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POTUS Nominates Daughter of Holocaust Survivor as Ambassador to Germany

POTUS Nominates Daughter of Holocaust Survivor as Ambassador to Germany

President Joe Biden on Friday nominated University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann – whose father survived the Holocaust – to serve as the United States Ambassador to Germany.

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Berggruen Institute

Biden said in a statement released by the White House:

Amy Gutmann is the eighth President of the University of Pennsylvania, serving since 2004.  She is also the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and a Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.  Her focus on global engagement fueled the creation of Penn’s Perry World House on campus, Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.  Previously, at Princeton University, Gutmann was Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Founding Director of The University Center for Human Values, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics, and Director of the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs.  She also worked at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Maryland.  Gutmann is an award-winning author and editor of 17 books, many centered on understanding and defending constitutional democracy and human rights. The daughter of a German Jewish refugee, and first in her family to graduate college, she earned a B.A. at Harvard-Radcliffe College, an M.S. at the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. at Harvard.  She was named by Fortune in 2018 as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”

In a statement of her own, Gutmann shared enormous appreciation for the opportunity.

“I cannot overstate what a meaningful and extraordinary honor it is to be nominated by the President for this important position of service to our country,” she said. “As the daughter of a German Jewish refugee, as a first-generation college graduate, and as a university leader devoted to advancing constitutional democracy, I am grateful beyond what any words can adequately express to President Biden for the faith he has placed in me to help represent America’s values and interests to one of our closest and most important European allies.”

Gutmann’s appointment will require approval in the Senate, where Democrats have a one-seat majority thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

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Gutmann’s father Kurt, who died in 1966, fled the Nazis in 1934 by escaping to India before eventually emigrating to New York City.

“My father had a profound influence on me beyond being a great dad. He was a model of courage and beyond all integrity. He drove home to me with not so much his words, but with his deeds, what it means to be courageous and how important it is to recognize that individuals can make a very big difference by what they do,” Gutmann said in a 2013 interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian. “It’s true that his whole family would have disappeared from the face of the earth had it not been for what he did.”

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