BERLIN—November 30, 2023– The American Academy in Berlin mourns the passing of founding chairman Henry A. Kissinger. We offer heartfelt condolences to his wife, Nancy, his children, David and Elizabeth, and to his extended family and innumerable friends.
The American Academy’s debt to Dr. Kissinger is profound. Present at the institution’s founding, in 1994, he was instrumental in setting the Academy’s course over the following two decades. He mentored Academy founder Richard C. Holbrooke—who made no secret of his indebtedness to the former Secretary of State—and helped bring scores of the foremost political and intellectual figures to speak at the Academy.
In gratitude for his support and in recognition of his extraordinary place in the history of the last century, the Academy created the Henry A. Kissinger Prize, which since 2007 has been awarded to an outstanding European or American figure for their contribution to the transatlantic relationship. The prize counts among its recipients Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, George H.W. Bush, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, James A. Baker, III, Angela Merkel, Samantha Power, and, most recently, on November 10, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who called Kissinger “a great man, a passionate transatlanticist, and a very skilled diplomat.”
Dr. Kissinger generously gave of his guidance, intelligence, wisdom, and unfailing humor to our young institution. He will be greatly missed.
Reflections on Dr. Kissinger’s life from the Academy’s president, chair, and trustees
“Dr. Kissinger’s stewardship was essential in developing this institution and honing our mission to foster strong transatlantic bonds. As our sole remaining founder, his passing marks a handover to the next generations, for whom this mission remains more crucial than ever. Amid serious threats to peace and democracy, Dr. Kissinger’s legacy will endure as we work to deepen intellectual, cultural and political understanding. He was a towering figure of the last century,” said Daniel Benjamin, president of the American Academy.
“The American Academy is deeply grateful for Dr. Kissinger’s founding vision and decades of support. Now in our twenty-fifth year, the Academy owes a great deal of its success to his efforts and influence in fortifying the transatlantic relationship, even when no one could have foreseen just how important this would become today,” said Sandra Peterson, chair of the American Academy in Berlin.
“Henry Kissinger was a towering pillar in transatlantic relationships. Able to forgive the immense pain inflicted upon his family by German antisemitism, his insatiable desire to share political and cultural values based on deep-rooted mutual understanding led him to co-found the American Academy in Berlin, certainly among the most wonderful and lasting parts of his immense legacy. His energy and his wit, his insights and his smile will be greatly missed,” said Stefan von Holtzbrinck, vice chairman of the American Academy in Berlin.
“As a founding trustee of the American Academy in Berlin, Dr. Kissinger believed in its mission of promoting German-American understanding from its conception, and helped steward and grow our organization since 1996. His active role in awarding the Academy’s annual Henry A. Kissinger Prize reflected his desire to honor the statesmanship of others. His devotion to the country of his birth, despite being driven from it by the Nazis at age 17, never left him. He cared deeply about the US-German relationship. He will be sorely missed,” said Gahl Burt, chairman emerita of the American Academy in Berlin.
“What a wonderful miracle, this outstanding life. A German Jew, expelled from Fürth in the darkest of times, becoming a great American statesman, advisor to presidents, and negotiator of peace treaties. This same person stayed close to his German roots, kept his hometown accent on purpose, and lived for the German-American friendship and our belonging together as free civilized nations. The American Academy in Berlin could not have chosen a better person as the pilot for bringing together our nations. He will stay with us in beloved memory,” said Dirk Ippen, trustee of the American Academy in Berlin.
“When the Academy was started by Holbrooke and my grandfather, Stephen Kellen, I remember how excited they both were to have Kissinger’s strong support and backing. Not only for Henry’s prestige value in helping grow the Academy into its success, but also the personal friendship that Henry had with Richard, and the personal connection that Henry had with my grandfather. In the later years, the roles seemed to reverse as the Academy was the platform through which Henry re-examined his own personal relationship with Germany, and maybe even rediscovered and redefined what it meant, as a successful American, to also be German. I had the privilege of working with Henry on the board of the Academy for nearly 20 years,” said Andrew Gundlach, trustee of the American Academy in Berlin.
About Henry A. Kissinger
Born in Fürth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, Kissinger fled Nazi persecution with his family in 1938, first to London and eventually New York. He became an American citizen on June 19, 1943, the year he joined the US Army to return to Germany to fight against the Nazi regime.
