23 May, 2018

Friedrich Naumann Foundation turns 60

Liberal quotations and visual mementos from 60 years of the work of the Friedrich Naumman Foundation for Freedom (FNF) were hanging from the ceiling in the huge former factory hall of the Station Berlin. History meets modernity. To remember the past while at the same time looking to the future, this is what the ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom was about. The connection between the past and the present was reflected not just in the decoration, but also in the speeches of the ceremony.

Prof. Jürgen Morlok, the Chaiperson of the Board of Trustees of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, emphasised the special importance of political foundations at the start of the event, which saw the venue filled to capacity with about 600 representatives of political and economic figures and socialites. "Political foundations are a uniquely German thing, a feature of civil society that Europe and parts of the rest of the world are envying us for," he said.

Christian Lindner, FDP's party leader and member of the Board of Trustees of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, expressed acknowledgment for the work of the foundation. He said that FNF has earned respect across ideological and national borders with its efforts for democracy and against populism: "The Foundation helps encourage people all over the world to seize opportunities. Courageous, optimistic, and open-minded—I am positive that its founder, Theodor Heuss, would be proud if he could see how the Foundation has developed."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented that FNF has been promoting civil liberties for six secades: "The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is a big promise. FNF keeps its promises. It does not shy away from difficult topics; it speaks out on present controversies; it demonstrates what liberal conviction means today."

The future of FNF will be shaped to a significant degree by Prof. Karl-Heinz Paqué, currently Deputy Chairperson of the Foundation. In coming September, he will succeed Wolfgang Gerhardt in the executive seat. In his closing remarks, Paqué stated: "There is much to do in the area of political education—within our borders and without. This keeps us motivated." Motivation is an important prerequisite because, according to Paqué, "freedom is an attitude. Only those who argue with enthusiasm and passion can hope to convince."

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