Friedrich Naumann Foundation

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The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (German: Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit) (FNF) is a German foundation for liberal politics, related to the Free Democratic Party. Established in 1958 by Theodor Heuss, the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, it promotes individual freedom and liberalism.

The Foundation follows the ideals of the Protestant theologian, Friedrich Naumann. At the beginning of the last century, Naumann was a leading German liberal thinker and politician. He resolutely backed the idea of civic education. Naumann believed that a functioning democracy needs politically informed and educated citizens. According to him, civic education is a prerequisite for political participation and thus for democracy. In this regard, the Foundation is an agent of organized liberalism. It promotes this through civic education, international political dialogues, and political counselling. The Foundation has numerous offices in Europe, Africa, America, and Asia. It also enjoys close links with Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Liberal International (LI).

While the Foundation’s activities in the field of civic education consist of seminars, conferences and publications aimed at promoting liberal values and principles, the international political dialogue program provides a discussion forum for a wide range of liberal issues. The Foundation’s counselling programs focus on candidates for political office, liberal political parties and other democratic organizations.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, together with other foundations of different philosophical, political and ideological orientation and the non-political German National Academic Foundation, acts as an instrument for the promotion of excellence in German university education. This scholarship system is subsidised by the Federal Government of Germany. Currently, the foundation sponsors around 800 students, among those 175 PhD students (as of 2009[1] (German)). Awards are granted after a multi-stage selection process and are based on grades, letters of recommendation, personality and character, political and social commitment with a dedication to liberal values and interviews with staff and affiliates of the foundation. Around 20% of the scholarships are hold by foreign students, studying at a university in Germany.

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  1. ^ Publication of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany): http://www.bmbf.de/pub/begabtenfoerderungswerke.pdf

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