Courage. Innovation. Confidence.

Dear reader,

This annual report of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom for the year 2019 is sent to you in the midst of the global crisis around the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. In these times of challenges never seen before in history, looking back at the year 2019 seems almost unreal, like looking back at the good old days.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is proud of the scale of its political education work in 2019, which it took courage and much dedication to achieve.

Two different kinds of challenges were at the focus of public political interest in Germany in 2019: the challenges of climate change on the one hand, and those of nationalist, even terrorist right-wing extremism on the other. In two campaigns and series of events, #MachÖkoWiederLogisch and #ClapForCrap, we presented approaches to mitigating climate change using innovation and the market economy, and together with the rapper Ben Salomo we provided information on strategies for combating right-wing extremism and antisemitism.

But 2019 was also the year of commemorating two turning points in German history very much shaped by liberals like Walter Scheel and Hans-Dietrich Genscher: the peaceful revolution in East Germany in 1989 and the formation of the social-liberal coalition in Bonn in 1969. Walter Scheel in particular, who as foreign minister and federal president influenced Neue Ostpolitik and thus helped pave the way for German unification, was honoured by us, also as honorary chairman of our Board of Trustees, in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in June 2019 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth. In November 2019, the Walter Scheel Prize was awarded to Dr Auma Obama at Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn.

‘The year 2019 has shown that many citizens are very interested in liberal offers of political education.’

– Steffen Saebisch

We welcomed around 94,000 participants to 1,550 events held by the Foundation in Germany during 2019, representing an increase of almost 65 per cent. Nearly 55,000 of them were new customers attending Foundation events for the first time. This impressive feat is due particularly to the dedication of our employees, but also to our increased presence across the country with new offices in Leipzig, Schwerin, Erfurt, Münster, and Cologne. Our overall reach in the press also increased by 43 per cent gross year on year.

Internationally, the focus of our global project work was the topic of innovation. The international congress ‘United Nations of Innovation – #HackingDemocracy’ took place in Berlin in November 2019, attracting more than 200 mostly young participants from the digitally savvy community and from many of the Foundation’s project countries. We opened our Global Innovation Hub in Hong Kong and a new office in Madrid focusing on the development of the Mediterranean region.

The year 2019 showed that many citizens are very much interested in liberal political education events. Over the past year, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom continued to work on its policy, strategic, and operational capacities so as to be able to meet these expectations in the future as well.

Thus, we are facing forthcoming challenges with confidence and joy, and we look forward to welcoming you again.

Yours sincerely, Ihr Steffen Saebisch Chief Executive Officer of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom