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The German Political Foundations as Actors in Democracy Assistance

by Alexander Mohr

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Institution: Centre d'Etudes Diplomatiques et Strategiques
Advisor(s): Eugene Berg
Degree: Ph.D. in Political Science/International Relations
Year: 2010
Volume: 441 pages
ISBN-10: 1599423316
ISBN-13: 9781599423319


In Germany, political foundations (Stiftungen) play an important role in shaping civil society through political democracy education. The foundations, however, have also committed themselves to strengthening democratic political and societal structures abroad. Their joint mission abroad is the contribution to democratic structures, information and debate in the countries and regions they are working in. They complement the official German foreign policy, but choose their own priorities and strategies.

The focus of this thesis is the German political foundations as actors in democracy assistance. ‘Democracy assistance’ focuses less on the aspects of technical assistance but much more on political parties and the promotion of civil society as the backbone of democracy.

Democracy assistance is a relatively recent international development activity of governments and international organizations. In recent years the international community has come to realize the importance of political parties and a well-functioning political party system for the process of democratisation. Here the German political foundations are working internationally as actors in democracy assistance - independent from the German government but at the same time fully state-funded.

The objectives of this dissertation are to understand the work and strategies of the German political foundations as actors in the context of democracy assistance abroad, research their partner spectrums on selected countries, to identify their short comings and to give an outlook of the foundations work in the future in the fast-changing global political environment.

About The Author

Dr. Alexander Mohr specializes in democracy-related consulting issues, political consulting, and strategic planning. He worked for the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation as National Director Zimbabwe, located in Johannesburg, South Africa and Harare, Zimbabwe. He started his career as Personal Assistant to the Friedrich Naumann Foundation's Regional Director East- and Southeast Asia located in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Mohr lectured on international relations at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (SciencesPo) and is Senior Advisor to the permanent Thai Delegation at the UNESCO in Paris. He writes on a regular basis for international newspapers on regional integration and democracy related issues.