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Hans-Dietrich Genscher

speaker location icon Bonn, Germany

Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany (1974-92)

Key architect of German reunification

One of the key figures driving European integration in the 1980s and 90s

One of Germany and Europe’s foremost politicians, Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the world’s longest serving Minister of Foreign Affairs in the western world in the last century, serving from as Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany from 1974 to 1982 and, after a two-week pause, from 1982 to 1992.

A politician of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), Genscher is recognised as one of a small number of statesmen who played a major role in shaping the new Europe and Germany’s role in the expanding Community.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher is widely respected for his integrity and vision. He was an acting Member of Parliament until the elections in 1998. He continues to preside over several important institutions, a role he combines with writing for a number of major national and international publications as well as lecturing. He is Honorary Professor at The Freie Universität Berlin as well as at Peking University. He is Honorary Senator of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina at Halle (Saale).

The many honours and awards he has received include: the Grand Federal Cross with Star and Sash, the Order of Isabella the Catholic of Spain, the Knight Grand Cross of the most distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (OMG), the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour of France.

He has been made an honorary citizen of the State of Costa Rica, and has been awarded honorary doctorates at the Universities of Budapest, Durham, Essex (Colchester), Georgetown, (Washington), Maryland, Moscow, Salamanca, Seoul, Tufts University, Tartu (Estonia), Tiflis and others.

His memoirs were published in 1995, and in 1997 published in the US under the title “Rebuilding A House Divided. A memoir by The Architect of German Reunification”.

Our Comment

"One of the key architects of European integration in the 1980s and German integration following the collapse of communism, Genscher is a legendary and revered political figure in Germany and the wider world. He is still an active member of a number of international organisations and his perspective on the future of the EU are highly valued."

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