Ewald von Kleist Award

Ewald von Kleist was the founder and defining personality of the Munich Security Conference. As its patron for over 30 years, Kleist was instrumental in advancing the transatlantic security dialogue and introducing post-war Germany into NATO and the broader Cold War security order. Kleist, a prolific author, jurist, and publisher, founded the "Internationale Wehrkunde" conference in 1963 to overcome what he viewed as a "lack of experts on nuclear matters" as well as to enhance German lawmakers' understanding of American security policy. Kleist was noted for his expertise on the role of nuclear weapons in NATO's defense posture and Europe’s role in the transatlantic partnership – issues that confronted NATO and "Wehrkunde" throughout and after the Cold War. Until his death in 2013, Kleist remained active in security affairs and a regular participant of the MSC, a reflection of his devotion to "Wehrkunde" and the issues to which he had dedicated his life. His legacy will continue to inspire leaders and practitioners from around the world.

To get an impression of the personality of Ewald von Kleist, who was one of the co-conspirators in the 20 July, 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler, watch this short video produced on the occasion of the 50th Munich Security Conference in 2014.

Read also William Yardley's obituary in The New York Times, published on 12 March, 2013, and the obituary by Wolfgang Ischinger, the current chairman of the Munich Security Conference.


The Award
Aiming to honor leading figures in security policy that have made an outstanding contribution to international peace and conflict management, the MSC inaugurated the Ewald von Kleist Award in 2009. We are honoured that outstanding statesmen and practitioners of security policy, most of which have been conference speakers and participants for many years, have accepted the award.


Previous recipients

2009 – Dr. Henry Kissinger

2010Javier Solana

2012 – Joseph Lieberman

2013Brent Scowcroft

2014Helmut Schmidt and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

2015Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

2016Christiana Figueres and Laurent Fabius

2017Joachim Gauck

2018John McCain

2019 Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev