Nunn-Lugar Award Honors German Peacemaker

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger recognized for role in advancing international peace and security

Photo of Wolfgang Ischinger
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger displays the Nunn-Lugar Award prism during the presentation by Vartan Gregorian, Governor Thomas H. Kean, and Senator Sam Nunn.

Former German ambassador to the United States and high-ranking negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger was honored with the fourth Nunn-Lugar Award for Promoting Nuclear Security on February 17 during the Munich Security Conference, which the ambassador chairs.

About CEIP

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) is a unique global network of policy research centers in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, India, and the United States. CEIP’s mission, dating back more than a century, is to advance peace through analysis and the development of fresh policy ideas and direct engagement and collaboration with decision makers in government, business, and civil society. Working together, our centers bring the inestimable benefit of multiple national viewpoints to bilateral, regional, and global issues.

Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) established the international award in 2012 in honor of former U.S. senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar. The award recognizes individuals and institutions whose work has helped to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reduce the risks of their use.

Governor Thomas H. Kean, board chairman of Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, were joined by Senator Nunn, cochair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in presenting the award to Ambassador Ischinger.

(Video) Watch the Nunn-Lugar Award presentation and learn how Ambassador Ischinger's work has helped to reduce international tensions.

“I feel very honored to receive the Nunn-Lugar Award, named after two pioneers of nuclear disarmament,” said Ambassador Ischinger. “It is a great privilege to join this stellar group of recipients — and also a continued encouragement for me and my team at the Munich Security Conference to highlight the various nuclear threats our world is facing. Promoting nuclear security and reducing the risks of nuclear conflict is bound to become even more important in the years to come. We will continue to play our part and use the prize money to further strengthen the work of the Munich Security Conference Foundation in promoting peace.” 

The Nunn-Lugar Award pays tribute to Ambassador Ischinger’s abilities as a skillful negotiator whose inexhaustible efforts have spanned more than four decades of peacemaking,” said Governor Kean. “Through his leadership of the Munich Security Conference, the ambassador has provided the international community with a critically important forum for grappling with the fear and uncertainty caused by the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the escalation of threats.”

“At this moment of global testing, Wolfgang Ischinger embodies the power and promise of diplomacy,” said the Carnegie Endowment’s William J. Burns. “Now more than ever, Wolfgang’s tireless efforts to promote dialogue and bridge divides on the most consequential threats to international peace should be celebrated and carried forward.”

“The Munich Security Conference is the most important gathering of international security experts and policymakers from around the world, and provides an essential forum for diplomacy and communication to prevent nuclear conflict,” said Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Gregorian. “The conference’s significance and success is due to Ambassador Ischinger’s remarkable leadership. If the conference were an orchestra, he would be its master conductor.”

About the Nunn-Lugar Award
The Nunn-Lugar award, which carries a $50,000 prize, is a tribute to Andrew Carnegie, who dedicated much of his philanthropy to the goal of achieving world peace. Past honorees include:

2012 Senator Richard G. Lugar (United States) and Senator Sam Nunn (United States)

2015 Secretary Lord Desmond Browne (United Kingdom) and Minister Igor S. Ivanov (Russia)

2016 Colonel General Evgeny P. Maslin (Russia) and Secretary William J. Perry (United States)

Senator Lugar and Senator Nunn authored the Nunn-Lugar Act in 1991, establishing the Cooperative Threat Reduction program. The program helped the states of the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as related materials and delivery systems. The senators are the inspiration for the Nunn-Lugar Award and — fittingly— were its first recipients.

Toward the end of the Cold War, Carnegie Corporation of New York funded numerous convenings, policy research, and a task force report that all contributed to the landmark Nunn-Lugar legislation and its eventual passage by the U.S. Congress. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace provided additional research about the growing threat of nuclear weapons, materials, and terrorism. Today both the foundation and the think tank remain committed to nuclear nonproliferation.


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About Wolfgang Ischinger
As chairman of the Munich Security Conference since 2008, Ambassador Ischinger oversees one of the world’s most influential forums for addressing peace and security issues, including nuclear nonproliferation. This position follows the ambassador’s career as an esteemed diplomat, serving as Germany’s deputy foreign minister (state secretary) and as ambassador in both Washington, D.C., from 2001 to 2006, and in London from 2006 to 2008. In other roles, Ambassador Ischinger led the German delegations during peace talks pertaining to Bosnia, the NATO-Russia Founding Act, and the Kosovo crisis. In 2014 he was the representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, chairperson-in-office, for the National Dialogue Roundtables in Ukraine, before serving as chairman of the OSCE-mandated Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project in 2015. 

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Ambassador Ischinger serves on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and teaches security policy and diplomacy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.