American Academy in Berlin

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American Academy Berlin, mansion at lake Wannsee

The American Academy in Berlin is a research and cultural institution in Berlin whose stated mission is to foster a greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany. The American Academy was founded in September 1994 by a group of prominent Americans and Germans, among them its founding chairman Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Richard von Weizsäcker, Fritz Stern and Otto Graf Lambsdorff, and opened in 1998 with Gary Smith as Executive Director. The organization is entirely funded by private donations, with support coming from private individuals as well as corporations and foundations on both sides of the Atlantic. Since its opening, the American Academy has become an institution the leading German weekly magazine Der Spiegel called “the world's most important center for American intellectual life outside the US.”[1]

The American Academy in Berlin is located in the Hans Arnhold Center in a villa on the shores of the Wannsee, a lake within the identically-named district in the southwestern part of Berlin. It was the home of banker and cultural leader Hans Arnhold and his family before they were forced to emigrate to the United States in the 1930s. It was then appropriated and occupied by Walther Funk, the Minister of Economics of the Third Reich and later president of the Reichsbank. After the Arnold family regained ownership, the villa was sold to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1958. Being located in the American Zone of occupation after World War II, it was used as a recreation center by the U.S. Army and as a meeting center for political officials and Americans until after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The American Academy in Berlin also maintains an office in New York.

The American Academy in Berlin awards the Berlin Prize Fellowship to Americans in the fields of arts, literature, humanities, politics, economics, law, and composition. Usually twelve fellows are in residence at the Hans Arnhold Center for one academic semester. The Berlin Prize includes a monthly stipend, partial board, and residence at the Academy’s Hans Arnhold Center. In addition, the organization provides short-term stipends for visiting leading Americans such as Paul Krugman, Arthur Miller, James Wolfensohn, Tom Daschle, Samuel Nunn, and Justice Stephen Breyer.

Since 2007 the Henry A. Kissinger Prize has been awarded annually to a European or American who has made a lasting contribution to bettering the transatlantic relationship. Previous recipients of the prize are former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt (2007); 41st President of the United States of America George H. W. Bush (2008); former President of the Federal Republic of Germany Richard von Weizsäcker (2009); New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2010); and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl (2011).

Since June 1999, the organization has been publishing the Berlin Journal biannually, a magazine that contains conference and media reports and other aspects of the academy's work, an annual supplement in the Berlin-based newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, and since 2007 a special supplement, together with Süddeutsche Zeitung, on the occasion of the annual Munich Security Conference.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Cultural Ambassador: Germany's Second US Embassy - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 

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Coordinates: 52°25′29″N 13°10′47″E / 52.42472°N 13.17972°E / 52.42472; 13.17972