The Berghof Foundation is an independent, non-governmental and non-profit organisation, supporting conflict stakeholders and actors in their efforts to achieve sustainable peace through peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Established by Professor Georg Zundel in 1971, the Foundation is to this day owned by members of the Zundel family, who in their roles as shareholders and trustees are committed to the long-term development of the organisation. Based in Germany, the Foundation is run by a diverse team working closely with partners in selected regions. An experienced and international Board of Trustees supports its work.
Our vision is a world in which people maintain peaceful relations and overcome violence as a means of political and social change. While we consider conflict to be an integral and often necessary part of political and social life, we believe that violence in conflict is not inevitable. We are convinced that protracted violent conflicts can be transformed into sustained collaboration, when spaces for conflict transformation allow drivers of change to prosper and constructively engage with each other.
For more information read our Strategic Vision.Top
Creating space for conflict transformation.
We work with like-minded partners in selected regions to enable conflict stakeholders and actors to develop non-violent responses in the face of conflict-related challenges. In doing so, we rely on the knowledge, skills and resources available in the areas of conflict research, peace support and peace education. By combining our regional experience with a thematic focus on cutting-edge issues we aim to be a learning organisation capable of supporting sustained efforts for conflict transformation.
Our engagement is based on the values of inclusivity, ownership and reflection, which guide our decisions:
Inclusivity means participation by those affected. It ensures that all relevant views and interests are addressed. Because it requires a willingness to engage, inclusivity contributes to the building of trust between actors and fosters a culture of peace and nonviolence.
Ownership means assuming responsibility. Just as we assume responsibility for our organisation, conflict stakeholders and actors must have the resources to assume responsibility for conflict-related challenges.
Reflection means welcoming opportunities for contemplating and seeing things from new perspectives. Realistic self-assessment lies at the heart of learning and innovation, both for us as an organisation and for conflict stakeholders and actors.Top
Sustained conflict transformation is always the result of a collaborative effort. For that reason we work closely with like-minded partners to inspire the constructive engagement of others. We aspire to create spaces for conflict transformation which integrate knowledge, skills and resources in a shared process of reflective learning.
Building Capacities for Engagement
Local needs and requests guide our engagement in selected regions. Receptive to all parties’ interests, we want to create the conditions for conflict stakeholders and actors to safely and constructively engage with each other. In this, we offer our knowledge, skills and resources to build individual and institutional capacities. A targeted grant programme complements our activities. Building bridges between conflict stakeholders and actors, our support is always fair, empathetic and informed by our values.
Supporting Sustained Transformation
There are neither linear blueprints for conflict transformation, nor quick fixes. Sustained transformation of violent conflicts means addressing systemic root causes, as well as “proxy” causes that emerge from the experience of war. Deconstructing social and political violence depends upon changing stereotyped mindsets, attitudes and behaviours. Providing effective support towards this end requires long-term commitment, as well as persistence despite repeated stalemates, backlashes and moments of reescalation.
Inspiring Reflective Learning
Conflict transformation is a learning process, but it is also learning by doing. Reflective learning enables conflict stakeholders and actors to critically reassess their roles and policies. At the same time it is essential to develop and improve our work. Therefore we see ourselves as a learning organisation, providing a collaborative space for experts and partners to learn with and from each other.
For more information read our Strategic Vision.Top
Established during the height of the Cold War by Professor Dr Georg Zundel, the Berghof Foundation can look back at a history of success. Peacebuilding in research, practice and education is now firmly rooted in Germany, after the Foundation has given its support to hundreds of projects and the establishment of several institutions.
Ten Milestones on the Road to the Berghof Foundation
The Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies is founded by Georg Zundel as a private limited company with charitable tax-exempt status under German law. Initial support is provided for critical analyses of the arms race during the Cold War.
Beginning of support for the Association (later Institute) for Peace Education Tübingen.
The Foundation establishes a research facility in Berlin, the Research Institute of the Berghof Foundation. Its emphasis is on altering the dynamics of the arms race. In 1993 it becomes the Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management (later Berghof Conflict Research), shifting its focus to the resolution of ethno-political conflict.
Groundwork is laid for the Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation. Practical and theoretical research takes place in the Balkans and the Caucasus.
The Association for Peace Education Tübingen is awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.
The Resource Network for Conflict Studies and Transformation begins its sustained programme of local work with the conflict parties in Sri Lanka.
Berghof Peace Support is established to provide globally-oriented support for peace processes.
Project work is extended to resistance and liberation movements and former non-state armed groups. The network now spans 20 countries.
Founder Georg Zundel dies. His family resolves to carry on the Foundation’s work.
Three areas that had been operating independently – conflict research, peace support and peace education – are integrated into a new entity: the Berghof Foundation.
The Berghof Foundation is based in the Berghof Center, in Berlin, Germany. Beyond that the Foundation also maintains a branch office in Tübingen, located in the South of Germany, as well as project offices in a number of countries, depending on project requirements.
The Berghof Center
The Foundation’s headquarters is the Berghof Center, located in Berlin, the political centre of Germany. Not far from the premises of the Free University Berlin, in the district of Dahlem, the building has been hosting Foundation projects since 1971. Today it provides space for the executive offices of the Berghof Foundation, as well as the majority of our administrative, research and peace support staff. The Berghof Center runs an in-house library, specialising in literature related to conflict transformation. The library is accessible to the public upon request.
Berghof Center in Berlin-Dahlem
Georg Zundel Haus
The Foundation maintains a branch office in Tübingen, the hometown of Professor Dr Georg Zundel, located in the South of Germany. Named in honour of its founder, the Georg Zundel Haus has been hosting peace education staff since 2002. The bright and spacious building has a large meeting room, allowing the institute to host seminars, workshops, expert discussions, presentations and professional gatherings. The Georg Zundel Haus also contains a library specialised in peace education, as well as an extensive media collection.
Georg Zundel Haus in Tübingen
Depending upon requirements, project offices may be considered in other countries, based on project needs and upon the request of our partners.