Who is your hero?
About Dr. Michael Schaefer
Dr. Michael Schaefer has been chairman of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt since 2013. Previously, he served for 35 years in the Foreign Service. His diplomatic career most recently took him to the People’s Republic of China, where he served as German Ambassador from 2007 until 2013.
His career in the Foreign Service is marked by important milestones: During his first posting in New York, he helped realize the “Agenda for Peace” of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In Singapore, he promoted German economic interests in Southeast Asia through an innovative program. For four years, he represented Germany in the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. In the early 2000s, his focus was on Southeast Europe: Immediately after the war in Kosovo, he served as head of the Western Balkans Task Force advocating the democratic transition and reconstruction of the crisis-ridden region. As Political Director of the Federal Foreign Office under Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, he negotiated, until 2007, the basics of today’s Iran nuclear deal.
The fully qualified lawyer holds a doctorate from the Max Planck Institute for International Law in Heidelberg and was appointed honorary professor by the China University for Political Science and Law. He holds various memberships including the Trilateral Commission; the Advisory Board of the Mercator Institute for China Studies; the Commission on Global Security, Justice, & Governance; and the Presidium of the United Nations Association of Germany.
He was drawn overseas early on – at age 16, Michael Schaefer spent a year in Pennsylvania, USA, as an exchange student. While he made an impression as the first “soccer-style kicker” on his high school’s football team, he nevertheless later decided to embark on a diplomatic career. He is still in close touch with his host family, but his enthusiasm for the United States is being sorely tested at the moment.
Michael Schaefer is married and has three children. He is passionate about politics, and he loves theater and art – and, of course, American football.