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46th Munich Security Conference 2010: Friedrich Merz, Chairman Atlantik Brücke e.V.
|Type||Private non-profit association|
|Purpose||To promote German-American understanding and Atlanticism|
Atlantik-Brücke (German: [atˈlantɪkˌbʁʏkə], Atlantic Bridge) is the leading private non-profit association to promote German-American understanding and Atlanticism. Founded in Hamburg in 1952, it was located in Bonn between 1983 and 1999 and is now located in Berlin.
The association organizes invitation-only conferences, seminars and colloquia. Through various programs for "Young Leaders," military officers, journalists, and students, Atlantik-Brücke fosters social networks among current and future leaders in business and world affairs. Atlantik-Brücke also awards prizes in honor of Vernon A. Walters and Eric M. Warburg.
The two Atlantik-Brücke Young Leaders conferences receive more than 500 applications per year, from which 120 Young Leaders are chosen with the help of a steering committee of political, business and academic leaders. Sixty young leaders are chosen for the German-American Conference (30 Americans and 30 Germans) and sixty are chosen for the European Conference. As of 2011, the German-American Young Leaders Conference has been running for 33 years. Atlantik-Brücke will celebrate its 65th Anniversary in 2017.
The Young Leaders Program initiated by Atlantik-Brücke represents the oldest and largest program dedicated to identifying and nurturing relationships among the future custodians of the transatlantic partnership. Since the first Young Leaders Conference was held in 1973, over 1,500 Europeans and Americans have attended one of thirty-two German-American Young Leaders Conferences or ten European Young Leaders Conferences. Alumni of these prestigious gatherings remain in contact with each other both informally and through regional discussion groups and biennial alumni conferences that had been held under the auspices of Atlantik-Brücke. On January 1, 2011 Atlantik-Brücke established the independent organization "Atlantik Forum e.V. – the Young Leaders Alumni of Atlantik-Brücke" to more effectively facilitate and manage all these activities.
Prominent Young Leaders alumni
- Christian Wulff, Former Federal President of Germany
- Thomas de Maizière, Federal Minister of Interior
- Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Former Federal Minister of Defense
- Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Otto Group
- Jürgen Großmann, Chairman of the Managing Board of RWE
- Thomas Enders, President and CEO of Airbus Industries
- Paul-Bernhard Kallen, Chairman of the Board of Hubert Burda Media Holding
- Hans-Gert Pöttering, Former President of the European Parliament
- Charles Schumer, Senior U.S. Senator from New York
- Cem Özdemir, Chairman of Alliance 90/The Greens
- Edelgard Bulmahn Member of Parliament; Former Federal Minister of Education and Research
- Michael Vassiliadis, Chairman of the Board of IG BCE – Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union
- Wolfgang Ischinger, Former German Ambassador to the United States
- Richard Burt, Former United States Ambassador to Germany
- Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Vice President of the European Parliament
- Craig Kennedy, President of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
- Kai Diekmann, Editor-in-Chief of BILD Zeitung
- Katja Gloger, Editor-at-large, STERN Magazin
- Joshua Bolten, Former White House Chief of Staff, President George W. Bush
Eric M. Warburg (founder of the firm currently known as Warburg Pincus) was one of the founders of Atlantik-Brücke, together with legendary editor Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, Chancellor of Germany Helmut Schmidt and other leading Hamburg citizens. In those Cold War times, the U.S. was looking for influence on Germany. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) probably gave the idea for founding the Atlantik-Brücke; Eric M. Warburg was a friend and consultant for John J. McCloy, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and President of the World Bank. The Atlantik-Brücke is the German counterpart for the U.S. based American Council on Germany (members include US diplomats Richard Holbrooke and Henry Kissinger).
Extract of member list
- Philip D. Murphy, former United States Ambassador to Germany
- Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State of the United States of America
- Josef Ackermann, former CEO of Deutsche Bank, Germany
- Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, former Secretary of Defense of Germany
- Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany
- Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor of Germany
- Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi AG
- Torsten Oltmanns, Global Marketing Director at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
- Joachim Gauck, former President of Germany
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany