indeed, it was the first German foundation to sponsor human rights projects with funds earmarked for development. We believe one of the main factors contributing to the progress in sustainable development is respect for human rights. Irrespective of cultural differences, human rights remain our universal common denominator.
V Virtuelle Akademie
Virtuelle Akademie is the name of the Foundation’s online academy that provides political education and trainings for interested NGO activists and the general public in Germany and Western Europe. Founded in 2001, it was the first on-line academy for civic education in Germany. It was awarded the European E-Learning Award eureleA in 2005.
Wacholderstube is the name of a bar, located at the basement of the International Academy for Leadership in Gummersbach. Wacholderstube is not just another bar but one of the most important seminar rooms at the Academy. It is the venue where many great ideas are generated, including the establishment of several liberal organisations.
X Roman number for 10
The Southeast and East Asia regional office of the FNF in Bangkok celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008. Since its relocation from Singapore in 1992, this regional office has expanded networks of partner organisations and widened its scope of civic education and other liberal programmes in this region.
The Foundation works with a number of youth organisations and NGOs to train young people on leadership and communication skills so that they can effectively carry out community development work and prepare themselves for future political roles.
Zusammenarbeit is the German word for cooperation. The Foundation always works with partner organisations through voluntary cooperation, and never by threat or force. Cooperation is among the key words in the FNF work dictionary. The Foundation has a department called “International Cooperation and Political Consultancy” (IPZ or Internationale Zusammenarbeit und Politikberatung in German) to coordinate FNF international programmes and activities through mutual cooperation.