2017 McCloy Awards Dinner Honors DZ BANK CEO Wolfgang Kirsch and ACG Chairman Ambassador Robert M. Kimmitt
Three hundred people gathered for the American Council on Germany’s 25th annual McCloy Awards Dinner in New York City on June 22 to honor Wolfgang Kirsch, Chief Executive Officer of DZ BANK AG, and Ambassador Robert M. Kimmitt, Chairman of the ACG, for their committed work to strengthen transatlantic cooperation. ACG Board member Tammy S. Murphy made remarks about the importance of the ACG at this critical time for the transatlantic relationship and called for a moment of silence for the late Helmut Kohl. As part of the Council’s 65th-anniversary celebration, ACG President Dr. Steven E. Sokol discussed the Council’s work to promote transatlantic ties through the years – and going forward.
Ambassador Philip D. Murphy, New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, presented the McCloy Award to Mr. Kirsch and the Leadership Award to Ambassador Kimmitt.
Ambassador Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the United States, commented on the role of the ACG and the importance of the bilateral relationship and also read a letter from Chancellor Merkel. In her letter, Chancellor Merkel praised both honorees and noted Chairman Kimmitt’s efforts to further German-American friendship: “Particularly in turbulent times, he has never tired of highlighting the foundation on which this friendship is based, a friendship which is nurtured and put into practice in many different ways in our two countries. For that I would like to expressly thank him!” Economist David R. Malpass, President Trump’s nominee for Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Department of Treasury, shared a letter from the President.
In accepting the McCloy Award, Mr. Kirsch described growing up “with a deep sense of gratitude towards the United States of America and men like John McCloy.” He went on to stress the ongoing importance of the transatlantic partnership: “We may no longer take this longstanding relationship for granted, and we need to ask ourselves what we can do differently to improve it. We shouldn’t only ask what is in it for me, but rather what we would lose if our relations looked radically different.”
At the dinner Mr. Kirsch announced that DZ BANK will sponsor a new fellowship program to be administered by the ACG starting in 2018, for three years. The DZ BANK Fellowships on Transatlantic Business and Finance will give finance professionals, journalists, academics, and experts the opportunity to travel overseas for one to three months to conduct research on key issues in the transatlantic economy.
In accepting his award on behalf of the entire ACG, Chairman Kimmitt also underlined the importance of German-American relations.
“Government relationships are going to go up and down; political relationships are going to go up and down,” Chairman Kimmitt said, “but underneath, those of you who are creating jobs, those of us who are fostering dialogue – particularly on difficult issues, and those reaching into that next generation of leaders through young leaders programs and otherwise – really are the ones who are keeping that foundation strong for what I think is the most pivotal relationship the United States has in Europe.”
Dr. Sokol reflected on the Council’s work throughout its first 65 years, noting that “at a time when many Americans were wary of connections to a recent foe, Mr. McCloy set out to build bridges between the citizens of both countries and to support Germany in its efforts to adapt democratic principles and to join the community of Western states.” Looking ahead, Dr. Sokol said the ACG would continue to adapt to the changing dynamics of international relations: “Given the ambiguity, the complexity, the uncertainty, the volatility of today’s political climate and the geopolitical environment, it’s also increasingly important that organizations like the ACG address a wider range of topics in a more global context. And that we reach beyond the usual suspects. Traditional foreign policy and national security topics, as well as global trade and investment policy, will continue to be important. But there will continue to be a host of new topics on the transatlantic agenda that will shape the narrative going forward. And through our range of programs and activities, we are trying to do exactly that: shape the conversation, shape the discussion.”
The McCloy Awards Dinner is named in honor of John J. McCloy, the founding Chairman of the ACG and the first civilian U.S. High Commissioner for Germany after World War II, who was deeply committed to forging closer bonds between Germany and the United States. His legacy lives on through the ACG’s prestigious American-German Young Leaders Conference, policy discussions in New York and at 21 Warburg Chapters across the country, fellowships and study tours, conferences, and other initiatives to promote transatlantic cooperation.
The ACG congratulates the honorees and extends its great thanks to the many supporters who made the McCloy Awards Dinner a success.