Wolfgang Ischinger

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Wolfgang Ischinger at the 50th Munich Security Conference

Wolfgang Friedrich Ischinger (born April 6, 1946 in Beuren ) is a German lawyer and diplomat . He was State Secretary in the Federal Foreign Office and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, DC and London . Since 2008 he has headed the Munich Security Conference as the successor to Horst Teltschik .


School and study

Ischinger was born in Beuren, in what was then the district of Nürtingen , about 45 km southeast of Stuttgart . He spent the 1963/64 school year as an exchange student with the American Field Service in Watseka , Illinois , and obtained his high school diploma in 1964 . After graduating from high school in Nürtingen and studying law (1966–1972) at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn (first state examination in law in 1972) and the University of Geneva ( DAAD scholarship in 1967), he also studied as a DAAD scholarship holder in 1972/73 International law , international economic relations and contemporary history at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA 1973) in Medford, Massachusetts and the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Foreign service

From 1973 to 1975 he worked in the cabinet of UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim in New York.

In 1975 he joined the Foreign Service in Bonn, initially responsible for political planning. In 1978 he was a graduate of the “Young Leader Program” at the American Council on Germany (ACG). In the following years he worked for the embassies in Washington, DC (1979–1982) and Paris (1990–1993), most recently as envoy counselor and head of the political department. From 1982 to 1990 he was first personal assistant and later head of the parliament and cabinet department of the then Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP). In October 1989 he accompanied a train with which GDR refugees were brought from the West German embassy in Prague via the GDR to the Federal Republic.

From 1993 to 1995 Ischinger was head of the planning staff and from 1995 to 1998 as ministerial director head of the political department (political director) at the Foreign Office in Bonn. From 1998 to 2001 he was State Secretary under Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer ( Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen ). From 2001 to 2006 he was Jürgen Chrobog's successor as German Ambassador to the United States of America ; his successor was Klaus Scharioth . From March 2006 to the end of April 2008, Ischinger acted as the successor to Thomas Matussek as Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Kingdom ; his successor was Georg Boomgaarden .

Munich Security Conference

In the spring of 2008 he was given leave of absence from the Foreign Service at his own request, in order to take over the chairmanship of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) as the successor to Horst Teltschik, in accordance with the wishes of the Federal Government of Merkel .

From May 2008 to December 2014 he was “General Representative for Government Relations” for the newly created division of Allianz SE in Munich (“Global Head of Government Relations”).

In 2014 he was the representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE for the national dialogue at round tables in Ukraine (see War in Ukraine since 2014 ). Since 2015 he has been the chairman of the Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project, an OSCE commission for European security.

Honorary professorship

In the summer semester of 2009, Ischinger was a lecturer at the Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , where he led a seminar on the subject of "Modern Crisis Diplomacy".

Since April 2011 Ischinger has been an honorary professor at the Institute for Political Science at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen . He leads seminars on crisis diplomacy. Since 2015 he has been teaching as Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the private Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.


He is one of the supporters of the Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights of the European Union , which was published at the end of November 2016.


Wolfgang Ischinger is married to the journalist and author Jutta Falke-Ischinger and has three children. His first wife, Barbara Ischinger, was Director of Education at the OECD in Paris until 2014 .

Foreign policy role

In several key positions in the Foreign Service, he was involved in the formulation and shaping of German Balkan policy, especially in Bosnia and Kosovo , in shaping the relationship between NATO and Russia , as well as in the enlargement processes of the European Union and NATO. He was a member of the high-ranking German-Russian Strategic Working Group for Economics and Finance (SAG) set up by Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and President Putin in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology with the aim of increased bilateral cooperation.

The work in the planning staff of the Foreign Office (1977–1979 and 1993–1995) enabled Ischinger to work on conceptual foreign policy, which was reflected in publications in German, English and French specialist journals. He paid particular attention to basic questions of German foreign policy , such as B. the question of the definition of German interests, the German security and disarmament policy , the further development of the European policy and the relationship with Russia, the steps towards a common European foreign policy , as well as questions of regional crisis prevention policy , especially in the Balkans.

