50 Years Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe

We are very happy about the birthday greetings from friends and partners of the Foundation! In short videos and letters they share their memories, wishes and perspectives for Europe and the Foundation. The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also congratulates the Foundation on its 50th anniversary and shares his perspective on the young Europe. You can find his letter here.


On April 1, 2021, the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe will turn 50. Much has changed since then – Europe, its society and our foundation itself. Europe remains an idea that needs young, pluralistic perspectives. The foundation’s purpose has been based on this idea from the very beginning: for five decades now, we have been promoting young perspectives on an open, democratic and pluralistic Europe.

Since its inception in 1971, the foundation has grown, added new programme areas, changed its location, specified its purpose, and expanded its reach beyond Germany. Today, our team is larger and more diverse than ever before, working in six programme areas and implementing projects related to education, dialogue, and participation for young people across Europe. Together with our three major youth networks, our team, and all of our other young, committed participants, we look back on 50 years of young Europe:

1971: On April 1, the “Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe” is founded in Hamburg by Pauline Schwarzkopf. In memory of her husband and the horrors of war, she gave the foundation the task of promoting the idea of European unification and peace among young people.

1970s: Until the 1980s, Pauline Schwarzkopf participated in almost all of the foundation’s political seminars and accompanied almost every study trip to the European institutions of Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels. At the end of the 1970s, despite the Iron Curtain, the foundation was the first non-partisan organisation to take young people to political seminars in Poland and the GDR in order to exchange ideas and perspectives on European issues.

1997: The award “Young European of the Year” is established and has since promoted young commitment to a peaceful Europe.

2000: The foundation moves to Berlin.

2003: The Schwarzkopf Europe Award is established, enabling young Europeans to honour their own role models who actively shape the development towards a peaceful and pluralistic Europe.

2004: The European Youth Parliament (EYP), one of the largest youth organisations in Europe, becomes part of the foundation’s network.

2008: A historical expertise on the life and work of Heinz Schwarzkopf, commissioned on the occasion of Pauline Schwarzkopf’s 100th birthday in 2008, reveals his Nazi past, having been a member of the National Socialist Party and the Schutzstaffel (SS) during his lifetime. These findings lead to the renaming of the foundation to “Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Young Europe“, honouring the life and work of Pauline Schwarzkopf. In responsibility towards history and the present, the foundation’s charter was amended, explicitly adding the goals of fighting right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism.

2014: The Margot Friedländer Award is established to support students in remembering the Holocaust and in taking a stand against current forms of racism and anti-Semitism.

2013-14: The EU-Crash-Course “Understanding Europe” expands its reach and, for the first time, brings European topics into classrooms all over the continent.

2019: The Young Islam Conference becomes part of the foundation, expanding its work to include a platform in which the post-migrant generation can engage in constructive exchange on topics related to the migration society.

2020: The educational programmes “Young Ambassadors against Anti-Semitism” and “Postmigrant Europe” are launched. The foundation also becomes part of the Competence Network “Living Together in Migration Societies”.

During our anniversary year and beyond, we have planned various events in which we take a close look at our own as well as Europe’s history from a contemporary perspective. We will also be awarding the European Schwarzkopf Composition Award on a one-off basis. Together with the Berliner Philharmoniker and its Karajan-Akademie, we are giving one young composer the opportunity to follow the work of one the world’s best orchestras for an entire season.

The first awardee in the 2021/22 season will be the Armenian composer Hovik Sardaryan. Find more information about the scholarship recipient and the new scholarship in this German press release here.

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