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PESD; PESD

Lists of Frequently Asked Questions

On HSF

What is HSF?

Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF, in German: Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung) is a German political foundation (for more information see below) that is ideologically affiliated with the conservative political party Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). Since its founding in 1967, HSF has been engaged in democratic and civic education. This educational work is based on an idea of man that incorporates the free development of personality and personal responsibility just as much as social responsibility and solidarity.

What is the CSU?

The CSU is a Christian-democratic, centre-right and conservative Bavarian political party. You may find information (in German) on its history here. The party’s work looks “gratefully backwards, courageously forwards, and faithfully upwards”, as famously stated by the long-time CSU Chairman Franz Josef Strauss. Being the German Federal Defence Minister since 1956, Strauss intensively dealt with developments in the Middle East early on and knew Shimon Peres since 1957.

Who was Hanns Seidel?

The Foundation is named after Hanns Seidel, the former Prime Minister of Bavaria (1957-1960) and former CSU Chairman (1955-1961). Hanns Seidel played a key role in shaping the CSU and made a significant contribution to the modernization of the party. During the Nazi regime, Seidel represented numerous Jews as a lawyer. He believed in a “homeland for Jews and Arabs, both of whom have had rights of domicile to this place for thousands of years” (Munich, 27 April 1958).

Who is heading HSF?

Markus Ferber MEP is serving as President of HSF, Oliver Jörg as the Foundation's General Secretary. For more information on both, please see here. Dr. Susanne Luther is director of the Institute for International Cooperation.

Is HSF a member of any greater network?

Amongst others, HSF is a member foundation of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the official think tank of the centre-right European People's Party.

Which publications has HSF supported globally?

Numerous books and papers of both HSF and its partners on political education are published in the digital library.

Why is HSF Munich-based?

HSF is a CSU-associated organization. CSU operates only in Bavaria and is headquartered in Munich.

Where can I find out more about the organizational structure, awards, and history of HSF?

For more background information on HSF, please see its German About Us page

How has the Foundation developed over the years?

HSS; HSS

HSF - 50 years of work in the service of democracy, peace and development. Official video (in German) from 2017.

What is Kloster Banz?

HSS; HSS

The former Benedictine monastery Banz Abbey (German: Kloster Banz) was founded around 1070 and now houses a modern education and meeting center of HSF. This center is also used for international workshops and conferences including delegations from the Middle East. Official video from 2023.

What is the Franz Josef Strauss Prize?

The Franz Josef Strauss Prize (in German: Franz Josef Strauß-Preis) is an award for "outstanding achievements in politics, business, society, art, and culture" as well as for people who have worked for peace, freedom, law and democracy. It has been awarded by HSF since 1996 in memory of Strauss' political life's work. Previous award winners include, among others, Henry A. Kissinger, George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev.

What is the advancement award for young singer-songwriters?

HSS; HSS

Every year, HSF awards outstanding singer-songwriters who are up to 40 years old and produce their own songs, mostly in German. Official video (in German) from 2022.

On HSF Jerusalem

Since when has HSF worked in Jerusalem?

HSF has been working in Israel since 1979 and in the West Bank since 1994.

Why is this project office located in Jerusalem?

The Foundation chose Jerusalem as its location because it operates in both Israel and the West Bank. Jerusalem is a central and historical city renowned for its economic, political, and cultural activities, making it an ideal base for HSF to carry out its work in the region. The English name “HSF Jerusalem” reflects this choice while remaining internationally understandable and politically neutral.

Does HSF work in the Gaza Strip as well?

Currently, HSF works in Israel and the West Bank only.

Who provides the funds for HSF Jerusalem's work?

All funds for HSF Jerusalem come from the German national parliament Bundestag and are allocated through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). HSF Jerusalem does not rely on any other donors to maintain its neutrality and independence.

Does HSF support any specific party politics in Israel or the West Bank?

