Promoting Tolerance Programme
After the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) directed its resources towards the establishment of offices in Central, East and Southeast Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia (CSEE). Its objective has been all along to support nascent efforts to build democracy and civic society. The American Jewish Committee (AJC), which had re-established connections with Jewish communities in the former communist countries, recognized that a Jewish revival in the region is dependent on a political environment committed to the values of democracy and tolerance and support for minority rights.
FNF and AJC realized that they shared a common goal and interest. A natural partnership emerged, which resulted in the programme ‘Promoting Tolerance in Central and Eastern Europe’, inaugurated in 1992. Since then, hundreds of participants from the CSEE countries have contributed their knowledge, competence and enthusiasm to the promotion of tolerance.
The fact that ‘Promoting Tolerance’ is a cooperative German-Jewish programme is no coincidence. The two sponsoring organizations have been promoting German-Jewish dialogue, understanding, and dealing with many of the difficult issues of the Holocaust. Through this programme both organizations realized that working together demonstrates the possibility and value of reconciliation despite a difficult past. In a Europe where ethnic and religious conflicts are still painful, this programme ‘Promoting Tolerance’ is their joint contribution to a better and more harmonious future.
About the Programme
‘Promoting Tolerance’ is an annual programme made up of the following three parts:
An Online Seminar with useful basic texts on minority integration and human rights policies, training tasks and forum discussions on relevant subjects; the online seminar assists the subsequent two parts.
An International Seminar in Europe which brings the participants together to both discuss the problems they face in their respective countries in combating intolerance and to develop methods for addressing the situation.
A Study Trip to the United States is the core element of the programme. It offers an opportunity to become familiar with the American models of inter-ethnic coexistence. AJC ensures that participants are exposed to a large variety of public and private projects and initiatives. The goal is not to instruct but to demonstrate. The intent is to contribute to the establishment of valuable contacts and the exchange of useful examples to be replicated back home.
The goals of ‘Promoting Tolerance’ Programme are:
- Promoting a climate of tolerance, pluralism, respect and an appreciation of diversity
- Improving the rights of minorities and creating an atmosphere of mutual acceptance
- Exchanging best practice experiences of multicultural societies
- Encouraging cross-border cooperation
- Promoting Tolerance through the strengthening of civil society
- Establishing and strengthening contacts between the various levels of society through the efforts of the programme’s open-minded, liberal participants and alumni.