Henry A. Kissinger Prize

Since 2007 the American Academy in Berlin has bestowed the annual Henry A. Kissinger Prize upon a renowned American or European figure of international diplomacy in recognition of his or her outstanding services to the transatlantic relationship. The award honors the achievements of Dr. Henry A. Kissinger -- author, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and former National Security Advisor under President Nixon and Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford. A towering figure of international diplomacy and US foreign policy, Dr. Kissinger's initiatives for disarmament and detente in the postwar period helped to create an active dialogue among the world’s leading nations that ultimately resulted in the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. One of the founders of the American Academy in Berlin, Dr. Kissinger served as a co-chairman from December 2010 to November 2011.

Donors to the Henry A. Kissinger Prize are the Honorable & Mrs. Hushang Ansary, Audi AG, Georg Bauch-Food Concepts, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Robert Bosch GmbH, The Honorable & Mrs. Edward P. & Mrs. Francois Djerejian, Goldman Sachs & Co., Helga & Erivan Haub, Baroness Nina von Maltzahn, Porsche AG, The Honorable John F. W. Rogers, and Unternehmensgruppe Tengelman.

If you wish to contribute to the Henry A. Kissinger Prize endowment or toward its operational budget, please contact the Academy's Development Manager, Dr. Berit Ebert, at be@americanacademy.de, or call the Development Department at +49 30 804 83 108.

                                                              PAST HENRY A. KISSINGER PRIZE RECIPIENTS                                       


The American Academy in Berlin awarded the 2016 Henry A. Kissinger Prize to the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Samantha Power, on June 8, 2016. The laudation was delivered by Christoph Heusgen, the Foreign Policy and Security Advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel. In attendance were German cabinet ministers Thomas de Maizière and Christian Schmidt, among the 350 invited guests.

In her position as the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Power has worked diligently to rally the international community to respond to a multitude of global threats—from the Ebola outbreak to the rise of violent extremist groups. She has been a persistent and forceful advocate for human rights and democratic accountability. As is consistent with the Henry A. Kissinger Prize, Ambassador Power has not only maintained but also strengthened the transatlantic relationships crucial to responding effectively to all of these diplomatic challenges—whether through marshalling the support needed to make UN peacekeeping missions more effective, or by pushing back against a growing global crackdown on civil society. Throughout, and as the United States’ voice in the world’s governing body, she has been critical, forthright, and unswerving. In so doing she has become one of the transatlantic community’s most indispensable voices, as well as an inspiration for students contemplating careers in the diplomatic corps.


On the evening of June 17, 2015, the American Academy in Berlin proudly presented former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher with the ninth annual Henry A. Kissinger Prize. It was the first time that two award winners were honored in the same year. President Napolitano served as Italian head of state from 2006 to 2015 and the award is given in recognition of his extensive contributions to creating a more integrated and inclusive Europe during his six decades of public service. He is also honored for his contributions to guiding Italy out of financial crisis and, as Henry Kissinger said, for "bringing about the basis of legitimate, democratic government in Italy."

Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the Federal Republic's longest serving foreign minister, serving in the post from 1974 to 1992. The award is given in recognition of his contributions to German democracy and to the trans-Atlantic partnership. His reputation as one of the 20th century’s major diplomatic figures is also a function of his unflagging devotion to healing the wounds of World War II among both Western partners and across all of Europe. During the years of Europe’s Cold War division, Minister Genscher’s efforts won him respect on both sides of the Iron Curtain, putting him in a position to advocate political reform in the East while supporting cooperation in the West.


On the evening of October 7, 2014, the American Academy in Berlin awarded the eighth annual Henry A. Kissinger Prize to James A. Baker, III, the United States Secretary of State from 1989-1992 and US Secretary of the Treasury from 1985-1988. The award is given in recognition of Secretary Baker’s outstanding contributions towards German reunification and the peaceful resolution of the Cold War, and in particular for his role in international negotiations following the fall of the Berlin Wall. “James A. Baker is a trusted friend, a remarkable public servant, and a seminal US Secretary of State," Henry Kissinger said. "In a period of upheaval, when German reunification became possible, no one was confronted with a vaster array of challenges in so brief a period of time and handled them more masterfully."


The seventh annual Henry A. Kissinger Prize was held on the evening of June 10, 2013, in posthumous celebration of the life of Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist (*July 10, 1922; † March 8, 2013), founder of the Munich Security Conference and the longest surviving member of the July 22, 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. The trustees of the American Academy in Berlin were honored when Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist accepted prize in fall 2012, and profoundly saddened when he passed away at his home in Munich, on March 8, 2013, at the age of 90. The 2013 Henry A. Kissinger Prize was accepted by his daughter, Comtesse Vera de Lesseps, in recognition of her father's exemplary moral leadership and lifelong dedication to fostering critical and candid dialogue on vital security issues, and to strengthening the transatlantic relationship. The ceremony was moderated by the Munich Security Conference's current chairman, Wolfgang Ischinger, and laudations were delivered by United States Senator John McCain, of Arizona, and German Minister of Defense Thomas de Maizière. 


