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The foundation’s approach

We do not get to know people when they come to us,
We have to go to them to realize how they are doing.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Encounter and understanding: Exchange wanted!

The foundation for encounter between East and West encourages personal encounters between people from Germany and the Eastern European countries, the Baltic States and Middle Asia. The foundation is meant to support intercultural learning, to deepen the communication and competence concerning East and West and to strengthen engagement in the realm of civil society.

Getting to know each other and learning to understand each other as well as acting conjointly are processes, which can influence social actions and which can contribute to a long-term understanding between peoples. Therefore, we see exchange projects as a sustainable investment for the future. Especially young people – as representatives of the next generation - can acquire skills which prepare them for the task of cooperation and understanding with neighbouring and partner states.

To what does encounter with history oblige us

The foundation for encounter between East and West arose in the result of the social change in Europe, which confident citizens brought about with peaceful means at the end of the 20th century. Committed people from the new German federal states built the foundation for encounter between East and West in 1994, aiming at friendship with and understanding of the former Soviet countries, especially under the new social conditions. The foundation disposes of the capital which remained after the closure of the “Society for Soviet-German friendship” in 1989, a society to which millions of East German citizens had contributed to with their membership fees.

The newly built foundation accepted the historical duty to learn especially from the disaster of World War II and to contribute to peace and conciliation. From the start, the foundation facilitated manifold encounter projects for interested people from all over Germany with the now independent states on former Soviet territory and brought decades of East German competence and knowledge about life in the partner states into these projects. Its people-oriented purpose was especially answered by a big number of small projects, which the foundation supports.

How we understand and shape our foundation’s purpose

The foundation for encounter between East and West achieves its aims actively: It develops support programmes and announces them in public and it conducts its own projects. That makes the foundation a promoter and at the same time contact for exchange measures with the states of  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The foundation sees itself as independent player in the realm of civil society and partner for competence. It cooperates with partners in politics and economy, with public and private support institutions, with Non-governmental organisations and their national and foreign networks. For the foundation, transparency in its actions is a means to express its liability towards society, and publicity is the medium to convey the foundation’s essential information and aims externally and internally.

Who, what and how we fund

The foundation for encounter between East and West supports bilateral encounters and co-operations – preferably in concrete projects - of German schools, youth groups, citizens’ groups and other public and private non-profit institutions, which are conducted together with partners from the above mentioned countries at home or abroad. Capital aims in the realization are reciprocity of the programmes and plurality and parity concerning the responsible body. Trilateral encounters can be funded, too. The people searching for support and those receiving allowance are seen as important partners for the realization of the foundation’s purpose. The foundation provides advice for the planning and financing of encounter measures, for the application, employment and accounting of foundational funds and for the quality standards of the projects. The foundation arranges contacts and exchange between similarly engaged initiatives and groups and supports the development of new ideas and creative enterprises.

The foundation’s support profile aims at a high recognition value. The foundation shapes its work animatedly and attractively through flexible announcing and choice practices and gains new responsible bodies for encounter and exchange.

The responsible boards of the foundation decide impartially and neutrally about the allocation of foundational funds. The decisions are comprehensible in the context of the input and are announced promptly.

Shape the future dynamically – Invitation to cooperate

The friends of the foundation for the encounter between East and West and a network of formerly supported people and foundationers support the foundation in their publicity, gain new friends and partners and promote assistance and endowment contributions.

In order to increase the effectiveness of its agency, the foundation aims at an exchange of experiences and invites other foundations and institutions to cooperation. The foundation is ready to conclude agreements on joint support programmes or on the assistance in joint programmes and to actively shape this collaboration.

The foundation keeps up with the dynamics in the Eastern European regions, with the enlargement of the European Union as well as with the developing international relations and allows for these dynamics with its work. The foundation for encounter between East and West absorbs new developments through continuous review and update of its aims and programmes and participates in shaping the future.