Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger

The Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger

In 2008, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger became chairman of the Munich Security Conference on the initiative of the German government.

Ischinger began his diplomatic career in 1975, when he joined the Federal Republic of Germany’s Foreign Service. He initially worked in the Policy Planning Staff and at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., focusing on security policy issues. From 1982 to 1990, Wolfgang Ischinger served on the staff of the Federal Foreign Minister. In 1990, he was appointed Minister and Head of the Political Section of the German Embassy to Paris. In 1993, he was named Director of the Policy Planning Staff.

In 1995, he became Political Director of the Foreign Office. In that role, Ischinger was the head of the German Delegation during the Bosnian Peace negotiations in Dayton/Ohio in 1995, the negotiations on the NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1996/1997, and during the Kosovo crisis in 1998. In October of 1998, he was appointed State Secretary (Deputy Foreign Minister) of the Foreign Office. From 2001 to 2006, he served as German Ambassador to the United States of America, and, from 2006 to 2008, as ambassador in London. In 2007, he represented the EU in the troika negotiations on the future of Kosovo.

From 2008 to 2014, he was also Global Head of Government Relations, Allianz SE, Munich.

In 2014, representing the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Ambassador Ischinger co-moderated a series of Round Table discussions in Ukraine in order to promote a broad national dialogue. In 2015, he chairs an OSCE-mandated "Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project" tasked with providing advice on reconsolidating European security.

Ambassador Ischinger is a member of the boards of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) and AFS Germany (American Field Service). He is also a board member of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the East-West Institute, New York, and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the European Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFR). Furthermore, Ambassador Ischinger is a member of the Independent Commission on Turkey, chaired by Nobel Peace Laureate Martti Ahtisaari.

Since December of 2010, Wolfgang Ischinger has been Adjunct Professor in the Political Science Department of the University of Tuebingen. In June 2011 the University of Pristina presented Wolfgang Ischinger with an honorary doctorate. In September 2015, he became Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Ambassador Ischinger has received a number of honors and awards; among others, he is Commander of the French Legion of Honor. He was the 2008 recipient of the Leo Baeck Medal awarded by the Leo Baeck Institute New York. In 2015, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen honored Ischinger with the Manfred Wörner Medal.

Wolfgang Ischinger was born in Beuren (Baden-Württemberg) on 6 April 1946. He studied law at the universities of Bonn and Geneva and obtained his law degree in 1972. He continued studying international law, foreign economic relations, and history at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and at Harvard Law School (Master of Arts, Fletcher School, 1973). From 1973 to 1975, he served on the staff of the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York.

Wolfgang Ischinger is married to journalist Jutta Falke-Ischinger. He has three children. His favorite pastimes are skiing (licenced skiing instructor) and mountaineering.