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Democracy needs Participation

Democracy needs Participation

When asked about our activities, the answer could be succinct: We are dedicated to fostering democracy, both in Germany and globally. On these pages, we detail our approach, the challenges we face, and our partners in this endeavor.


Democracy means the power of the people. Every individual is part of the people. Power entails responsibility. Each of us must be aware that we are also co-responsible for the entire political and economic processes.

Konrad Adenauer, 1954

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Ein Mann mit einem Megafon auf einer Demonstration oder Veranstaltung.
Discuss with us on social media under the hashtag: #KAS4Democracy.

The Heart of Our Democracy Beats in Parliaments

At Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, we believe participation is the fundamental principle of democracy and freedom. The heartbeat of our democracy resides in the parliaments, with democratic parties playing a key role in enabling citizens' political participation.

We understand that each democracy is unique, reflecting the distinct characteristics of its country. However, many democratic nations currently share a common challenge: they are under pressure. Parts of these societies, although a minority, express dissatisfaction with the state of democracy. In Germany, there's a rising belief in the efficiency of autocratic systems, overlooking the high cost paid under authoritarian regimes, such as the loss of freedoms and basic rights like property protection, co-determination, or pluralism.

We are committed to developing bold ideas and models for political participation within our representative democracy. Democracy thrives on pluralism, compromise, and a vibrant culture of debate. Our aim is to foster open, respectful, and tolerant discussions, leading to well-considered compromises and accepted decisions. This requires the continuous evolution of our debate culture, both offline and online, grounded in reliable information.


Empowering More Democratic Responsibility through Political Education

Through our political education forums, analyses, contemporary historical research, and international experiences, we strive to engage more people in democratic co-responsibility. Our experts in Germany and across more than 100 countries play a vital role in persuading people of the importance and value of staying informed and actively participating. We constantly explore ways to remain competitive, balance speed with political participation, and enhance the allure of liberal democracy and open society over authoritarian models. From our Christian democratic perspective, we see our mission in strengthening both individual responsibility and the sense of community cohesion essential in every democratic country.

International Offices and Programs

In our commitment to democracy, the rule of law, freedom and the social market economy, we always think in a networked and future-oriented way. For these reasons, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation maintains various programs and offices in numerous countries of operation.

International Media Program

Kameramann Tim Weber


Our offices in Johannesburg, Singapore, and Sofia spearhead the media program, which supports media entities in assuming their political responsibility and contributing to the development of democracy and the legal framework. The program particularly backs independent journalists who play a crucial role as “watchdogs,” fostering an independent and free media landscape and professional, value-oriented political communication between citizens and politicians.


Learn more about the Media Program

International Rule of Law Program

Weltkarte – Weltweit für den Rechtsstaat Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung


Since 1990, the Foundation has enhanced its international democracy promotion and political dialogue with the global Rule of Law Program. This initiative advocates for the separation of powers, strengthening rule-of-law structures, an independent judiciary, and the protection of fundamental human rights. The six regional programs are based in Bogotá (Colombia) for Latin America, Singapore for Asia, Nairobi (Kenya) and Dakar (Senegal) for Sub-Saharan Africa (Anglophone and Francophone), Bucharest (Romania) for Southeastern Europe, and Beirut (Lebanon) for the Middle East/North Africa. The global work on the rule of law is coordinated from Berlin, focusing on global rule-of-law issues.


Learn more about the Rule of Law Program

International Party and Political Dialogue

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung also focuses on democracy promotion at the international level, viewing political parties as vital actors in a vibrant and functional democracy. The Foundation supports democratic parties and politically engaged individuals, facilitating political dialogue and collaboration. Through local and international efforts, it creates platforms for dialogue among parties and their constituencies.


Learn more about International Party and Political Dialogue


Event Series

Numerous events centered around the theme “Democracy Needs Participation” are organized by the Foundation. These include the Berlin Legal Policy Conference, the Berlin Annual Review, Democracy Day, and the Municipal Congress. These events foster dialogue and engagement on critical legal and democratic issues.

Berlin Legal Policy Conference

Berliner Rechtspolitische Konferenz Titelbild


The prestigious Berlin Legal Policy Conference, held annually at The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's Academy, convenes high-ranking representatives from academia, the judiciary, and politics. They engage in dynamic panel discussions about current legal policy issues.


Learn more about the Berlin Legal Policy Conference

Berlin Annual Review

Das Karlsruher Gerichtsjahr_2022_1.jpeg @Juliane Liebers, KAS


The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has initiated the Berlin Annual Review, a series dedicated to the Federal Constitutional Court and its role as the premier interpreter and protector of the Basic Law. This forum highlights the Court's most significant decisions from the previous year.


Learn more about the Berlin Annual Review

Democracy Day

Junge Schüler informieren sich in Greifswald über den Tag der Demokratie am KAS-Stand KAS


In order to promote and defend the principles of democracy, September 15 was declared International Democracy Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, through its political education efforts, strives to contribute by educating the German populace, enabling them to stand up for our liberal democracy and actively engage in society and politics. Consequently, The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is present with information booths in various German cities each year on September 15.


Learn more about Democracy Day

Municipal Congress

Kommunalkongress Titelbild Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V.


Annually, The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organizes a nationwide Municipal Congress. This congress is designed to motivate individuals toward community-oriented local political action and inspire them to participate in local politics. The event offers opportunities to meet pioneering individuals and projects, encouraging engagement in local politics or neighborhood activities.


