On Human Rights Day, December 10, 2004, Wangari Maathai, recipient of the Petra Kelly Prize and longtime project partner of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. We were delighted about the choice of the first female Nobel Peace Laureate from Africa; more than any other personality, Wangari Maathai and her activism stand for the connection between environmental protection, democracy and civil conflict resolution.
But congratulations are in order for other project partners as well: The Russian human rights organization Memorial and Islam scholar Ali Ashar Engineer were awarded an alternative Nobel Prize. Memorial was honored for its courageous work under difficult conditions, for example in Chechnya; and Ali Ashar Engineer was honored for his activities promoting tolerance and understanding, both within India and between the nations of Southeast Asia. What we have in common with the prizewinners and a multitude of cooperation partners throughout the world is our continual work for democracy and human rights, for socially and ecologically just development. Almost all regions in which the Heinrich Böll Foundation works must deal with either acute or latent conflict and violent structures. As such, we support programs on conflict management, reconciliation and the establishment of democratic institutions.
New ideas are needed to tackle the foreign and domestic policy challenges facing us; these include global security, the future of international law, reform of the social systems, and education policy. For example, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has initiated a project on international law, in which experts from scholarship, politics and the Foundation participated. The result of that collaboration is a Memorandum titled “The Role of International Law in a Globalized World.”
The Heinrich Böll Foundation has always placed particular value on art as a medium for addressing societal processes. The exhibition titled “Identity versus Globalization,” which was shown in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Berlin, was nonetheless a very special event: approximately 50 artists from ten Southeast Asian countries presented their works in a threemonth exhibition in Berlin, giving us the opportunity to familiarize ourselves from a unique perspective with the dynamic processes of this region under the conditions of globalization. The year 2004 marked a giant step forward in the history of the European Union: with the enlargement by ten new member countries, the Union has overcome the East-West division of Europe. The Community has attained more political and cultural diversity as well as economic strength. But the process of enlargement has also brought with it new internal struggles over distribution and political tensions. This made it all the more important to reach agreement on the new common Constitution in October. The Heinrich Böll Foundation monitored these developments along with other non-governmental organizations and political actors, Think Tanks, universities and Green networks. The Foundation office in Brussels serves as a liaison to the European institutions. In addition to the European constitutional process and the debate on democracy and civil rights in the EU, we have also addressed the membership negotiations with Turkey, the debate on the future borders of the EU, and are discussing the issue of the future role of Europe in the world. One example of project work in the European Union is the “Rivers Link Regions” project, which we introduce in this report.
Berlin, April 2005
Ralf Fücks, Barbara Unmüssig
Executive Board of the Heinrich Böll Foundation
Table of contents:
- PREFACE BY THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND GLOBALIZATION
- SECURITY POLICY AND CRISIS PREVENTION
- EUROPEAN NEIGHBOR POLICY
- DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
- THE POLITICS OF OUR KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY
- CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AND MEDIA
- GENDER DEMOCRACY
- MIGRATION AND INTERCULTURAL MANAGEMENT
- ART AND CULTURE
- FEMINIST INSTITUTE
- GREEN ACADEMY
- PROMOTING YOUNG TALENT
- NEWS FROM THE FOUNDATION
- PERSONNEL AND FUNDING
- OFFICES ABROAD