Among other things, Ischinger was 1995 American US with then-special envoy for the Balkans Richard Holbrooke at the conclusion of the Treaty of Dayton for Bosnia-Herzegovina involved. From July to December 2007, Ischinger represented the European Union in the so-called Troika negotiations (together with the USA and Russia) with Belgrade and Pristina on the future of Kosovo . Ischinger regularly speaks out in foreign and security policy debates, including a monthly column on the homepage of the Munich Security Conference. Most recently, he called for more European support for US President Barack Obama and advocated stronger European engagement in Afghanistan .

As a member of the Global Zero Commission, he is committed to the vision of a nuclear-free world. He has repeatedly participated in the Bilderberg Conference and the World Economic Forum, as well as conference leader of the Berlin Demography Forum .

Since 2019 he has been chairman of the Transatlantic Task Force of the German Marshall Fund and the Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Foundation .



In 2008 Ischinger received the Leo Baeck Medal from the Leo Baeck Institute .

On October 5th, 2009 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, 1st class, by Federal President Horst Köhler .

On May 8, 2010, Wolfgang Ischinger was awarded the Order of Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg by Prime Minister Stefan Mappus .

In 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Pristina .

Ischinger was awarded the command of the French Legion of Honor.

In 2015 he was awarded the Manfred Wörner Medal by Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen . In the same year he received the Bavarian State Medal for Internal Security .

2018 he was awarded the Nunn - Lugar Award of the Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) excellent.

In 2019 Wolfgang Ischinger received the Bavarian European Medal .

Fonts (selection)


  • Wolfgang Ischinger , in Internationales Biographisches Archiv 14/2014 from April 1, 2014 (la) Supplemented by news from MA-Journal until week 14/2015, in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely available)

Web links

Commons : Wolfgang Ischinger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Train to Freedom": How the refugees from Prague came to the West, Thüringische Landeszeitung of October 1, 2014
  2. Allianz SE appoints Global Head of Governmental Affairs . February 18, 2008 ( online [accessed November 6, 2013] Allianz Group press release).
  3. Oliver Rolofs, Thaw in International Relations - 45th Munich Security Conference heralds political springtime ( Memento from February 12, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), www.securityconference.de
  4. Honorary professors ( memento from September 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen , accessed on September 17, 2015.
  5. Prof. Dr. hc Wolfgang Ischinger , Hertie School of Governance , accessed on September 17, 2015.
  6. Wolfgang Ischinger takes over professorship at the Hertie School ( Memento from May 10, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Press release of the Hertie School of Governance, February 23, 2015
  7. See EU appoints Ischinger , on www.n-tv.de.
  8. MONTHLY MIND ; monthly column on www.securityconference.de
  9. Wolfgang Ischinger, His failure would also be our failure , in: The European , October 28, 2009; and: Wolfgang Ischinger and Timo Noetzel , Afghanistan must not fail ( memento from February 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), Monthly Mind October 2009
  10. ^ Website of the Global Zero Commission ( Memento of September 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Foundation and German Marshall Fund establish “Transatlantic Task Force”. Accessed April 27, 2020 (German).
  12. Wolfgang Ischinger
  13. tagesspiegel.de: Federal Cross of Merit You have earned the cross , October 5, 2009
  14. ^ Nunn-Lugar Award Honors German Peacemaker , accessed on February 21, 2018
  15. European Minister Dr. Florian Herrmann awards Wolfgang Ischinger with the Bavarian European Medal. Bavarian State Government, December 2, 2019, accessed December 6, 2019 .
predecessor Office successor
Jürgen Chrobog German Ambassador to the United States
Klaus Scharioth
Thomas Matussek German Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Georg Boomgaarden