The first Young Königswinter Conference (then Berlin German-English Youth Talks) was held in 1960. The forum was created to bring together young elites, aged 25 to 32, from Germany and the United Kingdom, in order to foster mutual understanding and an exchange of ideas not only between the two countries but also between the different political conceptions of the participants.
Brought to live following the success of the original Königswinter Conference which had been founded 11 years before, Berlin has become the conference’s preferred venue due to its eventful history. Its former position between East and West and its present role as capital of the reunified Germany make it a fascinating backdrop for talks between young Germans and Britons.
Here, social, political, economic and cultural issues are discussed by a heterogeneous group of participants in a frank and tolerant atmosphere, allowing the participants to gain new insights and perceptions which they then pass on in their private and professional lives. Many lasting friendships have been forged at Young Königswinter. These links remain effective on many levels and contribute to friendly relations between Britain and Germany.
There is an active organisation of Young Königswinter alumni, currently some 500 members, who organise meetings and conferences of their own, e.g. in Brussels, Hamburg, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Oxford.
Former British ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and to the German Democratic Republic, Sir Nigel Broomfield, chairs the four-day conference. Every Young Königswinter Conference features a central theme which is divided into three sub-themes that are discussed in respective thematic groups.
In a final session, each group reports on its findings. The discussion results are published in a conference report.
The up to 40 participants can apply directly to participate or are recommended by people from public life or former participants. Requisite is an above average interest in German-British relations and European integration, and an active interest in current socio-political questions. Alumni may not apply again.