Dr. Gary Smith
Dr. Gary Smith has lived in Germany since 1986 and came to Potsdam in 1992 as the founding director of the Einstein Forum. He became the first Executive Director of the American Academy in Berlin in 1997. Smith received a doctorate from Boston University for a thesis on “Walter Benjamin’s Idea of Beauty” and has taught philosophy of art and culture in Berlin, Boston, and Chicago. Among his publications are Benjaminiana. Eine biographische Recherche (with Hans Puttnies, 1991), Gershom Scholem. Zwischen den Disziplinen (1995), and Hannah Arendt Revisited: Eichmann in Jerusalem (2000).
In March 2002 Smith was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his achievements in building networks in cultural and scholarly relations at national and international levels. He also received the European Culture Project Prize in 1999 from the Pro Europa European Foundation for Culture for his “contributions to the innovative dialogue between the scholarly and public spheres.” Smith has received fellowships from the DAAD, J. Paul Getty Foundation, and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. In addition to his executive role at the Academy, Smith is an expert commentator on political affairs on German radio, television, and newspapers, particularly in the context of transatlantic relations.
He is married to museum curator Dr. Chana Schütz and has four children.