Future Topics of International Activities

Four major future topics will shape our work over the coming years:

  1. Dealing with the consequences of globalisation
  2. Crisis and conflict prevention
  3. Advocacy of a new foreign policy culture in Germany and finally
  4. Value-orientation of development policy action.
Furthermore, the foundation analyses problems in the area of foreign policy, European and development policy and injects the acquired expertise into political decision-making process.

I. Dealing with the Consequences of Globalisation

The globalisation debate is set to intensify further given that the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Hence, worries and fears associated with globalisation need be addressed in much more depth than was previously the case. It cannot be allowed that developing countries are the perpetual losers when it comes to globalisation. That does not mean a wholesale rejection of opening up markets and liberalising the international capital market. Nevertheless, globalisation does require an international regulatory framework reflecting principles of the social market economy. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung will therefore progressively introduce the social market economy model into the regulatory dialogue with other states and societies – and on a worldwide scale. Developing countries should be more closely integrated into processes of global communication. Their voice needs to resonate more powerfully. The foundation sees itself as an advocate for their cause.

Globalisation not only constitutes a challenge for developmental activities, however. Globalisation also requires a redefinition of collaboration with partners throughout Europe. Europe has already achieved a lot. Yet, the foundation remains committed to Konrad Adenauer’s vision of a united Europe. To this end, it is important to actively participate in a variety of discussions and voting process throughout Europe. This ranges from critical/constructive support of the European Convention, to the promotion and support of candidate countries in central and Eastern Europe when acceding to the European Union.

The historically unprecedented experiment of sovereign states voluntarily integrating with one another by relinquishing sovereignty in order to become a political union is an exciting and stimulating model especially in a globalised world. It therefore makes sense to share experiences and discussions with other regions of the world. Because outside Europe, too, there is a growing realisation that some issues can no longer be solved by nations alone and that the future lies in deepening regional cooperation in an era of globalisation. In this sense, the Middle East represents both a particular challenge and obligation alike.

Last but not least, globalisation has a bearing on the cohesion of the transatlantic community. Building on these relations has always been a fundamental pillar underpinning the work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. In light of new global conditions, the Euro-Atlantic community of values needs to be placed on a renewed and more stable footing. Civil societies need to be more closely networked so as to intensify cohesion at the societal level. However, the foundation would also like to contribute towards dialogue between the USA and other regions around the world. Problems in the world cannot be solved without the USA. Yet, unbridled capitalism, which is particularly visible in the US economy, is part of the problem.

II. Crisis and Conflict Prevention

Since its inception, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has viewed its international activities as a contribution towards peace and security worldwide. The buzzword of “global public policy” is by no means new, but has gained in importance during the 1990s and particularly since 11 September 2001. It is clear that political anarchy provokes instability, is a breeding ground for terrorism and results in refugee flows and poverty. The fate of South-eastern Europe has shown all too clearly that we are not dealing with a phenomenon in some remote part of the world; instead, it is one, which might occur at Europe’s front door and directly impact upon Germany as well. The question about dealing with political anarchy or the collapse of state structures is no less important than the discussion surrounding international law as an instrument of and guarantee for international stability.

International action needs to focus more on crisis prevention than on repair. The following applies to the foundation: If a conflict has already become a hot conflict, the foundation has only limited room for manoeuvre. Hence, the foundation’s efforts should be directed either towards thwarting the emergence of crises, or at least towards preventing their transformation into military violence. That is why great importance is placed on identifying potential sources of conflict and devising strategies to avoid conflicts. An important building block here is the global cooperation of think tanks, which is actively pursued by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and which intends to facilitate a new foreign policy approach.

Greater consideration of the connection between culture, religion and politics is becoming increasingly important. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung sets the horror scenario of a fight of cultures against the future vision of a dialogue of cultures. More knowledge about one another goes hand in hand with more understanding for one another. The special programme “Dialogue with Islam” that is devoted to fostering intercultural understanding and reconciliation between denominations is based on this conviction.

The question arises as to whether states even have the means and if so, which ones, to deal with international cultural and religious conflicts.

III. Advocacy for a New Foreign Policy Culture in Germany

Germany is no longer merely a beneficiary of international politics, but also plays a supporting and active role. That requires foreign policy leadership as well as the ability to forge coalitions enforcing German and European interests within the international framework. Therefore, historical awareness and reliability must also determine actions, just like predictability and respect for partners. The shift to thinking in global contexts has taken hold in politics. However, it cannot keep apace with its level of consciousness among the German public. That is because foreign policy no longer lies within the exclusive remit of experts and politicians, but affects a variety of societal and economic actors instead. The foundation’s dedication to the foreign policy discussion is required more than ever before. It needs to resolutely support a new foreign policy culture in Germany.

The only way to enable forward-looking action and wide social acceptance is through a stronger domestic political justification of German foreign policy. Domestic, foreign and development policy are now one and indivisible and need to be more closely integrated in the future. This requires more foreign policy expertise in Germany. A country that in future wants to play a more active role in the world and has to assume more responsibility, requires appropriately trained elites.

IV. Value-Orientation of Development Policy Action

Sustained commitment to a fair political order calls for clearly defined ethical principles. . Global regulations, including international law, can only function if they are generally accepted. However, acceptance can only be created voluntarily if there is a common basis of values. Only with common values, can we achieve understanding and confidence building and incorporate predictability into thinking and acting. The commitment to universally binding values, derived from the Christian understanding of people, also forms the profile and without which the foundation’s international work would be ineffective. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung wants to be objective but not neutral. It takes a stance!

We view partisanship for fair structures and solidarity with the weak as a commandment emanating from Christian responsibility. This forms the foundation for strong advocacy of liberal/constitutional democracy and the associated concept of social market economy. Everyone needs to know what the foundation stands for, what it does, but also what it does not do. This adherence to values makes the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung a credible partner in cooperation with people from other cultures and denominations. To this day, the basis of values has made the foundation unique and will continue to be its hallmark throughout the world for years to come.