Its history began in 1951 with the foundation of the European Movements’ International Youth Secretariat aiming to encourage European youth to actively take part in the building of a demo-cratic and peaceful continent. National Secretariats in all democratic states of Western Europe were established.
In 1959 the German Secretariat became an independent institute for trans-national training and European co-operation. The new Institute was named after Gustav Stresemann, honouring the achievements of that Peace Nobel Laureate (1926, together with his French colleague Aristide Briand).
In 1961 the GSI got its own premises with conference and accommodation facilities near Cologne. This centre was extended continuously as a well known leading training centre under the name European Academy Lerbach.
In 1987 a new large conference centre was inaugurated in Bonn. GSI European Conference & Training Centre Bonn is an independent, non-party and non-profit institution of citizens’ training. Accredited by the state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), GSI is the biggest institute of this type in Germany’s most important and biggest region North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) - with annually 2.000 seminars, workshops & conferences, followed by 100.000 participants from all over the world.
The aims of GSI are
- Citizens´ training within the European & international context
- Preparing people of all age groups for the challenges of the society in the 21st century through a wide range of learning programmes
- Promoting European integration and enlargement as well as international co-operation
- Bringing together people of different professional, educational and social background from Germany, Europe and other continents
- Initiating constructive exchange of opinion and critical dialogue
- Improving critical opinion-building and
- Strengthening a democratic sense of responsibility.
Currently the GSI training programmes include:
- The role of Europe in global politics of the 21st century
- New aspects of international politics and co-operation
- European & Middle East conflict resolving policies
- Deepening European integration: the economic and monetary union and the challenges of internal security
- Perspectives of a common European security & defense policy, human rights catalogues
- European enlargement: prerequisites in the Union and the applicant states, mainly on the Balkans
- Development policies/North-South policies, namely in the context of 18 newly established Special Secretariats of the United Nations (UN) in Bonn
- West-East co-operation in management, capacity building, strengthening of local authori-ties and civil society organisations in newly independent states
- Current economic and social issues such as structural change, reform of the welfare state, information and media society, multi-cultural co-operation, genetic engineering, migration etc.
- Law and politics, namely for new assessors
- Struggle against Xenophobia, right-wing extremism and violence in Germany & Europe
- Bilateral human relations, in particular of young people and teenagers including fringe groups in socially distorted sectors