The ACG, the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and the World Affairs Councils of America will host a discussion with Ambassador Peter Ammon, former German Ambassador to France, the USA, and the UK.
30 years have passed since the heady days of German re-unification. The generation whose world-view was shaped by comradeship in arms between Germany and America in the Cold War is slowly fading away. With the UK leaving the European Union, and populist parties triumphant in the East and the South of the bloc, this historic project, once masterminded and critically supported by the US, is at a dangerous juncture. Further to the East, an opportunistic Russia is filling the space where the West withdraws, and an increasingly authoritarian China is pursuing its long-term plan of taking the pole position in the world.
Today, both the German and the US society are internally divided by new fault lines, some cultural, some economic, some political in nature. The vision of a transatlantic free trade and investment partnership is dead. In the foreign policy debates, short-term gain trumps long-term strategic thinking, thus producing dangerous narratives of neglected self-interest on both sides. The US-German relationship is in crisis and needs fresh thinking.
Ambassador Peter Ammon served as German Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2014-2018) and to the United States (2011–2014) and as State Secretary (US equivalent: Deputy Foreign Secretary) at the German Foreign Office in Berlin (2008–2011). In 2007 and 2008, Ammon was appointed German Ambassador to Paris, France.
His prior diplomatic career included postings to London (1980-82), Dakar/Senegal, New Delhi, and Washington, D.C. (1999-2001). From 1996 to 1999, he was Head of Policy Planning and speech writer to the then President of Germany, Roman Herzog. A staunch advocate of free trade, Ammon worked as Director General for Economics at the German Foreign Office from 2001 to 2007, helping German “Mittelstand” companies build a global presence. Also from 2001 to 2007, he was tasked to prepare the G7/8 world economic summits for German chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel. While in London, Ammon’s agenda was shaped by the British Brexit referendum to leave the EU.
Peter Ammon is married to Marliese Heimann-Ammon. They have two grown daughters, Ariane and Christina. His personal interests include music, science and hiking. He studied mathematics and holds a doctorate in economics from Berlin’s Free University.
Honors: Freeman of the City of London; Honorary Ph.D., University of Huntsville/Alabama; Cross Federal Order of Merit (Germany); Officier de la Légion d’honneur (France); Grand Cross Order of Merit (Portugal); Commander Ordre Bernado O’Higgins (Chile).