The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), a German foundation that has over 110 offices worldwide, has been in Hungary for more than three decades.
The Foundation was established some 60 years ago to promote democratic development in Germany. It stands close to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and is governed by Christian values. Its guiding principles of supporting democracy, promoting the rule of law and social market economy, coming to terms with history and expanding European integration were also the starting point for its activities in other countries. KAS established its office in Budapest in 1990. In the beginning, its focus in Hungary was on promoting the country's integration into the community of common transatlantic values. In concrete terms, this meant membership in the European Union and in NATO. In addition, the Foundation helped to build strong political partner parties with their respective supporting organizations. Another goal was to strengthen the participation of civil society in political decision-making processes. Its measures were always integrated into the manifold bilateral activities to foster German-Hungarian relations.
Day-to-day activities and partners
The Foundation's work focuses on the people. Its projects are therefore characterized by a large number of different educational measures to promote dialog on equal terms on all important socio-political challenges. Within the framework of the Foundation's international network, it wishes to expand the fact-based exchange of information and ideas as well as open discussion, including debates on critical issues, and thus to strengthen cohesion in Europe. These programs are complemented by publications, studies, opinion polls and analyses. Its scholarship program for studies in Hungary and Germany are of particular importance.
The fact that the Foundation's work is based worldwide on the partner approach means that all its projects are carried out on request with local partners on the ground. This ensures that the expertise and organizational support is available in the country and that the activities are not seen as interference from outside. KAS is primarily approached by institutions that share its value orientation. In Hungary, the Foundation has been able to establish a solid network with a large number of like-minded organizations with whom it has been working for a very long time, in a trusting and comprehensive manner. This is certainly an important expression of the acceptance of its work in Hungarian society.
As to how much the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has contributed to the good relations between Germany and Hungary, the leaders of the Foundation say it is very difficult to assess the overall impact of the activities conducted by KAS. However, they can assure the readers of Diplomacy&Trade that in close cooperation with many other organizations, they always strive to contribute within the Foundation’s means to ensure that both countries remain "good neighbors without a common border" in a strong Europe.
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