HSF does not work in favor of any specific local political party, party political movement, group, or individual. As a German political foundation, HSF aims to support democratic development in general.

How is HSF Jerusalem legally registered?

HSF Jerusalem is registered as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) in Israel. As a PBC, HSF Jerusalem acts in manners which further its legal purposes, including assisting partners in implementing projects that promote the Foundation's goals (e.g. supporting projects of HSF in the area of ecology in the West Bank).

Where can I find news of HSF Jerusalem?

Until 2022, news articles of HSF Jerusalem have been published here. The social media and Twitter accounts of HSF Jerusalem are linked on the home page.

Do you also provide information in Hebrew and Arabic?

Yes, you may find such information on HSF Jerusalem here.

What's your linktree?

You may find our official linktree here.

On the projects

What are HSF Jerusalem’s goals?

HSF aims to contribute to promoting better understanding in the Middle East Peace Process, sustainable development of rural regions, and environmental awareness in the Palestinian Territories. This is achieved through three specific project goals: the promotion of (1) understanding between Jews and Arabs; (2) civil society participation; and (3) sustainable development of rural regions and more environmentally conscious behavior in the West Bank. With its work, HSF also fosters trilateral and bilateral dialogue and exchange between important German, Israeli and Palestinian stakeholders as well as outstanding students with international scholarships.

On which societal level does HSF Jerusalem work?

HSF's collaborations take place on various levels of society, including local grassroots initiatives in both rural and urban areas, regional and national projects, as well as international and global dialogue. These projects are interconnected and mutually complementary.

Where can I watch the German-Israeli videos of HSF Jerusalem?

DJS; DJS

HSF Jerusalem has supported a Deutsche Journalistenschule (DJS) exchange program for German journalism students and Tel Aviv University students. You will find some of the joint video productions at the DJS YouTube channel. The partner video above "The History Of A New Country" is from 2022.

Why do "mixed cities" matter?

TAI; TAI

As Israeli society becomes more mixed and integrated in all areas of life, it is crucial to focus on the development of its "mixed cities". Partner video by the Abraham Initiatives from 2022.

Who does HSF work with in Israel and the West Bank?

In the pursuit of democracy, peace, and development, HSF proudly partners with individuals, NGOs, schools, national colleges and universities, ministries, parliaments, and international stakeholders. You can find a list of HSF Jerusalem’s collaborations here.

Does HSF partner with NGOs supporting BDS or extremism?

HSF’s focuses on strengthening partners who work for democracy, peace, and development. It does not partner with NGOs supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel or any organizations, groups or individuals promoting extremism or terrorism.

How can my organization become a partner of HSF Jerusalem?

If your organization is involved in promoting better understanding in the Middle East Peace Process or sustainable development and environmental awareness in the West Bank, you are welcome to share your project proposal with HSF at jerusalem(at)hss.de. Please note that HSF follows specific rules and regulations, and project activities must align with the Focus Areas and goals mentioned above.

We are already funded by another German political foundation. Can we receive support from HSF Jerusalem as well?

Typically, one partner organization can only be funded by one German political foundation.

What is conservationism and what has it to do with Bavaria?

The motto "care of creation" appears in all three world religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity - and conservationism (Lat. conservare = to preserve) is one of the main Focus Areas of HSF Jerusalem. Conservationists are concerned with protecting the natural environment and beyond so it can persist for future generations. Conservation also seeks the sustainable use of nature by humans, for activities such as ecotourism.

Bavaria was the first German federal state to recognize the special importance of environmental protection: the Bavarian State Ministry for Regional Development and Environmental Issues was founded in 1970 which makes it the oldest ministry for conservationism and sustainable use worldwide! It has worked with HSF Jerusalem since years.

Why does HSF support bird-watching?

Mahmiyat; Mahmiyat

Birds are an excellent tool for environmental education and awareness building of environmental issues: they are present in many places in Israel and the West Bank and easily accessible. HSF Jerusalem supports bird-watching groups to increase respect for nature and awareness of the fragility of ecosystems in the West Bank. Partner video on the golden eagle by Mahmiyat from 2023.

