AGI News

From “The Hub” at JHU: Angela Merkel receives Johns Hopkins honorary doctorate

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AGI

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.


On July 15, 2021, German Chancellor Angela Merkel received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) from Johns Hopkins University. AGI President Jeff Rathke presented the closing remarks of the ceremony:

“At the time Angela Merkel’s political career was just beginning, after German reunification, a Johns Hopkins scholar [founder of AGI and former JHU president Dr. Steven Muller] wrote that a new German leadership should emerge capable intellectually and politically of enabling the Germans to rise above past torments and to become, as he put it in musical terms, the key to the fugue of Europe…I think he foresaw much of the service that you have rendered to Germany and to the international community, Madam Chancellor.”
– Jeff Rathke

The full article, including video of the event, can be found on on JHU’s “The Hub” here.

This interview was originally published by Johns Hopkins University on July 15, 2021.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.