The political foundations are a unique feature of the democratic political culture of
the Federal Republic of Germany as it has emerged since 1949. The basic motive
behind their creation was the expectation that political education would help develop
and consolidate democracy in the country. The work of political education performed
by the foundations deliberately allows for the basic political trends that exist within
Germany. The intention has been to avoid a repetition of the experience of the Weimar Republic, which never succeeded in gaining the confidence of a convincing majority of Germany's citizens. In the early 1960s, the idea began to take shape that
the domestic experience of the political foundations might also be used for the purposes of educational and advisory activities in the developing countries. Both in
Germany and abroad, the foundations seek to encourage people to play an active
part in helping to mould their political and social lives and to furnish them with the
tools for the job. In 1986, the Federal Constitutional Court gave an impressive description of the model of the political foundations, while confirming the usefulness of
their work: "The purpose of the foundations is to stimulate people's concern with
political issues and to provide the framework for an open discussion of political questions - accessible to all interested citizens. As a result, interest is aroused in
playing an active part in helping to mould social and political life and the necessary
In its work in Germany and abroad the Konrad Adenauer Foundation is committed to
the principles of Christian Democracy. The example of Konrad Adenauer and the
ideals that permeated the life and work of that great statesman constitute its guiding
light, its task, and its duty.
The Eichholz Education Centre, an initiative of Konrad Adenauer, was opened in his
presence in 1956, and since 1964 the Foundation has borne the name of the man
who was the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation pursues, exclusively and directly, non-profit-making objectives in the public good. It sees its task as
- providing political education,
- researching and documenting the historical development of Christian Demoracy,
- elaborating, through research and the provision of advice, the scientific foundations for political action,
- furthering the unification of Europe,
- cultivating international understanding by supplying information and arranging
meetings, and providing aid through development projects and programmes,
- giving ideological and material assistance to democrats suffering political persecution,
- helping with the scientific training of talented young people of suitable character,
- promoting culture and the arts.
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is intellectually and politically committed to the
Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Legally, organisationally, and financially, however, it is independend of the party. Its income comprises grants from the state, donations, contributions from participants, and the proceeds of the sale of publications.
Its 1993 budget amounts to DM 225 million. The biggest single item, accounting for
almost 50 per cent, is the promotion of projects in the field of development cooperation.
The organs of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation are the general meeting, the executive committe, and the board of trustees. The Foundation comprises the following
departments: Research and Consultancy, International Cooperation, Political
Education, Scientific Services, and Administration.
Konrad Adenauer biography