News Overview 2015

We Mourn the Loss of Our Trustee, Former German President Dr. Richard Freiherr von Weizsäcker

Richard von Weizsäcker was an active member of the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Board of Trustees between 1973 and 1997 and was an inactive member from 1990 onwards. He greatly influenced the Robert Bosch Stiftung like no other trustee. And the Foundation could not have found a better one.

Von Weizsäcker possessed a one-of-a-kind combination of cosmopolitanism and patriotism and had his eye on both the major issues affecting humanity and local hardships and needs. Like Robert Bosch, he embodied the best German traditions and was exceptionally gifted in inspiring people and bringing them together. A powerfully eloquent, yet soft-spoken German, the kind of person who only comes along once every hundred years, Dr. Weizsäcker was recognized across party lines as an ultimate moral authority who calmly and deliberatively moved and changed his country.

The Robert Bosch Stiftung owes much to him during its 50-year history, including his setting the course of the Foundation in many key areas, particularly in international relations. It was upon his initiative that the Foundation established its focus on Poland in 1974, which allowed the Robert Bosch Stiftung to become a pioneer in the cultivation of German-Polish relations. His push to invest more heavily in German-American relations from 1984 onward was similarly farsighted. During the middle of the 2000s, Richard von Weizsäcker was a member of the Foundation’s International Commission on the Balkans, which developed prospects for Southeastern Europe. With his broad horizons and indefatigable concern for the future of our society, he also offered important suggestions for the Foundation’s support of education, culture, and public welfare. He remained closely tied to his Robert Bosch Stiftung right to the very end, following its developments and activities, offering suggestions and advice, and attending important events – including, most recently, the 40-year anniversary of the Foundation’s support of German-Polish relations in April 2014.

This closeness was a particular honor and obligation for the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The Richard v. Weizsäcker Professorship at John Hopkins University, which was established by the Foundation, and its most important fellowship program, the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellows at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, are both expressions of this special connection.

We have lost an important patron of the Foundation – and with him, a close friend – and will always remember him with the very deepest of gratitude.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees
Dr. Kurt W. Liedtke
Dr. Christof Bosch

Ob behalf of the Board of Management
Dr. Ingrid Hamm
Prof. Joachim Rogall