The Hanns Seidel Foundation's journey in India began on 11 July 1996, initially still managed from Munich. It was not until 2003 that the first representative Dr. Karl Fischer opened an office in New Delhi. Two of the first local staff members from back then are still in the team today!
The primary goal of the Foundation was and is to make a successful contribution to Indo-German cooperation. This is made possible by the mandate and support of the Political Foundations from the German Bundestag.
Over the years, the Foundation's network grew and cooperation with new partner organisations increased the Foundation's reach as well as the range of tools (from conferences to manuals to grassroots projects with local populations). The initial focus was on women's and economic empowerment and regional security policy. The HSS made a name for itself in India as a reliable partner and supporter, always in line with relevant national policies. The networking of science and politics, transparency and internationality helped to gain trust for our work in India. Above all, it encourages the Foundation to make an important contribution in the country.
The focus of the Foundation's work changed over the years; although support for women's rights and regional dialogue remained. Over time, milestones were achieved in the areas of federalism, access to justice and water management. Our greatest thanks go to our partner organisations, without whom none of this could be achieved. Past and present partners, people who follow and support our work, have made this journey meaningful.
Miletones on its way...
Q. How did you find out about HSS and what was the organization like then?
A. My association with HSF began in 2004 as a part of a joint collaboration with an NGO based in Delhi. In 2006 came to know about a vacancy and applied for a part -time position.
HSF in 2006 had 8 employees in all including the Resident Representative. 3 employees were part-time. Also then, we all used to meet once a week for a Jour fix as we all used to come in on different days of the week. The work atmosphere was always very cordial with a flexible environment giving enough time for individual development along with work. The list of collaborations steadily expanded from 2-3 partners in 1996 and averaged annually at about 7-8 partners and currently around 12 Partners. In all HSS has linked with more than 25 organizations and countless experts.
Q. Talk to us about some of the big successes in the last 25 years HSS India. What moments stand out to you?
A. If I were to think back, I can recall many triumphs and a few disappointments too. Honestly, I would not pin point any one project or event but certainly our work in India has been a successful progression of impactful collaborations.
Q. What was one of the biggest challenges you remember?
A. Yes. The setbacks in the work of HSS has been when some partnerships could not be continued or when there is staff at HSS who had to leave HSS for personal reasons.
Q. What is the favorite part of your work?
A. The dynamism in my work is what I like the most. Cannot recall a single dull day at work! Having started as a programme manager and also having project management experience has helped me even after I shifted to finance. I also like interacting with colleagues and partners.
Q. What do you wish for the next 25 years of HSS India?
A. My wish for HSS in the next 25 years would be that HSS continues to contribute successfully to the development cooperation not only between India and Germany but also other countries. By consolidating the existing partnerships and gaining more, HSS can become a name to reckon with in the areas of collaborations like (but not limited to) climate & water security, safe cities, governance and federalism.
The Foundation enters its next 25 years as a respected cooperation partner. Together with universities, think tanks, state and central governments as well as civil society organisations, the aim is to further support India in developing in a sustainable, effective and people-friendly way. HSS India is not only present in New Delhi and Bangalore, but also in social media.
The HSS team is looking forward to continuing the fruitful cooperation in India, broadening its own horizons and forging stronger relationships with partner organisations in India. Together, successes can be achieved in the service of democracy, peace and development.