How complex are ecosystems?

StMUV Bayern; StMUV Bayern

Ecosystems are considered to be among the most complex systems known to science. In an ecosystem, plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to support life. The forest ecosystem might serve as a great example for this: educational video on the living community between plants and fungi by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection from 2019.

Why does the barn owl matter?

Mahmiyat; Mahmiyat

The barn owl supports sustainable farming: each owl feeds on an average of 15 mice per day and therefore it offers environmentally friendly rodent control. Partner video by Mahmiyat from 2021.

Who do you work with in Jordan?

RSCN; RSCN

In Jordan, HSF Jerusalem collaborates with its sister office in Amman as well as the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. Official video of the Society on its work from 2016. 

Are there project factsheets of HSF Jerusalem?

You may find the official factsheets Building a Shared Society from the Municipal LevelMainstreaming Nature Conservation in the Palestinian Territories, and Fostering German-Israeli Bilateral Relations for Future Generations on HSF Jerusalem's collaborations (from 2022) online.

On joining HSF Jerusalem

Can I work with HSF Jerusalem?

Yes, if you possess a valid Israeli working permit. HSF Jerusalem regularly publishes job vacancies on this website. Please ensure that you submit your complete application documents exactly as per the job advertisements.

Why are the formal requirements for applications so specific and rigid?

Formal compliance serves as the initial pre-selection criteria at HSF Jerusalem. Following all formal requirements is necessary for any application. For instance, if the application requirement states to submit a "CV (max one page) as a pdf", then the selecting HSF officer will check among other details whether: 1) the application includes a complete, clear and systematically ordered CV, 2) all resume information was reduced to one page of HSF relevant data only, and 3) the respective document type is pdf. Applications that don't follow these requirements unfortunately cannot be considered. Needless to say, this example also applies to other document requirements.

What is the application process?

All received applications are acknowledged by e-mail. In case the submitted application documents are incomplete or incorrect, applicants might get the chance to re-apply one more time. Selected applicants are invited to a video call interview after which the final selection takes place.

When will I hear back from Team HSF?

Please note that due to the high number of applications, it might take us several months to come back to you. So please plan well ahead, be patient and refrain from follow-up questions on the current status of your application.

Can I do an internship with HSF Jerusalem?

Unfortunately, HSF Jerusalem currently cannot offer any internships to students, neither from abroad nor from Israel or the West Bank, due to local legal limitations.

If you want to do an internship in another HSF office worldwide, please directly contact the respective offices. For open job positions with HSF HQ, including apprenticeships and temporary positions, please see here.

On German political foundations

What is a German political foundation?

A German political foundation (in German: Politische Stiftung) is a party-associated and mostly taxpayer-money funded organization in Germany. Each foundation is ideologically associated with a party that has been elected to seats in the German federal parliament Bundestag as a constant political power. For more information on the relationship between German political foundations and the Bundestag, see Geschichte, Struktur und Wirken der politischen Stiftungen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland and Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (both in German). All foundations intend to strengthen and stabilize democratic development through education.

Why political education?

For democratic development political education is required. German foundations offer education on democracy to create an open society that can participate in the democratic development process with as much knowledge as possible. Since the understanding of democracy needs to be secured again with each generation, democratic contexts always need to be made clear, especially to young people.

Why do German political foundations work abroad at all?

We live in a globalized and multilateral world: the more people and governments interact, the more they need to work together responsibly and create lasting networks. Non-governmental organizations like foundations also offer the possibility to deal with social and political issues worldwide at the most immediate level, namely with the citizens. The slogan of HSF is: in the service of democracy, peace, and development. Therefore, HSF stands for a comprehensive approach in the field of development cooperation.

Are German political foundations governmental or non-governmental organizations?

