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Newsroom Fact sheet

The Open Society Foundations in Germany

The Open Society Foundations established a regional headquarters in Berlin in 2018, transferring operations from Budapest as the result of an increasingly repressive political atmosphere in Hungary. With around 150 staff members, the office is a base for the Foundations’ local, regional, and global work on issues ranging from justice system reform to affordable and accessible health care to social justice for Europe’s Roma communities.

Office Director

Goran Buldioski has been part of the Open Society Foundations for over 10 years and currently serves as the director of both the Open Society Initiative for Europe and of the Open Society Berlin office. He previously worked for the Council of Europe, the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, and the National Youth Council of Macedonia.

Director of Institutional Relations

Selmin Çalışkan is the director of institutional relations at the Open Society Foundations’ Berlin office. Çalışkan was previously the secretary general of Amnesty International Germany. Other organizations she has worked for include the European Women’s Lobby in Brussels, Medica Mondiale, the German Society for International Cooperation in Kabul, and the Diakonia. 

Open Society in Germany budget infographic

Our Work

We support innovative thinking about challenges facing all Europeans such as fighting discrimination, improving access and inclusion in education and health, and preserving digital freedoms. Some examples of the organizations and work we support include:

  • The Berlin-based European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, established in 2017, which is the first arts institution of its kind focused on the work and history of Roma artists
  • Multiple efforts to build better relations between Berlin school authorities and migrant families
  • The research institute WZB Berlin Social Science Center’s work on democratic innovations in Latin America
  • Watching You, Watching Me: A Photographic Response to Surveillance, an exhibition from our Documentary Photography Program that came to Berlin in 2017
  • Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte, the first NGO dedicated to full-time strategic litigation for human and civil rights in Germany
  • Mediendienst-Integration, an organization that provides the German media with facts, figures, and science-based information about  migration
  • The establishment of a German policy hub for think tanks from the Western Balkans, in partnership with the Aspen Institute Germany
  • The Berlin-based Center for Intersectional Justice to make European antidiscrimination policies more inclusive and to address structural inequalities, factoring in issues of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and disability
  • The Neue Deutsche Medienmacher,a non-profit association that promotes the participation of people with immigrant backgrounds in the media industry
  • The research series “Voices on Values,” launched in February 2019 in collaboration with the Berlin think tank d|part, which explores people's views on open society values in Germany and other European countries
  • A variety of Berlin-based advocacy and research organizations and universities that work to strengthen the rule of law and democracy in Europe and globally, including the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, Transparency International, and the Hertie School of Governance

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