Historian Heinrich August Winkler receives the «European Award for Political Culture 2014»

The «European Award for Political Culture», which carries a prize of 50,000 euros, goes to the German historian Prof. Dr. Heinrich August Winkler. The prize is awarded by the Hans Ringier Foundation. The winners in previous years were Jean-Claude Juncker, Boris Tadić, Jürgen Habermas, Pascal Lamy, Jean-Claude Trichet, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Donald Tusk, and Wolfgang Schäuble.

Distinguished historian Heinrich August Winkler was honoured Saturday night in Ascona with the «European Award for Political Culture» from the Hans Ringier Foundation. Host Frank A. Meyer described Heinrich August Winkler as a great European: «This is evidenced, most particularly, by his work ‘History of the West’. The timing of it could not be better. The West must return to its values, proactively advocate them around the world. Heinrich August Winkler has established the historical foundation for this.»

In his laudatory address, Sigmar Gabriel, German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, also applauded the 75-year old award winner for his political engagement: «Heinrich August Winkler is one of the most influential historians in Germany, who – when necessary – will not hesitate to step into a political debate. Time and again he is decrying relapses into a way of thinking that casts doubt on the German choice of a parliamentary democracy, a unified and thus peaceful Europe, and close transatlantic relations. Winkler conveys a highly relevant message, particularly in view of the current political environment: The West will only be able to defend the peaceful European order that emerged after the wars and the fall of the wall if it pulls together as one and continues to adhere to the values and rules that ended the Cold War.»

The tribute was held on the occasion of Frank A. Meyer’s traditional «Dîner républicain» at Hotel Castello del Sole in Ascona. For the past 40 years, the International Film Festival of Locarno has provided the festive background for this international gathering. This year the guest list included the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset, the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen, French Minister Hélène Conway-Mouret, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Chairperson of the regional CDU party of Rhineland-Palatinate, Julia Klöckner, the Head of the German FDP party, Christian Lindner, former Federal Minister Joschka Fischer, as well as writers Olga Grjasnowa, Adolf Muschg, Robert Menasse and others representing the arts.

Hans Ringier Foundation

Back row (left to right): Marco Solari, President Film Festival Locarno, and his wife; Norbert Röttgen, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag, and his wife; Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset and his wife; Jacques Bar
Frank A. Meyer presenting German historian Heinrich August Winkler with a portrait painting, assisted by Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, and applauded by hostess Lilith Frey