Rita Süssmuth

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Rita Süssmuth
President of the Bundestag
(West Germany until 1990)
In office
25 November 1988 – 26 October 1998
Preceded byPhilipp Jenninger
Succeeded byWolfgang Thierse
Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
(West Germany)
In office
26 September 1985 – 25 November 1988
ChancellorHelmut Kohl
Preceded byHeiner Geißler
Succeeded byUrsula Lehr
Personal details
Born (1937-02-17) 17 February 1937 (age 82)
Wuppertal, Germany
Political partyCDU
Alma materUniversity of Münster

Rita Süssmuth (German pronunciation: [ˈʁiːta ˈzʏsmuːt]; born 17 February 1937) is a German politician and a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Early life and education[edit]

Süssmuth graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Münster in 1964. From 1966 until 1982, she was a faculty member in education at University of Dortmund, Ruhr University, and their predecessor institutions.

Political career[edit]

From 1985 to 1988, Süssmuth was Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. In late 1989, she joined forces with Lothar Späth, Heiner Geißler, Kurt Biedenkopf and others in an unsuccessful effort to oust Kohl as CDU chairman.[1]

Süssmuth was a member of the German Bundestag from 1987 to 2002. After the resignation of Philipp Jenninger in 1988 she became the 10th President of the Bundestag. She held the post until 1998, when the SPD became the strongest group in parliament.

From 1986 to 2001, Süssmuth was president of the Frauenunion (the organization of the female members of the CDU) and therefore had a strong influence in her party.

Life after politics[edit]

Süssmuth at Neue Stimmen 1997

In September 2000, Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily appointed Süssmuth as head of a high-profile bipartisan commission to overhaul Germany's immigration policies.[2] Since 2005, she has been president of the OTA Hochschule, a private university in Berlin.

After leaving politics, Süssmuth has been involved in a number of philanthropic and business activities, including the following:

Süssmuth is also Member of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation established in 2008 to monitor tolerance in Europe and prepare recommendations to European governments and IGOs on fighting xenophobia and anti-semitism.

Süssmuth is a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which advocates for democratic reformation of the United Nations.[14]

In 2018 Süssmuth was awarded the Mercator Visiting Professorship for Political Management at the Universität Essen-Duisburg's NRW School of Governance.[15]


Selected works[edit]

  • Bildung als globale Herausforderung. Zwei Statements – ein Gespräch with Hermann Glaser, in: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.): Kultur und Gerechtigkeit (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisziplinär/Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Vol. 2), Baden-Baden 2007, ISBN 978-3-8329-2604-5


  1. ^ Harry Luck (January 28, 2010), Biedenkopf: „König Kurt“ und Kohls Rivale Focus.
  2. ^ Germany's Need for Immigrants New York Times, 30 July 2001.
  3. ^ Eminent world personalities call for an HIV Prevention Revolution UNAIDS, press release of 1 December 2010.
  4. ^ Strategic Council European Policy Centre (EPC).
  5. ^ Global Commission on International Migration International Organization for Migration.
  6. ^ Board of Trustees Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
  7. ^ Board of Trustees Heinz Galinski Foundation.
  8. ^ Board of Trustees Deutsche Initiative für den Nahen Osten (DINO).
  9. ^ Advisory Board Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie.
  10. ^ About Us Til Schweiger Foundation.
  11. ^ Board of Trustees Total E-Quality.
  12. ^ Presidium United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN).
  13. ^ 2009 Annual Report EnBW.
  14. ^ "Statements". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  15. ^ Ruhr, Regionalverband (9 February 2018). "Rita Süssmuth wird Gastprofessorin an der NRW School of Governance in Duisburg". www.metropoleruhr.de (in German). Retrieved 24 May 2018.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Heiner Geißler
Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
Succeeded by
Ursula Lehr