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Honors for German Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and the Publisher Hubert Burda

Press Information

Press Release, Sun 9 Nov 2014

At the festive anniversary dinner tonight the Jewish Museum Berlin will present its "Award for Understanding and Tolerance" to Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance and member of the German Bundestag, and the publisher Hubert Burda.


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"I have been fortunate enough to be able to contribute to understanding and tolerance in areas that still, and again, demand all our efforts," says Wolfgang Schäuble. As Federal Minister of the Interior, Schäuble not only negotiated German unification but initiated the German Islam Conference. "Twenty-five years after the historic events that some promised would herald the end of history, in other words the irreversible victory of liberal democracy, there is still a glaring lack of mutual understanding and tolerance in the world."

Award winner Hubert Burda showed an extraordinary feel for the themes of the future when he founded the "Hubert Burda Center for Innovative Communications" at Ben Gurion University. All his life, Burda has actively worked on a range of projects to promote tolerance and cooperation: "The way I see it as a publisher, mutual understanding can only succeed if we learn to understand the radical digital and media revolution in which we are living today."

This is the thirteenth presentation of the Jewish Museum Berlin’s Awards for Understanding and Tolerance. Every year since 2002, the awards have honored individuals from the world of business, culture, and politics for their outstanding commitment to education, human dignity, and dialogue between cultures and religions. The prize is traditionally presented jointly by the museum and the Society of Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin during the anniversary dinner.

Peter Schäfer, Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, and Founding Director W. Michael Blumenthal will present the awards to Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble and publisher Hubert Burda. The presentation speech for Wolfgang Schäuble will be given by Timothy Geithner, former US Secretary of the Treasury. Rachel Salamander, a literary scholar and director of the "Literaturhandlung" bookshop, which specializes in Jewish themes, will give the speech for Hubert Burda.

Award Recipient 2014: Wolfgang Schäuble

Wolfgang Schäuble was born in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1942. He studied law and economics in his hometown and went on to earn a Ph.D in law. Schäuble joined the CDU during his studies, and has been a member of the German Bundestag since 1972. In 1984 he was appointed to Helmut Kohl’s cabinet as minister for special tasks and head of the Federal Chancellery. In 1990, as interior minister (1989-1991), he negotiated the Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the Establishment of German Unity. From1991 to 2000 he headed the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, and from 1998 to 2000 he also served as CDU chairman. In 2005 Wolfgang Schäuble was once again appointed interior minister, this time in Angela Merkel’s cabinet. It was in this capacity that he initiated the German Islam Conference in 2006, with the goal of creating an institutional framework for the dialogue between people of Muslim faith and representatives in all levels of government.

Today the German Islam Conference is seen as promoting a new chapter in relations between the Muslims living in Germany and the German government. Wolfgang Schäuble has served as finance minister since 2009. In 2012 he received the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen and was honored as a great European for his historic achievement in overcoming the division of both Germany and Europe and for his important contributions to stabilizing the monetary union and deepening European integration.

Award Recipient 2014: Hubert Burda

Hubert Burda was born in 1940 as the third son to publishers Aenne and Franz Burda in Heidelberg. He studied art history, archaeology, and sociology. After completing his Ph.D. in 1966, he joined the family business, initially as head of the advertising department of the Burda corporation and as publishing director of Bild und Funk. In 1975 he became the managing editor and a year later the editor-in-chief of Bunte. In 1993 he founded Focus news magazine. At the same time, the young publisher already displayed a good feel for the new media, which was evident in his involvement with various television and radio stations, as well as in his initiative in the early 1990s to build up Internet-based online services, including Focus Online, TraXXX, and Health Online Service. Burda has been the president of the Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) since 1997. The nonprofit Hubert Burda Foundation started in 2001 and is an umbrella for various foundations with medical and sociocultural focuses. This includes the Burda Academy of the Third Millennium as well as the Hubert Burda Center for Innovative Communications at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva. This institution is involved in research and teaching, as well as promoting interdisciplinary exchange between Israeli and European scientists, high-tech companies, and politicians on socially relevant themes of the future, such as the Iconic Turn. A recipient of the Grand Order of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany, Burda has championed the cause of tolerant coexistence also outside of the world of media and science, and has received numerous distinctions for his efforts, including the Leo Baeck Award. In the late 1980s he supported the Jerusalem Foundation and later co-founded the "Partners for Tolerance" initiative, which among other things has made generous donations to the Shoah Foundation and the Center of the Jewish Religious Community in Munich.

As at the preceding award ceremonies, the guest list comprises prominent figures from the worlds of politics, business, culture, and the media. Acceptances have so far been received from
U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson; Minister of State and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters; Senator for Labour, Integration and Women Dilek Kolat, Managing Director TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG Berthold Leibinger; Chairman Atlantik-Brücke e.V. Friedrich Merz; Vice Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the Axel Springer AG Friede Springer.

The award winners 2002-2013

The "Jewish Museum Berlin Award for Understanding and Tolerance" was presented for the first time in 2002 to Berthold Beitz, Chairman of the Curatorium of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, and Heinrich von Pierer, former Chairman of the Siemens AG Board; 2003 to the publisher Friede Springer and Otto Schily, the former Federal Minister for Internal Affairs; 2004 to the entrepreneur Michael Otto and the now deceased former Federal President Johannes Rau; 2005 to the now deceased art collector and patron Heinz Berggruen and manager Helmut Panke; 2007 to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the historian Fritz Stern; 2008 to corporate consultant Roland Berger and the author Imre Kertész; 2009 to film director Michael Verhoeven and the Bosch Group; 2010 to literary scholar Jan Philipp Reemtsma and business manager Hubertus Erlen; and 2011 to German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel; 2012 to Former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker and Industry Executive Klaus Mangold; 2013 actress Iris Berben, and Entrepreneur Berthold Leibinger.

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