Contact: Andy Fisher, AndyFisher@FisherTrueLine.com, 571-421-6149
Federal Republic of Germany President Joachim Gauck has decided to bestow on retired U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit. The presentation will be made by German Ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Peter Ammon in Washington, DC on Wednesday evening, May 8.
This follows a knighting of Lugar last month at the British Embassy, and his knighting by Poland last November, perhaps a sign of uncharacteristic unity amidst currently turbulent relations among European nations.
According to Amb. Ammon, the German Grand Cross is in recognition of Lugar's "tireless efforts to foster and further deepen German-American relations" and Lugar's work on nuclear reduction and arms control. Lugar's "substantial contributions to maintaining peace and security in Europe are highly esteemed in my country," Amb. Ammon said.
The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit is a higher rank than the Knight's Commander Cross, which Lugar receive in 1985 for his extensive efforts to better German-American relations.
As a matter of U.S. foreign policy, Lugar has emphasized that the U.S. should remain in close contact with Germany - the largest economy in Europe. Lugar met regularly with German officials to update them on Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program progress, U.S. views on the activities of the NATO alliance, and global energy security. Often German officials would express that he was the only American official they had seen in a while and hoped that the U.S. would not take the strong U.S.-German relationship for granted.
Lugar was named German-American of the year in 2012 by the Indiana German-American Heritage Society. They cited that President Reagan asked Lugar to represent the United States at the 1983 celebration of 300 years of German-American immigration. Out of this came numerous improvements in trans-Atlantic relations led by Lugar including the Arms Control Observer Group, NATO expansion, and the Congress-Bundestag Exchange Program.
The Lugar family immigration from Germany came during the Revolutionary War. Adam Lugar came as a Hessian soldier. In a 2011 interview with the Sons of American Revolution magazine (Lugar's a member), the Senator said that Adam Lugar "and many others had the good sense to desert and become Americans. He fought as a patriot at Guilford Courthouse and was given farmland in Virginia after the war. His son came to Indiana in 1821-23 where the Lugars lived in Grant County. My father moved to Marion County near Indianapolis, where he established farm interests and where my family continues to live."
Lugar ended his 36-year senate career in January as the Senate's most senior Republican member and its senior foreign policy statesman. His career accomplishments have included creation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program that has eliminated over 7,600 nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union and continues to secure and destroy weapons of mass destruction around the world.
Lugar was also the Senate leader on European security affairs and led U.S. efforts to support new members into the NATO alliance. In private life he continues working with European allies on energy security, weapons nonproliferation and global food security. To advance solutions in these areas he has founded The Lugar Center (www.TheLugarCenter.org).
In addition to The Lugar Center, he heads the German Marshall Fund's Richard G. Lugar Institute for Diplomacy and Congress. He also runs the Lugar Academy at the University of Indianapolis which includes a Washington, DC internship program.
Lugar is a distinguished scholar and professor of practice at the Indiana University School of Global and International Studies and co-chairs the IU International Advisory Committee with former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton. Lugar is also a visiting distinguished professor of public policy at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. And he is a Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.