International Academy for Leadership (IAF)

International Academy for Leadership (IAF)
Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit

The Foundation established the International Academy for Leadership (IAF) as a forum and venue for international political dialogue, first in Sintra (Portugal), in the early 1990s, and later on in Gummersbach (Germany), at the Theodor Heuss Academy, in 1995. Here Participants from all over the world are able to find an opportunity to share political experiences, address cultural issues and jointly seek liberal solutions to current problems.

The IAF events, designed in close cooperation with the Foundation’s projects abroad, bring together well-known experts and personalities in various fields, as well as opinion leaders, committed young liberals and budding leaders in order to discuss international topics concerning politics, economics, science, mass media and security matters. In this intercontinental, tolerant and free forum, participants share specific experiences and knowledge, come up with liberal solutions and put forward common approaches promoting intellectual freedom, cultural diversity and global relations.

Thanks to its multicultural reach, the IAF encourages tolerance among cultures, religions and political systems, thus contributing to conflict prevention and peace. Moreover, it strengthens links in the continents and regions where the Foundation runs projects. Participants in IAF activities become opinion builders in their own countries, advancing liberal political ideas and solutions.


Seminars and Workshops

The International Academy for Leadership organizes seminars and workshops both at the Theodor Heuss Academy (in Gummersbach) and at other German and European venues. The training and informational activities include:

  • two-week seminars for younger leaders;
  • one-week seminars for established leaders;
  • training workshops on skills and methods for FNF partners and counterparts working on projects abroad;
  • 30 day Seminar on Human Rights at IIDH in Strasbourg.

These IAF activities, especially those involving international visits, strengthens our relationships with politicians and officials from government agencies, parties, associations, companies, organisations and projects working in Germany and abroad. The exchanging and transfer of knowledge contributes to a holistic dialogue between liberal opinion leaders in Germany, Europe and FNF project countries. The Theodor Heuss Academy is a political training center and serves as a venue for exchanges of ideas between German and international guests. Apart from the official seminar programmes, it offers ample opportunity for building networks and personal contacts between individual participants, be they leaders, international opinion leaders, former FNF scholarship holders, German liberals as well as politically-aware citizens. The Academy has evolved into a valuable source of liberal ideas, contributing significantly to the work of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

For 12 days, we were like family. It seemed barriers between cultures, religions, territories had all melted and the fact that we were all human beings possessing the same characteristics of humanity took precedence.

Deepan Kumar Sarkar, Alumni - "Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights", 2016

Topics and Methods

The IAF events focus on the themes related to globalisation and development, education, peace and conflict management, local government policies, civil society involvement, rule of law, private property, human and civil rights, bureaucracy reduction and deregulation.

The IAF uses a variety of methods, including case studies, role playing, working groups, plenary meetings, debates, dialogues and reporting to enable participants and target groups to formulate solutions to political issues. This endeavour involves state-of-the-art presentation and conference facilities, IT equipment and active learning materials.

The International e-Academy – based on the Foundation’s successful model of the “Virtuelle Akademie” – was set up in order to provide a broad range of blended learning options. Operating under the slogan of “Global Blended Liberal Learning”, the online events complement the IAF face-to-face seminars and information gatherings. Worldwide networking is made easy. The blended learning seminars are a groundbreaking and promising approach, offering thoroughgoing topic discussion and follow-up opportunities to participants. In recognition of its innovative e-learning approach, our International e-Academy was granted the “European e-Learning Award” in 2008.

The International e-Academy provides a platform for international exchange and global liberal networking to FNF alumni, former scholarship holders, friends and promoters.