Richard von Weizsäcker (1920-2015)

In 2009 the Henry A. Kissinger Prize was awarded to former German President Richard von Weizsäcker. Weizsäcker’s 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.