The idea arose out of years of experiences – and frustration. Peter Eigen, once a director for the World Bank, saw himself repeatedly confronted in his work by the serious effects of corruption in developing countries. Funds seeped into dark channels, projects bogged down, and Eigen’s hands were tied. It was not permitted that the World Bank interfere in a state’s internal affairs.
By 1993 Eigen could no longer stand by and watch these things. He quit his job and founded, together with ten like-minded people, Transparency International (TI). Today, almost 20 years later, TI is a globally active organisation with groups in over 100 countries. Integrity, transparency, reliability and justice are its guiding values. Its goal is to stem corruption in all its forms, from small bribes to the systematic looting of entire economies. Nor does TI confine its activities to countries in the so-called Third World; the corruption fighter also has its hands full in the industrialized nations.
The organisation’s work includes social information campaigns as well as the uncovering of specific cases of corruption, abuse of office and interference with the course of justice. Moreover, the organisation compiles corruption indices and organises scientific and scholarly conferences. Its headquarters is located in the heart of Berlin. In 2012 an international panel of public relations experts proclaimed Transparency International’s Brussels office the ‘NGO of the Year’ – an incentive to press ahead with the commitment to more transparency within the EU.
Photograph: Edda Müller, Chairwoman Transparency International Germany
The United Nations World Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December 2012