Friedensau has been a place of education since 1899. On 19 November 1899 the institute that preceded the university, the “Industry and Mission School”, commenced operations with just seven pupils in very basic conditions. The school was housed in an old mill on the Ihle river, mentioned for the first time in 1306.
The next ten years saw the construction of an ensemble of large teaching and residential buildings which still define the look of the campus today. A sanatorium, workshops and a food factory were also built, in line with the school’s holistic pedagogical model, providing both practical teaching and opportunities to earn money. Before World War, I up to 250 people per year made use of the training opportunities offered.
During World War I the War Ministry set up a military hospital in the buildings. It was not until 1919 that training could be resumed, and expanded in subsequent years with new courses (home economics school, a preparatory school for nursing, secondary-level courses in science and technology, business and childcare courses). In 1923 the name of the institution was changed to the “Friedensau Mission Seminary”. In 1930 the seminary received state accreditation from the administrative district officer of Magdeburg for its home economics and business courses.
The Nazi period brought many restrictions, culminating in the closing of the seminary in the Second World War. Again the teaching buildings were used for the care of sick and injured soldiers, first from the Wehrmacht, and from 1945 from the Soviet army.
Through the intercession of the Minister President of Saxony-Anhalt, Erhard Hübener, the Soviet military administration allowed the school to reopen in 1947. This made the Friedensau Seminary the first and only church training facility to be allowed to resume its teaching operations in the Soviet occupation zone.
During the GDR period, the SED (communist party) government allowed training of church employees only. As well as the training for pastors, there were one-year courses for deacons. In 1981 the high standards and quality of the training led to the new name, “Friedensau Theological Seminary”. Two years later the General Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventists accredited the seminary as a Senior College. From the 1980s students from other socialist states of Eastern Europe and Africa could be trained as pastors in Friedensau.
On 15 September 1990, the Theological Seminary became a state-accredited university following a decision by the Council of Ministers of the GDR. Later a School of Social Sciences was established alongside the School of Theology, which had offered Diplom and Master’s courses in theology since 1992.
Today the Friedensau Adventist University, as an academically-oriented, church-run university, awards university qualifications. Friedensau is an established place of scholarship and has research collaborations linking it with institutions in several continents.
he Friedensau campus differs from other university sites in many areas.
The campus is close to nature, and the facilities are within easy reach of one another, saving time and reducing stress. The proximity between students and teaching staff allows a space for mutual trust and a relaxed coexistence. Alongside the programmes of study, there are numerous spiritual, cultural, artistic and sporting opportunities for an active extra-curricular life in Friedensau.
The mission of our university is to make a contribution in the areas of education and scholarship, for the church and society. As a free-church, Adventist institution we are aligned with reformatory tradition and innovative thinking. Our research and teaching are thus based on scientific methods, a fundamental openness towards unforeseen results, and responsibility towards God and humanity.
As a university with a special profile, we concentrate on those disciplines which are concerned with service towards people. Our areas of focus are theology, social sciences, development cooperation and health sciences. We see ourselves as an international university, committed to interculturalism and equal opportunities, and carrying on a history of long-lasting relationships with countries in every continent.
We are a campus university. This means that our teachers, employees and students form a trusting, tolerant, multicultural and cooperative community. We wish to give holistic support to all members of this community. Here equality between men and women is a basic fact, as is respect for other religions, worldviews and cultures. As a family-friendly university, we wish to create conditions which make it easier to reconcile study, profession and family. The spacious layout of the campus with its natural setting also contributes to this.
We undertake to teach students the fundamentals of the relevant field of scholarship, as well as dealing with current contributions to research. The objective of our teaching is to combine skills in research and in the application, ensuring that our graduates always work to high standards and satisfy the demands of their areas of responsibility. We also offer further education and professional development, following the principle of lifelong learning. University teachers and students contribute to the scholarly discourse with publications. Our teaching and research, which form a single unit, are based on Christian ethics and have a holistic, interdisciplinary focus.
Society and spirituality
We are convinced that faith, education and lifestyle are inseparable. We strive to reflect, in our actions, a spirituality based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We, therefore, foster the personal development of identity by encouraging and enabling self-reflection. Our aim is also to provide a constructive and critical commentary on the development of the Church and society. This is our comprehensive understanding of our mission and the way we as a university community seek to fulfil it.