This morning, we learned that our good friend and accomplished alumnus German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger (MALD 73) has been appointed to represent the EU in talks designed to open the political dialogue around Ukraine.

Ambassador Ischinger was here in Medford just a few weeks ago to give a presentation to students and faculty on the future of European security and defense. He was also a gracious and generous host to our GMAP students in Berlin during their midyear residency last summer, and I was very pleased to participate in this year’s Munich Security Conference, where he is Chairman. So, I have gotten to know him quite well.

As I said in my welcoming remarks during his recent visit, Ambassador Ischinger embodies “Old Europe,” which to me is the Enlightenment, the ideas that form our own democracy.  But he also embodies “New Europe,” which is the European Union and NATO. Given the dangerous security situation the people of Ukraine and Eastern Europe are facing, it’s encouraging to have such an accomplished diplomat leading the discussions.

“There is one kind of leader that tries to recreate the past,” German Ambassador Ischinger said in his remarks at The Fletcher School in April 2014. “If we had given into that temptation, we would still be fighting with France over Alsace-Lorraine. We would still be fighting with the Poles over Silesia. And we certainly wouldn’t be unified… In other words, we have learned that recreating the past is actually a very bad idea.”

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