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German Chancellor Angela Merkel Presented An Honorary Degree

July 15, 2021

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Lou Forster, Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees Chair
Ron Daniels, Johns Hopkins University President
Kent Calder, JHU SAIS Interim Dean

On July 15, Johns Hopkins University presented Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, with the Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of her sixteen years of principled global leadership and her legacy of promoting international cooperation and stability amid unprecedented challenges. Opening remarks were made by Lou Forster, Chair of JHU’s board of trustees. Forster stated that today’s event was “to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary human achievements,” of the Chancellor, the fourth German leader to be bestowed this honor.

The honorary degree was conferred by JHU President Ron Daniels and SAIS interin Dean, Kent Calder. President Daniels praised the Chancellor for her excellence in handling a host of global challenges from the 2008 financial crisis to the refugee crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. He remarked that “bringing a scientist's rigor to policy and a deep humanity to politics, [Merkel] has defended the values of open discourse, freedom of inquiry, and human flourishing that lie at the heart of a democratic society and its institutions.” In particular, he echoed the Chancellor’s quote, that “open Democracy is about transparency, because no one is expendable.” 

In her remarks, Merkel noted the strong and close bonds between the United States and Germany and thanked the role of the U.S. in helping to reunify Germany and bring about an end to the Cold War. In tandem, she spoke of the COVID-19 pandemic and how, “it reminded us of how uncertain life is.” The Chancellor stated that “we cannot relent in confronting the virus,” and appreciated the role of JHU in compiling data and statistics related to the ailment. She then called for further cohesion and engagement within NATO. In closing, the Chancellor responded to questions about climate change and the future of democracy. She called for a continued sustainment of shared institutions, democracy, and values, as well as a commitment to the Paris Accords on Climate Change. After leaving office, she “hoped to find new hobbies, and take account of her life.”

Angela Merkel smiles to the audience
Merkel arrives at JHU SAIS
Angela Merkel being hooded
Angela Merkel delivers her remarks.
Angela Merkel answers questions submitted by select students.