Dr. Mark Wössner becomes chairman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Advisory Council

The longtime chairman of the Bertelsmann AG Executive Board, Dr. Mark Wössner, replaces Reinhard Mohn as chairman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Advisory Council.

Bertelsmann Stiftung staff tops the 200 mark.

In 1999, the number of employees rises to 201.

1999 International Foundation Symposium: The role of community foundations in civil society

Community foundations are among the fastest growing segments of the international foundation world. What began in 1914 as a local experiment in the USA has since spread to many other communities, cities and regions around the world, with rising interest in Europe as well for some time now. As a result, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation have joined forces to promote the development of community foundations in Germany and Europe and to initiate an international exchange of experiences. To launch this initiative, the Bertelsmann Stiftung hosts an international symposium in Gütersloh on March 9 and 10, 1999, on "The role of community foundations in civil society."

Discussion focuses on how community foundations contribute to the formation and development of civil society, as well as strategies, methods and tools for effective foundation work. What role can community foundations play in building vibrant local communities? From an international perspective, what are good models and promising approaches to the work of community foundations? These questions are addressed with experts from the USA, Canada and Europe, who reported on their own experience in this area.

1999 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Vocational education and training of the future

Award ceremony for the Carl Bertelsmann Prize on September 16, 1999, in the Gütersloh Stadthalle. From left: Mark Wössner, Margrethe Vestager, Liz and Reinhard Mohn; in the background, Lothar Späth.

To provide new inspiration for vocational education in Germany, Denmark is awarded the 1999 Carl Bertelsmann Prize for its exemplary educational system. Danish Education Minister Margrethe Vestager accepts the award on behalf of her country.

1999 NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition

Finale of the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition on October 9, 1999, at the Gütersloh Stadthalle. Group photo with Liz Mohn and prize winner Tina Schlenker. From left: Director Johannes Wildner, Tina Schlenker, Gustav Kuhn and Liz Mohn.

The 1999 NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition draws a record 1,022 applications. Inaugurated twelve years earlier by Liz Mohn as a "European Singing Contest," it has become established as the Olympics of the opera world. Now known and appreciated far beyond the borders of Europe, the event ranks among the most renowned and significant venues for promoting young talent. This year’s winner, Tina Schlenker, is the first German to win the competition. Second prize goes to Andrei Dounaev of Russia, and Paul Gay of France takes third place.

1999 International Bertelsmann Forum: "Central and Eastern Europe on the way into the European Union"

Dedication of the renovated Chopin memorial in Warsaw's Lazienki Park in conjunction with the International Bertelsmann Forum held in Warsaw in 1999. (left to right) Henry Kissinger, Richard von Weizsäcker, Liz Mohn and Ryszard Kalisz.

In 1955, the Warsaw Pact was signed at the former Governor's Palace in Warsaw, now the Presidential Palace. In 1989, at the same location, the Polish government and opposition discussed the democratization of Poland. Seated at the same round table where those deliberations gave important impetus to the transformation of central and eastern Europe, more than 50 decision makers and experts from the spheres of politics, business, culture and the media now discuss how the European Union can define its relationships to the nations of eastern Europe that will be its immediate neighbors after its enlargement.

5th Kronberg Talks: "Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. Steps towards comprehensive stability"

The fifth Kronberg Talks, held December 7–9, 1999, focus on Europe's policies toward the Near East and Africa.

This trans-Mediterranean dialogue critically examines the European Union’s goal of creating a common economic and cultural area from Finland to Morocco and from Ireland to Jordan. Participants also discuss paths and goals for strengthening the peace process between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Initiative for Employment – OWL Regional Network

The Regional Network Eastern Westphalia-Lippe (Regionalnetzwerk Ostwestfalen-Lippe, OWL) develops and implements solutions to the urgent problems of the regional job market. Development includes conducting and evaluating pilot projects and publishing outcomes.

The nonprofit Initiative für Beschäftigung OWL e.V. (OWL Initiative for Employment) is an independent and politically neutral association supported by regional companies and institutions. It offers companies and labor market policymakers in Eastern Westphalia-Lippe a platform for regional networking. The goal of the Initiative is to strengthen the region and its labor market, thereby improving its employment situation.

German Education Conference of the Initiativkreis Bildung (Education Action Group) with German President Roman Herzog

Education holds the key to the information society. Digitization, globalization and social upheaval pose new challenges to the educational system in the 21st century. The Initiativkreis Bildung (Education Action Group) of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, sponsored by the German president, issues a memorandum of guidelines for the educational system of tomorrow.

Prize ceremony for the network "Bürgerorientierte Kommune – Wege zur Stärkung der Demokratie" ("Citizen-oriented local government and ways to strengthen democracy")

The main aim of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's work to reform local government is to increase the involvement of citizens in local decision-making and implementation processes. Today's communities can no longer rely solely on the unilateral application of laws or efficient provision of services. To improve the quality of community life, administrative authorities and political leaders must systematically work with an active citizenry.

To promote exemplary cooperation among these at the local level, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Verein Aktive Bürgerschaft e.V. (Association for Active Citizenship) have initiated the project "Bürgerorientierte Kommune - Wege zur Stärkung der Demokratie" (Citizen-Oriented Local Government and Ways to Strengthen Democracy). In early summer of 1998, the project sponsors initiate a national competition to identify successful examples of citizen-oriented activity. After much deliberation by the jury, on October 28, 1999 the project sponsors announce one first-place winner and two second-place winners. Civic engagement in the town of Nürtingen is recognized with first place, while Bremen and Leipzig share the second prize for their efforts in citizen-oriented government. The end of the competition marks the beginning of the next project phase: Under the working title "CIVITAS – Network of citizen-oriented communities in Germany," the project supports selected communities in specific model projects to continue the progress toward citizen-oriented local government.