From 1954 until 1969, Kissinger taught as a member of the Government Department at Harvard, where he also directed the acclaimed Harvard International Seminar. During this time, he served as an adviser to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. In Nixon’s administration, he served as National Security Advisor beginning on January 20, 1969, and continued in that position until 1975 under President Gerald Ford. On September 22, 1973, Kissinger was sworn in as the fifty-sixth Secretary of State, becoming the first person to simultaneously serve as both Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. He held the position of Secretary of State until the end of President Gerald Ford’s term in January 1977.
The recipient of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, Kissinger also received the 1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom and the 1986 Medal of Liberty. He is the author of more than 15 books and hundreds of articles and editorials on United States foreign policy, international affairs, diplomatic history, and the future of artificial intelligence, among other topics. In 1981, Kissinger founded Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm that assists clients in identifying strategic partners and investment opportunities and advising them on government relations. He has also served on numerous government advisory bodies and as a director or trustee of private firms, research institutes, and NGOs.
In 1994, Kissinger was approached by then-ambassador to Germany Richard Holbrooke to become a chairman of the newly founded American Academy in Berlin, along with then-president of Germany Richard von Weizsäcker, both of whom were to represent the guiding idea behind the American Academy: the essential importance of the German-American relationship.
The idea behind the establishment of the American Academy in Berlin, Kissinger said from the outset, was the replacement of a US military presence in Berlin with an intellectual and cultural one. In many ways, Kissinger saw the American Academy as a bookend on a peacefully resolved Cold War, where American ideas and values would become a permanent presence in the German capital’s cultural and social landscape.
Kristen Allen, Press Coordinator
American Academy in Berlin
+49 (0)30 80483 252
BERLIN–November 11, 2023–The American Academy in Berlin has awarded the 2023 Henry A. Kissinger Prize to Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The award ceremony took place on the evening of Friday, November 10, 2023. Laudations were delivered by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Speaker Emerita of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. The 2023 Henry A. Kissinger Prize was generously underwritten with lead and presenting sponsorship from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mercedes-Benz Group AG; supporting sponsorship was provided by Bank of America, Bayer AG, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, and Microsoft Corporation. Additional funding was provided by Deutsche Bank AG, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, and Robert Bosch GmbH.
Jens Stoltenberg’s contributions to the Atlantic Alliance, Norway, and the international community are beyond number, having served as Prime Minister of Norway for nearly a decade, following two ministerial posts, and is now is his tenth year as Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is for this current position in particular that the American Academy recognizes the historic role Stoltenberg has played in rallying NATO members to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. In addition to his work for the defense of freedom in Ukraine, the Secretary General has demonstrated remarkable diplomatic skill and resolve during multiple rounds of NATO-membership enlargement. For his tireless efforts in sustaining and strengthening our community of democracies and advancing its core values, the American Academy is proud to award Jens Stoltenberg with the 2023 Henry A. Kissinger Prize.
The Henry A. Kissinger Prize was established to honor the founding chairman of the American Academy in Berlin. Previous recipients of the prize are: former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt (2007); forty-first president of the United States George H.W. Bush (2008); former president of Germany Richard von Weizsäcker (2009); business leader, philanthropist, and former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (2010); former German chancellor Helmut Kohl (2011); former US secretary of state George P. Shultz (2012); Munich Security Conference founder Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist (posthumous, 2013); former US secretary of state James A. Baker, III (2014); former president of Italy Giorgio Napolitano and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (2015); former US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (2016); former German minister of finance Wolfgang Schäuble (2018); US senator John McCain (2018); German chancellor Angela Merkel (2020); former US secretary of defense James N. Mattis (2021); and the president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2022).
Kristen Allen, Press Coordinator
American Academy in Berlin
+49 (0)30 80483 252
BERLIN—May 15, 2023—The American Academy in Berlin has granted 26 Berlin Prizes for fall 2023 and spring 2024, a record number of awards, with two new fellowships on the roster: the Carol Kahn Strauss Fellowship in Jewish Studies and the American Political Economy Fellowship. The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to US-based scholars, writers, composers, and artists who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields, from the humanities and social sciences to journalism, public policy, fiction, the visual arts, and music composition. Chosen by an independent selection committee, the 2023-24 class of fellows will pursue a wide array of scholarly and artistic projects, each summarized in the PDF press announcement below.
The American Academy in Berlin and Deutsche Bank are proud to announce the establishment of The Deutsche Bank Fellowship in Music Composition. The fellowship, which marks a new stage in the collaboration between the American Academy and Deutsche Bank, commences in the spring 2022 semester, will support a Berlin residency of one music composition fellow per academic year, and features a concert as an integral component. The Deutsche Bank Fellowship in Music Composition is scheduled to run for four academic years. Its first recipient is the composer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, activist, and curator of new music Du Yun.