From an international perspective, the German political foundations are unique and they are non-governmental: they are not owned or funded by (but funded via) the German government’s executive branch and they are financially, legally, and organizationally independent of each political party. As independent non-profit organizations, the foundations work by order of the German federal parliament and they receive most of their funding from there as well. Nevertheless, all programs are independent from the German federal parliament as well.

Are German foundations part of the German development cooperation?

German foundations like HSF are part of the broader German development cooperation and receive their funding via the BMZ. Their central development-policy task is the sustainable promotion of democracy and civil society through educational work.

What is the Bundestag?

Deutscher Bundestag; Deutscher Bundestag

The German Bundestag is also referred to as the "heart of democracy" in Germany. How does the federal parliament work? Explanatory video (in German) of Deutscher Bundestag from 2021.

On scholarships

What are Germany's Begabtenförderungswerke?

HSF is one of Germany's Begabtenförderungswerke (organizations for the promotion of gifted students). They support students and young researchers with outstanding achievements financially and conceptually in their academic education. In Germany, there are currently 13 such funding bodies that award scholarships to talented students and doctoral candidates. Additionally, the Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture has its own elite network to promote high-performing students in higher education.

What are scholarships for gifted students?

HSS; HSS

40 years of HSF fellowships for outstanding academic achievements and 30 years of HSF Alumni work. Official video (in German) from 2022.

Can HSF finance my academic studies in Germany?

Yes, HSF offers scholarships to young Israeli and Palestinian graduates and postgraduates who are exceptional in their academic performance and can speak German well. The Foundation financially supports them with up to 1,200 Euro per month for up to two years plus additional travel allowances etc. For more information, please see the relevant web page.

Why the German Scholarship Program?

HSF's scholarships promote talented individuals. They enrich studies – and not just financially. More than 1,000 fellows are currently receiving a scholarship from HSF’s Institute for Scholarship Programs (in German). These scholarships consist of both conceptual and financial support to contribute to the education of personally and academically qualified academics and to reward outstanding scholarly achievements in doctoral programmes.

I am not enrolled as a student at a German university yet. Can I still submit my application?

Yes, you can apply for the scholarship program without written proof of enrollment if you confirm that you will submit this enrollment certificate latest by the end of your application process. Without written proof of enrollment by the end of the application process, the scholarship ultimately cannot be granted and the application unfortunately needs to be declined.

Does HSF also support study programs in English in Germany?

Yes, all study programs in all languages at universities and higher education institutions in Germany can be supported. However, solid German language knowledge is necessary for the scholarship program (see below).

I plan to study at a German school in English. Can HSF support me without German language knowledge?

HSF's mentoring, network and seminar program is in German. Hence, HSF can only support students who know German well enough (at least level B2) to benefit from the conceptual support. Within a year, all scholarship holders must have good German language knowledge (at least level C1) in order to continue the scholarship program.

What is the provisional time plan of the academic project?

This time plan is a one-page synopsis of your study and career goals. Make sure to explain in detail what exactly you want to achieve with your academic studies, how you think to best achieve this, and what role HSF can play in this. Needless to say, no planning is final and closed, but can be (and should be) open to later adjustments of yours.

Where do I apply for an HSF academic scholarship as a German citizen?

It depends: in case you are living in Israel or the Palestinian Territories and if you are not a German citizen with German secondary education (Abitur), please apply at the HSF Jerusalem Office. In all other cases, please directly apply for an HSF scholarship through the domestic application procedure. The latter case includes living in Germany (with any citizenship) and being a German citizen with a German Abitur degree (living anywhere). The former case includes all German citizens with foreign secondary education (e.g. American secondary education) and all other citizens with German secondary education (Abitur) living in Israel or the Palestinian Territories or in a country close to them without an HSF office (see below).

Where do I apply for an HSF academic scholarship if there is no HSF office in my country?

