The Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale) have been on the German Tentative List for the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1999. An initial application was withdrawn from the competition process in 2015 after in-depth discussions. Since then, the foundations have been discussing possible prospects together with the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the Federal Foreign Office. Thanks to the full support of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, work can now begin on a second application.
On 1 June 2021, Minister of State and Culture Rainer Robra presented Foundation Director Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke with a grant of 186,600 euros. Minister Robra is convinced of the funding goal:
»The majority of Saxony-Anhalt's UNESCO sites are not simply outstanding cultural testimonies; they also stand for ideas that have changed the world. This applies, of course, to Martin Luther's Reformation and to the Bauhaus in Dessau as the foundation of worldwide modernism. But it also applies to the Gartenreich Dessau-Wörlitz as a practical application of the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. The Francke Foundations also belong to the series of these places of revolutionary ideas. Francke's vision was the improvement of the human race, the upbringing and education of each individual according to his or her individual talents - orphans and princes' children alike, boys as well as girls. His pedagogy is still effective today in the schools of our country, his school town here in Halle bears witness to this achievement as a cultural monument of the first rank and is worthy of recognition as a heritage of humanity."
State Secretary Dr Gunnar Schellenberger underlines:
»August Herrmann Francke's idea is as relevant today as ever: to provide the best possible education for all pupils according to ability and inclination, regardless of their parents' status and wealth. As the key to innovation and personal development, it is an ideal that is particularly close to my heart as a long-standing educator and that was already realised in the Francke Foundations over 300 years ago. This ongoing mission of the Francke Foundations for the present and the future will be the focus of the revision of the UNESCO application. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Francke Foundations as well as State Secretary for Culture, it is a pleasure for me to financially support this process!«
The funding will be used to develop the basic content of a new application procedure. The Francke Foundations' planned World Heritage application will be based on the theme of Education for All. »The fundamental idea of Education for All is uniquely expressed in the building ensemble of the Francke Foundations,« explains Foundation Director Thomas Müller-Bahlke, adding: »In this way, the Foundations are taking up one of their own core themes, which is still highly topical today and determines our social debates, as well as globally representing one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the future.«
The application procedure is divided into two phases. The funding decision enables the implementation of the first phase. The focus here is on a so-called »upstream process«, which is now being prepared and is expected to be carried out in 2023. For this purpose, the concept and lines of argumentation for the actual application will be developed with international scientific support and then critically reviewed by ICOMOS International in a dialogue. Only after successful completion will the actual World Heritage application be prepared in the second phase.