President Joe Biden on Friday announced he’s nominating University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany.
Gutmann was born in Brooklyn to Beatrice and Kurt Gutmann, a Holocaust survivor from a frum family in Feuchtwangen, Germany. Kurt was a college student near Nuremberg when Hitler rose to power. He fled Nazi Germany in 1934 and after he was denied asylum to the US, brought his entire family, including four siblings to Bombay, India, where he founded a metal factory. He met his wife on a vacation in New York City and settled in New York.
Amy, who grew up in Monroe, told the New York Times in 2011: “The biggest influences on me for leading preceded my ever even thinking of myself as a leader—particularly my father’s experience leaving Nazi Germany. Because I would not even exist if it weren’t for his combination of courage and farsightedness. He saw what was coming with Hitler and he took all of his family and left for India. That took a lot of courage. That is always something in the back of my mind.”
Gutmann has served since 2004 as president of the Ivy League university in Philadelphia where Biden had established a foreign policy center following his vice presidency. In November 2016, the school announced that her contract had been extended to 2022, which would make her the longest-serving president in the history of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, Fortune magazine named Gutmann one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”
She is the first U.S. ambassador pick to a Group of Seven nation. Her nomination was announced less than two weeks before German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to make a final visit to the White House. She is scheduled to leave office following German parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
The White House also announced Biden was nominating Chantale Wong, who has served several appointments in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, to serve as ambassador to the Asian Development Bank; Jeffrey Hovenier, a career senior foreign officer, to serve as ambassador to Kosovo; and Virginia Palmer, a career senior foreign service, to serve as ambassador to Ghana.
All the nominees require Senate confirmation before they can assume their posts.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem & AP)