New Executive Board chair

In the summer of 2012, Dr. Gunter Thielen steps down as chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board. Liz Mohn establishes the "Gunter Thielen Grant for Responsible Corporate Governance" to honor his service. Thielen is an Honorary Professor at the University of Witten/Herdecke. Aart de Geus succeeds Thielen as Executive Board Chairman on August 5, 2012. He remains responsible for programs in the areas of Europe, the labor market and globalization.

First Lied Master class marks 25th anniversary of NEUE STIMMEN

The NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012. The high point of the year is a gala concert on December 1, featuring 12 former prizewinners and guest star Thomas Hampson. While the artists gathered to congratulate NEUE STIMMEN perform at the Gütersloh Theater, the event is also streamed live to a virtual audience of roughly 10,000. The year's events are capped off by a press conference at the Salzburg Festival, the release of a CD celebrating 25 years of NEUE STIMMEN, a filmed portrait entitled "Die Meistermacher" (The Makers of Masters) broadcast by WDR and the appearance of selected prizewinners on the ZDF/arte program "Stars of Tomorrow." In addition to the master class, NEUE STIMMEN now also includes a Lied master class, held this year for the first time and taught by the renowned opera singer Edda Moser. Four of its participants give final concerts in Gütersloh and Berlin to demonstrate what they have learned. In cooperation with the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Lied master class will be held again in 2013 and 2014, led by Angelika Kirchschlager and Christian Gerhaher.

The German Adult Education Association (Deutsche Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung establish local discussion forums to expand the reach of the public dialogue recently launched by German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel at the internet platform At the end of March, independent citizens' forums are organized in more than 50 German cities to discuss the issues put forward by the chancellor. Participants not only contribute their personal perspectives and ideas but also work together to develop concrete proposals that are then added to the national discussion process. The focus is on three issues: How do we want to live together in the future? How do we want to earn a living? How do we want to learn?