Diplomacy: the university president becomes the new US ambassador to Germany

The post of US ambassador to Germany has been vacant for more than a year and a half. On Tuesday afternoon, the US Senate confirmed the nominee, Amy Guttman, by 54-42: she succeeded politics professor and rector Richard Grenell as US ambassador to Berlin, making her the first woman to hold the position.

Guttman has been at the helm of the University of Pennsylvania since 2004. The ambassadors are usually either experienced diplomats who know the region well, or major donors who have supported the presidential campaign in question, according to the American “Politico” magazine. Gottman is neither nor nor. However, it is distinguished by its intellectual depth. Her expertise in democracy research and democratic education sends a clear signal to the world.

Gottman chaired the Bioethics Committee under the Obama presidency. Biden is linked through her university: During her presidency, Biden received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Confirmation blocked due to political disagreements

Biden had already nominated Gottman for the post of ambassador last July. Since then, Republican senators have blocked her confirmation. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the background to the blockade was the dispute over sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on the Baltic Sea.

Guttmann’s official accreditation as ambassador to Germany by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is still pending. Guttmann has personal relations with Germany. Her Jewish father and his family fled the Nazi regime in Franconia to India in 1934. He later moved to the United States, where Amy Guttmann was born.

Guttmann’s predecessor, Richard Grenell, resigned in June 2020. Since then, the diplomatic representation has been run by the Charg√© d’Affairs. It is still not known when Guttmann will begin his work in Berlin, reports Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Her tenure as rector of the university ends in June and her successor begins in July.

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