The United States has an ambassador in the Federal Republic for the first time

Amy Guttmann is the new Ambassador of the United States of America to Germany. Photo: Britta Pedersen / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa

With politics professor Amy Guttmann, a woman represents for the first time US interests as ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.

The 72-year-old girl of German descent presented her credentials to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The position at the top of the US representation has been vacant for more than 20 months due to a blockade imposed by Republican opponents in the US Senate.

“The wait was worth it,” Steinmeier said, speaking with Gottmann, according to the president’s office. He admitted that a new phase in relations with the United States had begun with President Joe Biden.

Steinmeier offered close cooperation with Guttmann, particularly in the defense of democratic values. Liberal democracies are under attack – from within, too. Let us work closely together, especially in this area. “Polarization is dangerous for all of us,” he said.

The Federal President also emphasized the close coordination between Germany and the United States in the Ukraine crisis. The German position is very clear and closely coordinated with Washington. We hope this will help avoid severe escalation and pave the way for serious talks.”

Multiple prizes

Guttman, who was nominated by US President Joe Biden, became president of the famous University of Pennsylvania in 2004. She received many awards for her scientific work. She had no experience yet as a diplomat. No woman has ever headed the Embassy of the United States in the Federal Republic of Germany, but there was an ambassador of the United States in the German Democratic Republic.

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Guttmann’s father is from Feuchtwangen in Bavaria. After the Nazis took power in Germany, he fled with his family to India in 1934. He later moved to New York, where Amy Guttmann was born in 1949 in the Brooklyn area. She later taught political science at the elite Harvard University and taught at another top university, Princeton in New Jersey, for nearly three decades before moving to Pennsylvania.

In 2011, Newsweek named her one of the “150 women making a difference in the world”. In 2018, Fortune magazine named her one of the 50 most important leaders in the world.

Gottman has a good relationship with the White House. As Vice President, Biden visited the university and appeared on a panel discussion with Gottman. I studied there his granddaughter Naomi.

The post of ambassador remained vacant for nearly 16 months after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Then Richard Grenell took up the position in May 2018. In political Berlin, he hardly made any friends with his frantic style. There were even occasional demands from the opposition to declare him persona non grata. The position has been vacant since his resignation in early June 2020.

Bellevue Palace

Amy Guttmann and Frank Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace. Photo: Britta Pedersen / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa

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