...in the spirit of social democracy

facts and figures

  • Staff: A total of 690 in the head office in Bonn, the six educational centres, the twelve regional offices and abroad.

  • Budget: Approx. 210 million DM (1993); mainly central and regional government funding.

  • Activities:In Germany alone around 100.000 people took part in 1993 in over 2,500 adult education courses, discussion forums and conferences.

  • Branches:Offices in 76 countries (1993). Activities in over 100 countries.

  • Scholarships:2078 scholarships were awarded in 1993, 362 of those to nationals of other countries. Over 300 first-time scholarship holders in the same year.

  • Library:Largest specialized library on the German and international labour movement with around 370,000 volumes.

  • Archives:Largest collection of documents on the history of the German labour movement.

For further information:

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Press and Information Section
Godesberger Allee 149
53170 Bonn
Telefon (0228) 883-0 or 883-666
Telefax (0228) 883-396


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.

International Work


In the Foundation's offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania approx. 130 German staff and 600 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 25 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


The aim of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's work in the field of political education is to (help) the people of the Federal Republic of Germany and its organisations (to react to socio-political changes and thus) enable (them) 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 (located in various parts of the country) are making a major contribution to the social integration of East and West Germany (with their work in the field of education).
The educational work of the Foundation is supported by the German Trades Union Congress (DGB) and the German Salaried Employees'Union (DAG). (This aspect of the Foundation's work is)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.


In its practice-orientated research work the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung attaches particular importance to analyzing the economic, social and political problems in connection with the German unification process. In this respect the Foundation sees its role as providing a (think-tank and) discussion forum for the future development of social democracy.
Through its research projects, symposia, debates and a wide variety of publications in the fields of economic policy, labour and social research, technology and society, social and contemporary history as well as foreign policy research, the Foundation annually attracts thousands of experts from economic and political life, public administration, the trade unions, the academic world and the media.
(It is thereby making an invaluable contribution to the cultivation of political discussion in Germany.)

Scholarship Programme

In its scholarship programme the Foundation supports students and young post-graduates with outstanding academic qualifications from Germany and abroad for whom an academic education is not only a first step to a successful career but an expression of their commitment to society, democracy and the country.

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©Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition Joachim.Vesper & Veronika.Lenarz | 1997 / 2000