HSF supports 90 projects in 75 countries worldwide. If there is no HSF office in your country, please apply at the HSF office closest to you.

What is the application deadline?

Applications are possible all year round (no deadline). However, please note that the selection rounds take place in mid January and mid July of each year.

Is there an age restriction?

There are no age restrictions. HSF acccepts all complete and correct applications. Most of its scholarship holder are below 35 years of age though.

What are the selection criteria for HSF's scholarships?

HSS; HSS

The German Scholarship Program aims to support gifted students and researchers. It is based on outstanding merit: in terms of academic performance, social engagement, and political and civil society interests. Interview (in German) with Dr. Jutta Möhringer, Head of HSF’s Institute for Scholarship Programs, from 2020.

Why did you choose HSF's scholarship program? (testimonials in German)

HSS; HSS

Scholarship holder in Medical Studies (2022)

HSS; HSS

Scholarship holder Jakob (2022)

HSS; HSS

PhD scholarship holder Marina (2021)

HSS; HSS

Scholarship holder Missy (2022)

Does HSF offer scholarships for interns at the German Bundestag?

HSF Jerusalem is fully Bundestag funded and proudly supports the official scholarship program IPS of the German Bundestag. Young German speakers from Israel and the Palestinian Territories are encouraged to apply for it. This program is directly offered by the Bundestag, not by HSF.

Why did you choose IPS? (testimonials in German)

Deutscher Bundestag; Deutscher Bundestag

IPS scholarship holders from Jordan, Georgia, Russia, Greece, Lithuania, and USA (2018)

On Bavaria

Who do you collaborate with in Bavaria?

Where may I find out more about Bavarian-Israeli relations?

The Free State of Bavaria’s Israel Office in Tel Aviv contributes to the continous expansion of Bavarian-Israeli relations. Its central tasks include the promotion of economic exchange and bilateral relations in the fields of culture, education, science, and innovation.

Why Bavaria?

Invest in Bavaria; Invest in Bavaria

Official Invest in Bavaria's image film based on "Bavaria – A magical journey" from 2014.

Bavaria and start-ups?

Invest in Bavaria; Invest in Bavaria

Discover why Bavaria's true beauty lies beyond its mountains, beer and brass music, and explore the Bavarian start-up ecosystem. Official Invest in Bavaria's image film from 2018.

Can you provide me with high-resolution videos and photos of Bavaria?

You may find numerous great tourism videos of the Free State of Bavaria at the YouTube channel of Erlebe.Bayern and free high-resolution photos at the photo page (terms of use apply) of Bayern Tourismus Marketing.

Other questions

Who else offers international support to Palestinians?

Since 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has provided a lot of assistance and protection for registered Palestinian refugees. USA, Germany and the European Union are currently its three biggest donors.

Where can I find out more about Germany's engagement in the Middle East?

For more information on bilateral German-Israeli relations, please visit the respective web pages of the German Foreign Office and the German Embassy Tel Aviv. A comprehensive overview on the history of German-Israeli relations can be found at Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (in German). German-Israeli Cooperation in terms of science and research is summarized here. The Israel Office of the Helmholtz Association is located in Tel Aviv.

For more information on bilateral German-Palestinian relations, kindly visit the pages of the German Foreign Office and the German Representative Office Ramallah. For detailed information on the official German development cooperation in the Palestinian Territories, please see the specific web sites of BMZ, GIZ, and KfW.

What is HSF's role in Germany's international engagement?

HSF may not be a big ship in the vast sea of the German development cooperation. But due to its lean structures, efficient processes and quick decision-making, it serves as an agile speedboat in German foreign politics: being directly mandated by the Bundestag, HSF may work independently of bilateral government agreements, which makes it a unique actor in German development cooperation.

More questions?

Feel free to contact HSF Jerusalem via e-mail at jerusalem(at)hss.de. Usually, you can reach the Jerusalem office from Sunday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:30 (GMT+3). We are looking forward to hearing from you!