The American Academy in Berlin was founded in 1994 at the initiative of Richard Holbrooke, then the American ambassador to Germany. Independent, nonpartistan, and privately funded, the American Academy in Berlin is committed to maintaining the long-term intellectual, cultural and political ties between the United States and Germany. It does so in three ways.
Each year, the Academy awards two dozen Berlin Prize fellowships for a semester each to outstanding scholars, writers, and artists from the United States. Fellows who come from the humanities, social sciences, and arts pursue independent projects in a residential community at the lakeside Villa Arnhold, in Wannsee. The Academy’s fellows share their work with German colleagues and with Berlin audiences at the Academy’s public lectures, film screenings, concerts, and other events.
In addition, the Academy fosters greater understanding and dialogue on current issues by hosting Distinguished Visitors—leading Americans from the areas of public policy, law, finance, and the arts—to engage with the German public and German counterparts during short visits of a few days to two weeks.
In a similar vein, the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum was conceived by the American Academy in Berlin as a special remembrance of its founder and his lifelong commitment to applying the tools of diplomacy and statecraft to solving some of the world’s most intractable problems. The forum is conducted as an ongoing series of international workshops with various experts from law, public policy, and academia.
Since the Academy opened its doors, in 1998, it has built up an extensive and enduring network in the academic, cultural, political, and corporate communities of the United States and Germany. Its cross-cultural, interdisciplinary environment and creative programming have made the Academy a highly regarded center in Germany and beyond, leading the German newsweekly Der Spiegel to describe the American Academy in Berlin as “the world’s most important center for American intellectual life outside the United States.”
The American Academy in Berlin is the world’s most important center for American intellectual life outside the United States. — Der Spiegel
There is no better opportunity to work and understand, anywhere.
— Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University
Given the temper of our times, the Academy’s role is more important in 2017 than even my husband might have imagined in 1994. — Kati Marton, Author and Journalist
Transatlantic partnership at a high intellectual level, in the style of mutual respect.
— Süddeutsche Zeitung
A convivial setting for interaction with colleagues in different disciplines who draw one another out in ways that cannot be foreseen. — Hal Foster, Princeton University
I could not imagine a better place to establish and strengthen transatlantic friendship and intellectual ties. — Mathias Döpfner, CEO Axel Springer
One ends an evening at the American Academy feeling the variety and depth of current intellectual life. — Helen Vendler, Harvard University
It is difficult to imagine a more inspirational, daring, and rewarding place to engage the mind than the salon on the Wannsee. — The Washington Post