The Academy

The International Academy for Leadership, or in German Internationale Akademie für Führungskräfte (IAF), is a training centre for liberal adult education in Gummersbach (Germany). The German Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) runs it in the spirit of its founder and the person its takes its name from, , the philosopher and politician Friedrich Naumann (1863–1919). Naumann was worldwide the first to establish a “Citizens’ Academy” in 1918. In his hands the foundation developed into one of the leading think tanks of the world.

Consequently, the IAF was established in 1958 or should we say re-established in the shape of Naumann’s Citizens’ Academy. Over the years the tiny town of Gummersbach has gained internationalfame: in the same premises as the IAF the Theodor-Heuss-Akademie conducts trainings for German liberals. Additionally, the Academy accommodates the archive for German liberalism.

The training courses have a variety of topics. Hand-picked liberals from all over the world meet up to discuss their favourite topics. A high level of debate evolves by itself. It is not that German trainers teach and preach only the path they want you to follow; rather, the main aim is to develop open-minded solutions from across the world tot he problems facing humanity. The intra-regional exchange and transfer of knowledge in all directions and dimensions are highly valued. . Learning from each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect, esteem and fun is the aim. It is a wonderful and enlightening experience that around 180 Pakistanis have had so far. They form FreedomGate Pakistan (FGP) as the avant-garde of liberalism in Pakistan.

But Pakistanis are not only participants at the IAF. In a nationality ranking among the Academy’s trainers and facilitators Pakistanis rank second, just behind Germans.

And by the way, the Academy’s self-presentation movie was realised by a Pakistani film company, including a Pakistani director and cameraman. So, interaction sand exchanges with Pakistan are very vivid and shaped by understanding, respect and good humour.

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