International Relations and Foreign Policy

Since the end of Apartheid, the democratic South African government has held a reputation for “boxing above its weight” in international diplomacy. Noted for responding cautiously to the dualities that exist within the international system and favouring soft power strategies, the South African foreign policy-makers perform a balancing act between various domestic and international actors. We support a South African foreign policy that is independent and of nonaligned posture of strategic autonomy. In this context, we seek to assist South Africa deepen the linkage between foreign and domestic priorities, harness coordination among these state and non-state actors and strengthen the foreign policy infrastructure available.

Through our activities, we promote spaces for participation, exchange, training, reflection and analysis. In addition, we support research and organize debates between diverse representatives of political life including civil society, trade unions, universities, think tanks and the media.

Caught between Afro - Southern Solidarism and Liberal  Cosmopolitan values: Four Turning points in South  Africa’s Human Rights Foreign Policy
Occasional Paper Series

Caught between Afro - Southern Solidarism and Liberal Cosmopolitan values: Four Turning points in South Africa’s Human Rights Foreign Policy

South Africa’s foreign policy is entrapped: it is trapped between Afro-Southern (or Africa-South-South) solidarism, on the one hand, and lofty liberal cosmopolitan values, including human rights, on the other. more


Thursday, 04.05.17 to Tuesday, 04.04.17 - 17h30 - 19h00 - 6 Spin Street, Church Square, Cape Town | International Relations | Event

CCR Public dialogue on Powerful Trade Unions: South African Drivers of Regional Economic Growth?

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Johannesburg invites you and members of...

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Thursday, 23.03.17 | International Relations | Event

Dialogue on Major South African Foreign Policy Trends and Issues of 2017

The international environment in 2017 is likely to continue to be characterised by change and uncertainty, as evidenced by contemporary political and...

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Recent Publications

Vetten, Lisa

Political representation makes women's voices heard?

Lessons from South Africa
Maputo, 2017

Download publication (340 KB, PDF-File)

Phillips, Ann L.

A terminal threat to state monopoly on the use of force?

the international search for answers to combating terrorism and violent extremism
Berlin, 2016

Download publication (200 KB, PDF-File)

South Africa Office

34 Bompas Road
Dunkeld West

+27 11 341 0270
+27 11 341 0271


Youth Leadership programme
Youth Project

Youth Leadership programme

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung South Africa believes in the power of young people. It invites 20 aspiring and talented students from Eastern Cape Universities (Fort Hare, Rhodes, NMMU) to the 2016 “Fort Hare Autumn School on Social Democracy and Political Economy” – a leadership programme supplementing the formal academic curriculum of university students.

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