Wilton Park begins to celebrate its 70th anniversary year

18 January, 2016

Two homes, one institution. Over the past 70 years Wilton Park has added its own successes to the rich history of Foreign & Commonwealth Office diplomacy. This journey is marked by its transition from a secret camp for interrogating enemy generals at The White House in Beaconsfield, to a training centre for German prisoners of war at Wiston House in Sussex, its current home.

Our founder, Sir Heinz Koeppler, put into action Winston Churchill’s vision for post war reconciliation with Germany. A historian who fled to Magdalen College Oxford in order to escape Hitler, Sir Heinz worked for the wartime Political Intelligence Department. Through a combination of academia and off the record debate, the man who became known as The Professor-King shaped and curated the methods of dialogue and discussion that we still use today to resolve issues of global conflict.

As part of post-war reconciliation efforts, we helped carry out the civic education of German civilians that were due to undertake the running of a new, democratic Germany. This programme soon expanded to accommodate promising talent from Europe, the United States and eventually the rest of the world.

Today we are proud to continually build upon this foundation of understanding and cooperation. Through working on a variety of policy programmes and helping to tackle global issues as they arise, we remain a home for open, honest and discreet discussion as the world moves into an era of digital diplomacy.

In our 70th anniversary year we invite all visitors, participants, colleagues and friends to share with us their memories of Wilton Park, as part of a developing programme of events to mark this significant year. Please send your stories to tom.walker@wiltonpark.org.uk

Watch this space for more details of our celebrations.

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