The Marion Dönhoff Fellowship at the Michael Succow Foundation

Marion Dönhoff mit Michail Gorbatschow

„Especially in the realm of economy, unscrupulous excess prevails. Again and again they say, growth is necessary as an answer to poverty and underdevelopment. It is not considered that growth possibly leads to more poverty, because the ecological costs (more cut down forests, more CO2, more poison for agriculture) will exceed the benefit of growth. We use up the capital of coming generations [...]."

 Marion Gräfin Dönhoff: Civilise capitalism - limits of freedom, Stuttgart 1997


Marion Dönhoff kept pointing at the negative sides of capitalism, the unlimited pursuit of growth. Cooperation with Germany's eastern neighbours and the promotion of young people were of great importance to her as well.


The Marion Dönhoff Foundation therefore funds a fellowship programme of the Michael Succow Foundation: The Marion Dönhoff Grant supports open and critical debates in the areas of environmental journalism, political ecology and sustainable development. It sponsors persons and organisations involved in these areas in former Soviet countries. In the spirit of Marion Dönhoff the aim is to strengthen proactive behaviour and individuals' awareness to be jointly responsible for common welfare.


Programme Goals:

  • Promoting the critical analysis and debate about issues relevant for sustainability and the environment.
  • Supporting a critical East-Western dialogue on environment and sustainability.
  • Fostering the media debate on these issues.
  • Supporting regional and international networks.

Integrating human rights issues in the environmental dialogue is an explicit goal.

The fellows are supposed to work on a subject of their own choice according to the programme goals, supported by the Michael Succow Foundation. The results of the stay and the analysis of a subject are to be published. The publication is part of the conditions for the grant. The Michael Succow Foundation will provide suitable contacts to individuals and organisations on the spot. The applicants may name other relevant organisations in their application.


Criteria for allocation

The programme is a fellowship for post-graduates with professional experience and activists of civil society networks and groups in the fields of political ecology, environmental journalism or sustainable development. The fellowship can ONLY be awarded to suitable candidates who come from post-soviet states (find list of countries below). The applicants should be between 25 and 38 years old. Good language skills in English or German (written and spoken) are required. In exceptional cases and given outstanding qualifications, applications in Russian language can be accepted.


Eligible countries of origin of applicants are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia


The fellowship funds a study and work visit in Germany for up to five months. Up to four persons a year are eligible to receive the grant.



Applications can be handed in by email each year before 1st of July and 1st of January.  They should comprise the following documents:


  • Letter of motivation (one page)
  • Project description of issue to be analysed (up to three pages)
  • CV
  • Proof of language skills
  • Copy/scan of passport

Sophie Hirschelmann, e-mail: sophie.hirschelmann(at)