Funding and partners of Understanding Europe

Understanding Europe is a project of the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe, funded by Stiftung Mercator. The Fellowship-Program “Media & Democracy” as well as the “Good News!” courses are funded by SPIEGEL as part of its educational initiative SPIEGEL Ed. The Fellowship-Program “Digital Europe” is funded by Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft.

  • Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe

    The non-partisan Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe was founded by Pauline Schwarzkopf in Hamburg in 1971. The Foundation’s mission is to empower young people from all backgrounds to become active European citizens. It is through their commitment and activities that the Foundation seeks to contribute to a pluralistic, democratic society, leading to mutual understanding, solidarity and peaceful collaboration across Europe.

    The Foundation works on various projects and youth-led networks such as the European Youth Parliament, the dialogue forum Young Islam Conference and the educational network Understanding Europe. It offers young Europeans a space for dialogue, encounter, and personal development, while promoting marginalized voices. In events, it brings together young people and leading figures in politics, academia and civil society to discuss European policy and issues relevant to young people. Through prizes and travel grants, the Foundation supports young people in their efforts to work against right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and racism in order to promote an inclusive and pluralistic society.

  • European Youth Parliament

    In most of our project countries, Understanding Europe is run by volunteers of the European Youth Parliament (EYP). The EYP is a peer-to-peer educational programme that inspires and empowers young people from across Europe to be open-minded, tolerant and active citizens. It provides participants with a forum to develop and express their opinions on a wide range of topics. By bringing young people from different backgrounds together, EYP builds intercultural understanding and friendships across borders. EYP participants and volunteers get equipped with the knowledge and the skills needed to positively shape the world around them. Thousands of young people are actively involved as volunteers all over Europe, making the EYP a genuinely youth-driven programme – run by young people, for young people.


  • Stiftung Mercator

    Stiftung Mercator is a private and independent foundation with extensive scientific expertise and practical project experience. Through its work, it strives for a society characterized by openness to the world, solidarity and equal opportunities. To achieve these objectives, it supports and develops projects that improve participation and cohesion in an increasingly diverse society. Stiftung Mercator wants to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Europe, address the impact of digitization on democracy and society, and drive forward climate change mitigation. Stiftung Mercator pursues activities in Germany, Europe and worldwide. It has a particular affinity with the Ruhr area, the home of its founding family and of the foundation’s headquarters.


    Together with partners from the education sector, SPIEGEL Ed develops workshops, explanatory videos and teaching materials for modern media training that are easy to access and use, and available free of charge. The aim of SPIEGEL Ed is to give students an understanding of journalistic work, teaching them the characteristics of high-quality news, and thus enabling them to actively participate in our democracy. SPIEGEL does not pursue any commercial interests with SPIEGEL Ed. By cooperating with various stakeholders, we ensure that SPIEGEL Ed meets the high demands of teachers and learners alike

  • Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft

    The Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft works to promote a free, open society and its cohesion. Democracy, the social market economy and sustainability are the foundations of such a society. Its work is based on the values that Herrhausen pursued in his life and work: freedom and responsibility, competition and compassion. In terms of content, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft focuses on the programmes Europe , Cities and Free Thinking. In addressing relevant questions of our time, it shows the ways in which our society can be shaped now and in the future.

Other Partners

  • Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
  • EU Erasmus+
  • Citizens Take Over Europe
  • Networking European Citizenship Education
  • AEGEE Europe
  • Diversion
  • DROG
  • Fryhuset
  • Uppsala Universitet
  • Federal Foreign Office
  • Youth Peace Ambassadors Network
  • Connecting Europe