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Participation and Values


Holistic education makes use of heads, hands and hearts, since children need both cognitive and social skills if they are to find their way through life. In countries that have experienced significant inflows of immigrants such as Germany, it is important that schools increase awareness among students of other cultures and religions. In a democracy, moreover, education must focus on helping students become socially and politically active. Individual commitment and values of course play a key role in whether or not young people get involved; in addition, however, children need the appropriate opportunities and skills. Moreover, they must be supported in their endeavors by their families, schools and local communities. In its educational projects, the Bertelsmann Stiftung thus focuses on a holistic portfolio of educational goals, including helping schools impart intercultural and social skills as well as democratic values as a way of encouraging individuals throughout Germany to contribute to the common good.

Focus areas


Germany’s future as a global player depends on its opening itself to the outside world and its learning to embrace diversity. In addition, it must reinforce its commitment to democratic values at home. Our projects in the area of democracy and integration are designed to address these pressing challenges.

Young people talking

Promoting Civic Engagement Among Young People

Many children and adolescents very much want to contribute to the common good. All too rarely, however, is this desire to get involved promoted in any systematic manner or integrated into other social development efforts. Yet providing young people with opportunities to show their social commitment helps them in other ways as well: to learn by doing, to develop their social skills and to grow as individuals. Society benefits as well, since civic engagement has an integrating effect while preventing substance abuse, crime and violence. In addition, young people who experience the satisfaction of getting involved in their younger years are more willing to take responsibility as adults.

Religion and Society

In these times of globalization and increasing social pluralization, issues relating to social values and cultural orientation are becoming ever more important. Through its projects, the Bertelsmann Stiftung focuses on the topics of values-based education, religious diversity and the importance of interreligious competence as a key skill for the 21st century.


Intercultural Competence

As a result of globalization, life is becoming more heterogeneous and diverse. Through its projects, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is committed to increasing awareness of “intercultural competence” and to promoting it through an integrated educational approach.


Contact person Democracy and Integration
Ulrich Kober Ulrich Kober
+49 5241 81-81598
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