Who we are
Heinrich Böll Foundation
The Heinrich-Böll-Foundation is part of the Green political movement, which has developed in Germany in the 1970ies and 1980ies as response to the global ecological crises, gender inequality, and the nuclear threat. The traditional ideologies (socialism, liberalism, conservatism) had no answers to these crises.
hbs - as part of the family of German Political Foundations – is the foundation affiliated to the German Green Party. The publication of the 1962 bestseller “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, the 1972 Club of Rome Report “The Limits to Growth”, the threat of a nuclear world war spurred by e.g. the Cuba crisis and the built-up of nuclear weapons in Europe in the early 1980ies, and finally the Tschernobyl disaster in 1986 were pivotal in the development of the Green movement and the German Green Party.
Our main areas of work are ecology and sustainable, democracy building, human rights and social justice. We place particular emphasis on gender democracy, meaning social emancipation and equal rights for women and men. We are also committed to equal rights for cultural and ethnic minorities and to the societal and political participation of immigrants. Finally, we promote non-violence and proactive peace policies.
To achieve our goals, we seek strategic partnerships with others who share our values. We are an independent organization, that is, we determine our own priorities and policies. We are based in the Federal Republic of Germany, yet we are an international actor in both ideal and practical terms. Currently, hbs has 32 offices world-wide. Our namesake, the writer and Nobel Prize laureate Heinrich Böll, personifies the values we stand for: defense of freedom, civic courage, tolerance, open debate, and the valuation of art and culture as independent spheres of thought and action.
We Are a Green Think Tank
- We promote democratic reforms and social innovation.
- We work on ecological policies and sustainable development on a global level.
- We provide space for the presentation of and debate on art and culture.
- We transfer knowledge and skills from experts to political actors.
- We provide a forum for open debate and promote dialogue between politics, business, academia, and society.
- We support talented students active on socio-political issues both in Germany and abroad.
- We document the history of the Green movement in order to promote research and provide political inspiration.
We Are an International Policy Network
- We are part of the global Green network and promote the development of the Green political movement on all continents.
- We focus especially on the broadening and deepening of the European Green movement.
- We work actively for the development of a political European public.
- We support the participation of civil society in politics and, within the framework of multilateral organizations, take part in conferences and negotiations.
We Are Active on Ecology, Democracy, and Human Rights Worldwide
- We consider ecology and democracy to be inseparable. We therefore support individuals and projects that are committed to ecology, human rights, democracy, and self-determination.
- We support respect for the rule of law and democratic participation in all parts of the world.
- We promote the abolition of conditions of dominance, dependency, and violence between the sexes.
- We encourage civic and civil-society activism as it is a constituent factor of all democratic political culture.
- We train activists so that they can successfully self-organise and participate in political processes.
Mutual respect and trusting co-operation among ourselves and with our partners are the bases of our business relationships.
We are an open organization. The executive board and all of our employees engage in open dialogue, both internally and externally.
We promote equal opportunities, attentive, respectful dealings between women and men, intercultural competence, and a productive engagement with diversity.
We aim to constantly evaluate and improve our work. We undertake and take seriously both internal and external evaluations.
Commitment, expert and social competence, and flexibility are features of our employees, both in Germany and abroad. They are highly qualified, team-oriented and, with their high level of motivation, they constitute the most important asset of the Foundation.
We strive to be a reliable partner for volunteer work and for co-operation with third parties.
We handle the funds at our disposal economically and efficiently and assure transparent operations.
As a political foundation, we act independently; this also applies in respect to our relationship with the German Green Party. We are autonomous in selecting our executive officers and staffing our committees.