Learn more about the Municipal Congress


Podcasts, Publication and Website Projects

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has developed a variety of publications, website projects, and podcasts, focusing on different aspects of democracy and participation. These are some notable ones:

Defensible Democracy

Illustration des Reichstagsgebäudes shutterstock/Carabus • Karl-Michael Constien und racken GmbH, Berlin • yellow too, Pasiek Horntrich GbR


The Russian attack on Ukraine has put the question of the defensibility of democracy at the center of public interest. Our collection of essays and major campaign are dedicated to the various threats facing our free society, not just from military power.


Learn more about the topic of “Defensible Democracy” or go directly to the essay volume “Die wehrhafte(re) Demokratie”.

Disinformation – Threat and Danger to Democracy and Society

Kampf gegen Desinformation KAS


Authoritarian states use disinformation to sway public opinion and destabilize democratic societies. In the digital age, disinformation has taken on new dimensions and poses a risk to our democracy. Our campaign is committed to fighting disinformation and promoting a resilient democracy.


Learn more about the topic “Disinformation – Threat and Danger to Democracy and Society”


Extremismus KAS/ Charlotte Becker


The Extremism project of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung serves as a comprehensive knowledge portal on “left-wing extremism,” “right-wing extremism,” “Islamism,” and “conspiracy theories.” The articles and analyses, mostly authored by renowned experts, delve into the complexities and nuances of these topics.


Learn more about the Extremism project

Election Analyses and Demoscopy

Wahlurne Fotolia


Our project “Election Analyses and Demoscopy” primarily focuses on the analytical examination of federal, state, and European elections, as well as the public's satisfaction with the democratic political system.


Learn more about the “Election Analyses and Demoscopy” project

Protests in Iran

Amir Kabir University uprising Darafsh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0


“Zan, Zendegi, Azadi - Woman, Life, Freedom”: Under this slogan, thousands of Iranians have been protesting since mid-September 2022. They are demanding more rights, freedoms, and the end of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's regime. The protests erupted following the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained by the morality police for allegedly violating strict dress codes. The protests are unprecedented, drawing people from all walks of life and age groups. The demands range from more freedoms to the overthrow of the regime and “death to the dictator.” The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is monitoring the situation from its headquarters in Berlin and its regional offices.


Learn more about the protests in Iran

Freedom of Expression and Press in Latin America

Demonstrators shout slogans against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's government during a demonstration to mark World Press Freedom Day in Managua Oswaldo Rivas


Our project on “Freedom of Expression and Press in Latin America” provides insights into the setbacks in freedom of expression and press in the region. You will receive comprehensive information about the current situation there. Special focus is given to topics such as “Disinformation,” “Journalism under Pressure,” and “Shrinking Spaces.”


Learn more about freedom of expression and press freedom in Latin America

Change in the culture of language and debate

Zum Wandel der Sprach- und Debattenkultur


We've observed a significant shift in language and debate culture. The tone of public discussions has become harsher and often crosses boundaries, whether in parliament or on social media. Our project page includes studies and expert conversations exploring this changing debate culture.


Learn more about the project “Debate Culture”

Human Rights : Inquired



In our podcast “Human Rights : Inquired,” we discuss current significant human rights issues with experts. We aim to clarify complex matters and provide background information not typically found in newspapers.


Learn more about the “Human Rights : Inquired” podcast


Seminar, Didactic, and Scholarship Offers

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung offers an engaging doctoral program for those studying the political upheavals post the Soviet Union's collapse and the transition from authoritarian socialist regimes to democratic structures. Additionally, we highlight our numerous local political activities conducted as part of our political education work for various groups, including local decision-makers, interested citizens, and youth.

Doctoral Program “Democracies in Europe – Transformations after 1990”

The “Democracies in Europe – Transformations after 1990” doctoral program aims to delve into the essential questions of historical-political transformation research, focusing on the period after the Soviet Union's dissolution and the post-Soviet transformation processes in Eastern and Central European EU countries. The program primarily targets doctoral students in contemporary history and political sciences. Participants receive a scholarship as part of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's doctoral funding program.


Learn more about the doctoral program

Local Political Education Offers

Christoph Jansen eröffnete das Forum Kommunalpolitik in Sankt Ingbert. KAS/Thomas Langer


A key pillar in Germany's democratic system, local self-government is a crucial focus for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Our online resource “Local Politics in Germany” provides not only information on key local political fields but also an extensive educational offering for different target groups. Whether for citizens interested in local politics, students, or local decision-makers in administration and politics, there is something for everyone.


Learn more about local political education offers

Women's College

Michaela Peisger, Head of Finance Germany der KPMG AG, Berlin (im Bild rechts). KAS / Stefan Stahlberg


Despite progress, women remain underrepresented in politics, business, and society. Our diverse events encourage women to take on responsibility. Therefore, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung offers a nationwide seminar program specifically for women.


Learn more about the Women's College



The Konrad Adenauer Foundation awards the German Local Journalist Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of local and regional reporting. First awarded in 1980.

German Local Journalist Award

Konrad Adenauer beim Zeitunglesen KAS


Local journalists and editors are pivotal in moderating local discussions and serving society and democracy. Through the German Local Journalist Award, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung supports young journalists in exceptional projects. Annually, the award recognizes editorial offices and newspapers that address complex issues, implement community-oriented concepts, or advocate for their readership.


Learn more about the German Local Journalist Award

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Daphne Wolter

Daphne Wolter

Head of the Department Democracy, Law and Political Parties / Media +49 30 26996-3607
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