In a Dangerous World

Friday, November 13, 2020, 10:00 - 11:00 am EST // 16:00 - 17:00 CET

The United States, Germany, and International Security Partnerships

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman, Munich Security Conference
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13)

The United States and its allies confront a more difficult global landscape. The ability of the transatlantic community to forge a common agenda will be crucial in addressing the top political, economic, and security challenges ahead. Our discussion will focus on the changing world order and the changing international roles of the United States and Germany. We will examine the future of the transatlantic alliance, how the United States and its strongest partners like Germany can collaborate more effectively, and what their mutual expectations are from each other as they navigate a more competitive world.

Please join us at 10:00 am EST on November 13 for a bipartisan foreign policy discussion with one of Germany’s leading diplomats, whose book, World In Danger, was published in English on October 30.

This webinar will convene via Zoom. Please contact Ms. Elizabeth Caruth at with any questions.

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger has been Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) since 2008. He is Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen. He advises the governments, international organizations, and the private sector on strategic issues.

Wolfgang Ischinger studied law at the universities of Bonn and Geneva. Subequently, he studied International Law, International Economic Relations, and Contemporary History at Fletcher School of Law as well as Diplomacy and at Harvard Law School (M.A., Fletcher School, 1973).

Wolfgang Ischinger looks back at a long diplomatic career which he began in the Secreteriat of the United Nations in New York in 1973.In 1975, he joined the Federal Republic of Germany’s Foreign Service. From 1982 to 1990, he was personal associate of the German Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 1990, he was named envoy and Head of the Political Department in the German embassy in Paris.

In 1993, he was named Director of the Policy Planning Staff and in 1995 Political Director. In that role, Ischinger led the German delegations during the Bosnian Peace negotiations in Dayton/Ohio in 1995, the negotiations on the NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1996/1997, and during the Kosovo crisis in 1998/99. In October 1998, he was appointed State Secretary (Deputy Foreign Minister) of the German Federal Foreign Office. From 2001 to 2006, he served as German Ambassador in Washington, DC, and, from 2006 to 2008, in London. In 2007, he also represented the EU in the Troika negotiations on the future of Kosovo.

In 2014, Ambassador Ischinger served as the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-In-Office in the Ukraine crisis. In 2015, he chaired an OSCE-mandated “Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project” tasked with providing advice on how to build a more resilient European security architecture.

From 2008 to 2014, he was Global Head of Government Relations, Allianz SE, Munich, and served on supervisory boards of the Allianz Group.

Ambassador Ischinger is member of a number of non-profit boards, including the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the American Academy Berlin, the American-German Institute (AGI), and Atlantik-Brücke. He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). He serves on the Supervisory Board of Hensoldt GmbH and on the International Advisory Board of Investcorp, London.

Ambassador Ischinger has received a number of honors and awards, including the German Bundesverdienstkreuz. He is a Commander of the French Legion of Honor and was the 2008 recipient of the Leo Baeck Medal awarded by the Leo Baeck Institute, New York. In 2015, Ischinger was the recipient of the Manfred Wörner Medal. He has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Pristina and Yerevan. In 2018, he was the recipient of the prestigious Nunn-Lugar Award.

Wolfgang Ischinger is married to author and journalist Jutta Falke-Ischinger. He has three children. He is a licensed skiing instructor and loves mountaineering and hunting.

Chris Murphy, the junior United States Senator for Connecticut, has dedicated his career to public service as an advocate for Connecticut families. Senator Murphy has been a strong voice in the Senate fighting for job creation, affordable health care, education, sensible gun laws, and a forward-looking foreign policy.

As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) Senator Murphy has worked to make college more affordable and ensure that our public education system works to serve all students. Senator Murphy also led a bipartisan effort to reform our mental health system, working across the aisle to craft the first comprehensive mental health bill in the Senate in decades.

Senator Murphy has laid out a forward-thinking foreign policy vision for the United States. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he has been an outspoken proponent of diplomacy, international human rights and the need for clear-eyed American leadership abroad.

Following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012, Senator Murphy became one of the leading proponents of commonsense reforms to reduce gun violence. He has championed a number of bipartisan bills aimed at expanding background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murphy has fought to increase investments in Connecticut manufacturing and promote procurement of world-class national defense products made in the state. He has fought to expand American manufacturing and create jobs through his Buy American initiative, which urges the U.S. government to spend taxpayer dollars on American-made goods. Additionally, Senator Murphy has worked in partnership with local city and town leaders to rehabilitate former brownfield and factory sites so that they can be developed into new community spaces and businesses.

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Murphy served Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District for three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his time in the House, Murphy worked to improve access to housing for homeless veterans, foster job creation and advocate for affordable healthcare for all Americans. Murphy authored the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act to revitalize housing programs for people with disabilities. The bill was singed into law by the president in 2010.

Before getting elected to Congress, Murphy served for eight years in Connecticut General Assembly where he was the author of the state’s historic stem cell investment legislation and the state’s workplace smoking ban. Senator Murphy grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and attended Williams College in Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law and practiced real estate and banking law with the firm of Ruben, Johnson & Morgan in Hartford, Connecticut.

He is married to Catherine Holahan, an attorney. They have two young sons, Owen and Rider, and a cat, Ramona.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), first elected in 1994, has been one of Congress’ brainiest and most thoughtful members on national and domestic security issues.” (The 2020 Almanac of American Politics)

Mac has served on the House Armed Services Committee throughout his time in Congress and is currently the Ranking Member (top Republican) of the Committee.  He was its Chairman from January 2015 to January 2019, the first Texan of either party to hold this position.

Mac has a proven ability to oversee large organizations with complex missions and to dive deeply into specific issues while understanding the broader picture and longer-term trends.  Whether engaging with foreign officials or working with those across the political spectrum, he has demonstrated an ability to help others work together for a common purpose.

Widely respected as an innovator and a strategic thinker, Mac has consistently been on the leading edge of critical national security issues. He led in creating the National Nuclear Security Administration to improve management of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex; establishing the Department of Homeland Security, introducing a bill to do so six months before the attacks of 9/11; preparing the military to defend the nation in new domains of warfare such as space and cyber; and improving oversight of sensitive military and cyber operations.

For each of the last five years, Mac has introduced and had signed into law a package of reforms to update and streamline DOD acquisition to get new technologies into the hands of the warfighter faster and to enhance innovation within the Department.  He has also consistently worked to keep focus on and to support the men and women who serve and their families.

He has written widely on defense matters and appeared on all major television channels providing insight on national security-related issues.

In addition to the Armed Services Committee, Mac also previously served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for 14 years, as well as on the Budget Committee, Resources Committee, the Select Committee on Homeland Security, and the Joint Economic Committee during his time in Congress.  He also chaired the Task Force on Cybersecurity in 2011 and 2012.

A fifth-generation Texan, Mac has strong ties to the people he serves and to the district he represents.  Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas.  His family has been ranching in the district since 1881.

Born in Clarendon and raised on the family ranch in Donley County, Mac graduated from Clarendon High School before continuing his education at Texas Tech University.  After obtaining a B.A. in history in 1980, he went on to the University of Texas Law School where he graduated in 1983.  For the next several years, he worked in Washington on Capitol Hill, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs in the State Department under President Reagan.  In 1989, Mac joined his brothers in the cattle business and practiced law in Amarillo until his election to Congress.

Mac’s wife, Sally, is also a native Texan. They have two adult children.