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New Academy President: Ambassador Daniel Benjamin

BERLIN, March 19, 2020—The American Academy in Berlin has appointed Ambassador Daniel Benjamin as its new president. Benjamin is currently director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.

Founded in 1994 at the initiative of Richard Holbrooke, then the American ambassador to Germany, the American Academy in Berlin is an independent, nonpartisan, privately funded institution dedicated to sustaining and enhancing the long-term intellectual, cultural, and political ties between the United States and Germany.

Daniel Benjamin said: “It is a tremendously exciting time to be joining the American Academy in Berlin. The Academy has grown beyond its founders’ ambitions and has become one of the key institutions that bind the United States and Germany. The mission of building bridges between the United States and Germany by bringing together leading scholars, artists, writers, and policy experts from the two countries has never been more important.”

Sandra E. Peterson, Chairman of the American Academy’s board of trustees, said: “We are very pleased that Dan has agreed to lead the American Academy in Berlin. His extensive experience in academia, government, and journalism makes him the ideal leader for the Academy and all its stakeholders. He embodies the Academy’s range of pursuits and its commitment to enhancing the transatlantic relationship by enabling profound intellectual exchange in the arts, humanities, and public policy.”

Prior to assuming his position at Dartmouth, in 2013, Benjamin served as Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the United States State Department from 2009-2012. Before government service, Benjamin was a senior fellow in foreign policy studies and director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He has also been a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. He spent more than five years on the National Security Council staff in the 1990s, where he served first as foreign-policy speechwriter and special assistant to President Bill Clinton and later as director for transnational threats.

Benjamin has written extensively on US foreign policy, terrorism, and international affairs. He is co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror (2002), which was awarded the Arthur Ross Prize of the Council on Foreign Relations and named a 2002 New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Best Book. He also co-authored The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting It Right (2005), a Washington Post and Financial Times Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, New York Review of Books, Politico, and many other publications.

Benjamin began his career as a journalist and was Germany bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal and Germany correspondent for TIME. He received a master’s degree from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. He is a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council as well as the advisory boards of several NGOs.

(Read Der Tagesspiegel’s article about Daniel Benjamin’s appointment, “Neubeginn am Wannsee,” by Elisabeth Binder.)

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Tony Andrews, Communications Coordinator: +49 (0) 30 80483 143;

Photo credit: Eli Burakian. Courtesy Dartmouth College

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