About us

The Foundation

The Foundation for Science and Liberal Arts Domus Dorpatensis is a private, non-profit and non-governmental social enterprise based in Estonia.

We work mainly with young people and NGOs, but also with government institutions, startups and businesses. This gives us a very broad perspective of the society.

We fulfill our mission with the DD Academy program for students and with DD StratLab consultancy services for mission-driven organizations. Our building in Tartu helps us to finance our mission-based work.

Our principles

On our road to creating a world-wide network of DD Academy programs, financed and developed by the experiences of DD StratLab growing the impact of mission-based organisations – we follow some guiding ideas…

We care, a lot

Our heart is in what we do. We have hope for the world and the humanity. We put in 110% of ourselves to realise that hope.

We are strategic

We combine our hope with evidence-based strategic thinking, leadership skills and a complex understanding of the world.

We do it together

We believe in teams and communities. We also believe in being human, having a laugh and caring about each other.

Our History

DD was founded in 2002 by Alexander von Rücker (professor at Bonn University, center), Mr Jenik Radon (professor at Columbia University, left) and Mr Nils Hollberg (president of the Society for the Restoration of Baltic Historical Buildings, right).

The Foundation was created in the former home of Professor von Rücker’s family (at the town square of Tartu) with the purpose of supporting the development of the Estonian society – by becoming a place where science, culture, civil society, environmental protection and other important areas of society could find support.

The first CEO of DD was Kristiina Tõnnisson (Head of the Institute of Political Studies in University of Tartu) who launched the Foundation’s initial societal work with various projects – The Network of Tolerant Tartu, Meet the World evenings and many others.

Since 2010/2011 the focus of DD’s societal work became the development of young people with great potential for positive impact for the world. For several years this meant that around 100 students organized more than 50 events each year (civil society week, TEDxTartu, political debates etc), all the while acquiring many different transferable skills.

In time this led to the creation of the DD Academy program in 2015 which was solely focused on providing the most intense and impactful development program for young people in Estonia. During the same time, DD also run SEIKU – a social enterprise incubator.

In 2018 DD StratLab consulting services were launched.

Our building

Our building resides right beside the Town Hall. The oldest part of the stone house, built before 1755, has still preserved its mansard roof and baroque roof-windows. The building takes additional architectural value in the fact that it was not damaged in World War II and has alone in the vicinity of the Town Hall preserved its historical authenticity.

The offices of DD reside in this building today.

Meet our people

Our leadership, employees and volunteers.