Westerwelle Foundation

for International Understanding


The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding is a charitable and judicable foundation under civil law, located in Berlin. We were founded in December 2013 by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Guido Westerwelle and the entrepreneur Ralph Dommermuth. At its core the Westerwelle Foundation focuses on the Mittelstand as a model of society and businesses. Through its projects, especially the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme and the Westerwelle Startup Centres, the foundation aims at creating opportunities for young people in emerging and developing countries.

Creating Opportunities – Strengthening Democracy

The world is in a state of constant change.  Processes of globalization and digitalization are creating new opportunities all over the world. As boundaries between nations recede, new partnerships emerge, ideas are intertwined, and we move ever closer together. Countless people seek new pathways, undertaking inconceivable risks, striving to obtain peace and prosperity. This puts us all before new challenges. In order to meet them, we must commit to closer cooperation in designing our shared future. The risk of change and fear of the unknown should not impair our vision of new, emerging opportunities. It will require an investment in education, as well as an openness to new ideas.

The Westerwelle Foundation wants to contribute to this goal. We want to create more opportunities for more people around the world. We promote international understanding, and foster values of democracy, market-economy, rule-of-law and tolerance. Our founders’ biographies rest on these values.
We believe in the correlation of economic success and democratic participation. Our focus lies on empowering the middle class as a socioeconomic model, comparable to the idea of the German Mittelstand. Fostering cooporation between governments and civil societies, politics and economics facilitates this objective.

Prioritizing three focal points Educate. Promote. Connect. we turn disruption into innovation, conflict into consensus and contention into collaboration.


Our goal is to enable young talents to fully explore their potential and to become role models themselves by building a flourishing future.
Empowered by economic success, they will contribute as entrepreneurs, employers and prospective customers to a greater economic participation and a stabilization of democratic structures. Our international scholarship programmes foster practical training and solidification of knowledge. Globally this enables young scholars to acquire new skills, deepen expertise, gain insight into businesses and access fruitful networks.


We realize that an impulse is often sufficient to transform great ideas into effective activity. This is why we establish incubators with local partners, creating spaces in which ideas become reality. We establish arenas for new business ideas, platforms for an exchange among peers, access to national and international programmes as well as sustainable support and advice. We believe this should constitute our support to entrepreneurs on their journey to independence.


Within the context of our Young Founders Programme and global events, we connect people, transcending both cultural and geographical boundaries. We create a venue for cooperation and innovation, infusing new ideas with more possibilities. In our opinion, networking also includes combining science with practice. We encourage the analysis and conception of concrete initiatives facilitating democratic and economic participation as well as assign and give advice to scientific enterprises and relevant publications.


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Location Berlin, Germany
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Africa, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, United Republic of, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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