Foundation background and structure

The “Peter Hesse Foundation SOLIDARITY IN PARTNERSHIP for ONE world in diversity” was established on December 7, 1983 to sustain small self-help projects for deprived people in Haiti.
Peter J. Hesse wanted to secure private charity-initiatives which he had started in Haiti after an initial Christmas-visit in 1980. The establishment of a small “General independent Foundation” (Allgemeine selbstständige Stiftung) was a relatively bureaucratic venture with a rigid formal structure – but still easier to establish than a German Association (Verein), because it only needed one founder who was willing to give a minimum amount of money – here DM 200.000. – During 2008 the Foundation Capital grew to one million Euro in making use of the founders financial reserve in his family business. The Foundation will grow further after the founder’s death, but will never grow big enough to serve all emerging needs without the additional support by donors. During his lifetime all administrative cost are covered by the founder’s own donations or actions. Since May 2000 the Foundation is a “NGO in SPECIAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations – ECOSOC”.


Dipl. Kfm. Peter Hesse

– born 5. 4. 1937 in New York
– Schule Schloß Salem
– Bussines studies in München
– Marketing and Management-Trainer
– 1971–98 Executive Partner for Company Schmincke
– Icelan honorary consul since 1991

Vice Chairman Dr. Jörg Boysen

is Canadian,
born Sept. 23, 1953 in Hamburg,
Retired management consultant

Philip O’Brien
replaced André Roberfroid as President of AMI in April 2014 – and therefore is now also a member of our Foundation board. Philip O’Brien worked for UNICEF in a number of positions and roles, including as Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and as Director of Private Partnerships and Fundraising. He holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Wales, Swansea UK.

Christos Xafis

– born July 3, 1965 in Katerini, Greece

– Law studies in Köln

– accredited lawyer since 1998

– from 2001-2005 partner of a Germany-wide law firm

– from 2006 parnter with a Statutory auditoring, Tax advising Law firm in Düsseldorf

– since 2014 member of the executive board of the Schmitz-Foundations as well as many other trust foundations. In the same manner he has been a part of aid projects in many regions of Asia and South America.

Lynne Lawrence (Netherlands/UK)

is the Executive Director of AMI, as well as Director of Training and Schools at the Maria Montessori Institute in London. She has experience with outreach projects in Africa, where she has supported and initiated projects in Tanzania and Kenya. She holds a BA in the humanities and is a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts).

In Germany, there is no hired Foundation-staff with the exception of a small part-time job of the founders wife Isolde Hesse, who helps to keep financial order and transparency. Part-time volunteers help with the administration in Germany. In Haiti, there is a small Montessori teacher-training-staff employed by the Haitian “Fondation Peter Hesse”, created and formally accepted there in November 1988. Since 1983, ten – mostly German – volunteers have been providing valuable help in Haiti; eight for a few weeks or months and two for a full year – all of them without salaries but with a lot of motivation. Peace corps and UN-volunteers also helped in the beginning. Several UNVs were sponsored by UNDP, one by the German DED.

The main partner, who joined the Haiti-project in early 1983 – even before the formal establishment of the Foundation in Germany – is Carol Guy-James Barratt from Trinidad. She is a London-trained Montessori-Directress (with Montessori pre-, primary- and advanced diplomas). Without her highly qualified, motivated and enduring participation, there would be no successful and widely recognized Early Childhood Program of our Foundation in Haiti.

The terrible earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 destroyed 4 of our partners project schools and the hired building which was home for our Montessori teacher training center. Rebuilding a new center is our predominant goal to be able to continue training as before. Again there are volunteers from Germany providing this vital help as outlined in the Montessori projects-section of this homepage.

Change in the presidency of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
Change on the board of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in April 2014.

On 1 April 2013 Lynne Lawrence, the Executive Director of AMI, and André Roberfroid, President of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) became members of the board of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation, Germany. In April, 2014 André Roberfroid relinquished the AMI-presidency. The new AMI-President, Philip O’Brien has now replaced André Roberfroid also as a member of the board of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation, Germany. All future AMI-Presidents will automatically be also on the board of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation.

As well as having both the President and the Executive Director of AMI on our board, the Montessori teacher training and the resulting project-schools initiated by the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Haiti, are now a partner-project of “Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF)”®, (Montessori without Borders©), a division of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
EsF/AMI is dedicated to assist needy children all around the world, to benefit from a Montessori education.

This Foundation-partnership with AMI provides the longest possible assurance that the goal of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation, to “provide children a chance through child-centered early education to enable life-long learning” will be fulfilled. Ten years ago, Renilde Montessori, the youngest grandchild of Maria Montessori, asked Andrè Roberfroid, Deputy-Executive Director of UNICEF, to be AMIs President. Under his presidency and the guidance of AMIs Executive Director Lynne Lawrence our CENTRE MONTESSORI D’HAITI became the only recognized EsF-project which was not initiated by AMI themselves but by Carol Guy-James Barratt and myself.

Beyond the EsF-specialization on children in less favorable situations, AMI has become increasingly successful in an ongoing innovation process around the world towards better, more effective child-centered early childhood education and development.

After successfully serving the world’s children through AMI for ten years, André Roberfroid will continue to continue to promote the Montessori movement as Global Ambassador on AMIs Advisory Council.

AMIs new President Philip O’Brien is a highly motivated truly gentle man. I am happy that he has also gladly accepted his new role as a member of our Foundation-board.

We hope that the AMI partnership with our Peter-Hesse-Foundation may become a model for other similar partnerships between likeminded people and organizations. This could further reinforce the chances for deprived children in our ONE world in diversity.

Peter Hesse