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The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) shares a long common history with the African National Congress (ANC) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). From the 1980s FES supported not only the ANC in exile but also its liaison office in the then West-Germany. Within South Africa FES gave its support to the nascent black trade union movement mainly through university-based labour support organisations. Towards the late eighties the FES also facilitated dialogue between the opposition in exile and reform oriented quarters within the white establishment.

The FES was able to open in 1991 its first official office in Cape Town, which was subsequently moved to Johannesburg in 1993. Dialogue and consultation but also capacity building was offered by the FES to assist in the process of political transformation and to prepare the ANC for future government.

Before and after the 1994 elections the FES contributed with research and capacity building to the constitution-making process. Simultaneously the FES offered training and advice to the South African trade unions. In this area of international relations FES was instrumental in setting up a new policy think tank, the “Institute of Global Dialogue” (IGD). The IGD was designed to analyse key issues confronting South Africa and southern Africa in mercurial international environment and to develop appropriate stratigies for them.

Up to the present the FES works in close cooperation with the ANC, COSATU and different civil society organizations for a better socio-economic development and for gender equality in South Africa and with the IGD on issues of international concern.




The University of Fort Hare is a vibrant, equitable and sustainable African university, committed to teaching and research excellence at the service of its students, scholars and wider community.


The mission of the University is to provide high quality education of international standards contributing to the advancement of knowledge that is socially and ethically relevant, and applying that knowledge to the scientific, technological and social- economic development of our nation and the wider world.


The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) was founded in 1925 as a political legacy of Germany´s first democratically elected president, Friedrich Ebert. Ebert, a Social Democrat from a humble crafts background who had risen to hold the highest political office in his country in response to his own painful experience in political confrontation had proposed the establishment of a foundation to serve the following aims:

furthering political and social education of individuals from all walks of life in the spirit of democracy and pluralism,
facilitating access to university education and research for gifted young people by providing scholarships,
contributing to international understanding and cooperation.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, which was banned by the Nazis in 1933 and re-established in 1947, continues today to pursue these aims in all its extensive activities. As a private cultural non-profit institution it is committed to the ideas and basic values of social democracy.


The guiding principles of the international work of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) are to promote democracy and development worldwide, contribute to peace and security, help shape globalisation into an inclusive process and support the widening and deepening of the European Union. Through projects in over 100 countries the FES has been actively involved in the development and consolidation of civil society and state structures for promoting democracy and social justice, strong and free trade unions, human rights and gender equality.

In addition to its core endeavour of promoting democracy in individual countries, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is increasingly working on global and regional issues. Its focus areas are the widening and deepening of the European integration process, further developing the transatlantic relationship and reforming systems of global governance.

The dialogue between different societal actors, between different cultures and social models, between North and South, EU countries and candidate countries and international institutions is indispensable, especially for stabilising fragile social and state structures and for finding solutions to cross-cutting regional and global issues. With its worldwide network of offices and partners the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has a range of instruments at its disposal that allow it to make a substantial contribution to these debates and to organise and propel this dialogue process at various levels.

The further development of the European Union, the most successful regional integration project, confronts the member states and the neighbouring states with a wide range of challenges. The process of European integration raises issues such as creating a common European foreign and security policy and a European economic and social model. It is the objective of the FES to promote economic and political integration in Europe, especially in the transition economies of Eastern Europe, in a socially equitable manner.

The transatlantic dialogue historically evolved and continues to be a key factor in our work. Common policies are the only way to guarantee sustainable development and tackle global problems in partnership. The global network of the political partners of the FES provides a forum for sharing and learning. The partners include traditional parties and trade unions, non governmental organisations, academic and policy think tanks as well as governmental institutions (such as parliaments and ministries).