On the evening of May 24, 2012, the American Academy in Berlin welcomed over 300 distinguished guests at the Henry A. Kissinger Prize ceremony, held in the Weltsaal of the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), to celebrate the extraordinary lifetime achievements of US former Secretary of State George P. Shultz. The former MIT and University of Chicago economics professor and Dean of Chicago's Graduate School of Business entered political life during the Nixon Administration, serving as President Nixon's Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, and then as his Treasury Secretary, from 1972 to 1974. After working in the private sector during the Carter years, Shultz reentered politics as Secretary of State under President Reagan, from 1982-89, the longest serving appointment since Dean Rusk, who served under both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. It was during Shultz's tenure as Secretary of State that he helped to navigate the United States through several treacherous geopolitical shoals, among them Middle Eastern tensions subsequent the 1983 Marine-base bombing in Beirut; the "arms for hostages" deal with the Sandinistas, which Shultz opposed; the heated uproar with China over the status of Taiwan; and initially strained relations with several European leaders over how to constrain the Soviets during the last throes of Eastern bloc communism, which -- to the credit of figures like George Bush, Helmut Kohl, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and George P. Shultz himself -- eventually led to the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. The 2012 Kissinger Prize is bestowed upon him in recognition of these singular and important contributions to a bold and lasting transatlantic relationship.


On May 16, 2011, Dr. Helmut Kohl received the Henry A. Kissinger Prize in recognition of his singular role in achieving a lasting foundation for democratic peace in the new millennium and in establishing a reunified Germany as the foundation for a Europe united within a democratic and secure Atlantic community. Prior to the gala event at the Hans Arnhold Center of 350 distinguished guests, Dr. Kissinger had told the American Academy, "I am profoundly moved that Helmut Kohl will receive the award. Chancellor Kohl’s role as leader of Germany during the 1980s was of historic importance. No one did more to make German reunification possible. I look forward to being with Helmut Kohl in Berlin on this wonderful occasion."

Laudations for Dr. Kohl were delivered by President William Jefferson Clinton and Robert B. Zoellick, president of the World Bank. Remarks given by Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Ambassador to Germany Philip D. Murphy.

The American Academy in Berlin is grateful to Bosch GmbH, Cerebus Deutschland GmbH, and by Dr. Pia and Klaus Krone for underwriting the 2011 Henry A. Kissinger Prize.


The Honorable Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, was awarded the fourth annual Henry A. Kisinger Prize at the American Academy on May 11, 2010. Mayor Bloomberg was chosen as the recipient for the 2010 prize by the Academy’s Board of Trustees for his unique and lasting contributions to strengthening the transatlantic relationship. Mr. Bloomberg’s enormous philanthropic initiatives to improve public health and education, his influential and groundbreaking style of governance, and his pioneering vision for a worldwide financial news information-network have become models of giving, mayoral conduct, and far-sighted business leadership.

The 2010 Henry A. Kissinger Prize ceremony in honor of Mayor Bloomberg was generously underwritten by Bosch GmbH, Cerebus Deutschland GmbH, and by Dr. Pia and Klaus Krone.


In 2009 the Henry A. Kissinger Prize was awarded to former German President Richard von Weizsäcker, whose character incomparably demonstrates the sense of partnership, openness, and shared values that has animated the postwar Atlantic community. A leader in business, government, and religious affairs, Weizsäcker's election as the sixth president of the Federal Republic of Germany, in May 1984, capped more than fifty years of personal engagement for the Western vision of a modern, pluralistic society and a deep partnership between Germany and the United States. His role as governing mayor of Berlin, from 1981 to 1984, was essential to maintaining the viability of the city in one of its most difficult periods, and on May 8, 1985 he delivered one of the most important speeches of postwar Germany on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II. Throughout his long career of political and diplomatic engagement, Weizsäcker has unfailingly embodied the values that continue to animate the spirit of transatlanticism in our time.


President George H. W. Bush was the Prize's recipient in 2008. The former US president's commitment to partnership and dialogue with allies and former foes alike laid the foundation for two decades of peaceful and effective cooperation within Europe and across the Atlantic after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in November 1989. Co-architect of the world order that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, President Bush was honored for his lasting engagement for the ideals that underlie the great transatlantic partnership and form the foundation for the work of the American Academy in Berlin.


The first Henry A. Kissinger Prize, inaugurated in 2007, was awared to Dr. Helmut Schmidt, former German Minister of Defense, Minister of Economics, Minister of Finance, and then Chancellor, from 1974 to 1982. Dr. Schmidt's long political career fostered closer understanding and cooperation between the United States and Germany, and as publisher and editor of the German weekly Die Zeit he pushed transatlantic dialogue into sometimes uneasy realms that sparked vigorous debate over shared Western concerns and interests. Throughout his activities Dr. Schmidt has exemplified the American Academy's ideals of transatlantic exchange and vigorous debate in the realms of politics, journalism, and the humanities that have deepened political and cultural understanding between the people of the United States and Germany.