History & Founder
While working for a radio station, Andreas Heinecke, the founder of Dialogue in the Dark was assigned to organize a formation for a 28 years old journalist, who had lost his eyesight in a car accident. Initially confronted with awkward feelings, Andreas started to realize that his pity was misplaced. Being blind is another form of life and contains lots of capabilities. To his surprise it was the blind colleague who showed him how to cope with fundamental changes in life, forcing him to question what makes a truly valuable life. The way was paved to a concept of overcoming barriers and promoting exchange between blind and seeing people.
Andreas’ complex family background explains a lot about his drive and motivation to become a social entrepreneur. Members of his mother’s family were victims of the Holocaust while his father’s side were supporters of the Nazi-regime. It was only with 13 years that he learned about his Jewish relatives who were murdered and why his mother had lost so many members of her family in WWII.
The realization to have family roots with both victims and activists of the regime stirred a lifelong search for answers such as: What is the process of marginalization and exclusion? On what ground do we judge people and feel inferior or superior? The impact of his search for answers was the start of his quest for tolerance, open dialogue and exchange.
He has since devoted himself to finding new ways to bridge the gaps across human divide through direct human encounter. Andreas holds a PhD in Philosophy and is a Professor for Social Business at the European Business School in Germany. He has been awarded many times for his work and is recognized worldwide for his achievements.
2011 – Deutscher Gründerpreis
2009 – Global Award Winner for the best innovative and out-of-comfort-zone event by the YPO
2009 – Dragon Award for the category “Business with Conscience”
2008 – Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Entrepreneurship
2007 – Outstanding Global Social Entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation
2006 – Deutscher Unternehmer Preis by the Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurship Club
2005 – First “Ashoka Fellow” in Western Europe
2004 – Best Practice in Universal
1998 – Stevie Wonder Vision Award