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Federal Foreign Office awards German-US prize for journalists

01.06.2011

Today, Wednesday (1 June), the Federal Foreign Office will present the Arthur F. Burns Prize for Journalists. This year’s awardees are the German journalist Cordula Meyer, the Spiegel correspondent in Washington, and the American journalist Krista Kapralos. The George F. Kennan Commentary Award is also to be presented. This year it goes to Christian Wernicke, the US correspondent of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The prizes will be presented by State Secretary Peter Ammon, Germany’s ambassador-designate in Washington, on behalf of Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. The guest speaker at the ceremony in the atrium of the Deutsche Bank will be Frank‑Walter Steinmeier, chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

The Arthur F. Burns Prize was established in 1994 by the Federal Foreign Office and the Board of Trustees of the International Journalists’ Programmes e.V. (IJP), and is awarded annually to German and American alumni of the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Programme. It is awarded for outstanding reporting on political, economic, social or cultural issues in the other country or on German-American relations. In addition the IJP Board of Trustees annually confers the George F. Kennan Commentary Award for the best German commentary on transatlantic issues. Both awards are endowed with 2000 euro.

This year’s German awardee, the Spiegel correspondent Cordula Meyer, is being honoured for her report “Dämonen im Kopf” (Demons in His Head), which was published on 22 March 2010. She tells the story of the young soldier Joe Dwyer, who became famous after saving the life of a small boy during the Iraq war. Free of any pathos, Cordula Meyer describes Joe Dwyer’s suffering and self-doubts and the soldiers’ difficult journey back to everyday life in America. Joe Dwyer committed suicide five years after his last tour of duty.

The USjournalist Krista Kapralos is being honoured for her article “Unsere Kinder leben im Vorborgenen” (Our Children Live in Hiding), which appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 8 December 2010. In the article, Krista Kapralos describes the phenomenon of home schooling in Germany: parents who defy German law and teach their children at home because they are not prepared to entrust their offspring to the state education system.

Christian Wernicke, the US correspondent of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, is being presented with the George F. Kennan Commentary Award for his analysis of the US Congress elections on 2 November 2010, which was published under the title “Der blutleere Präsident” (The Bloodless President). In his analysis of the election results, Christian Wernicke demonstrates his ability to gauge the mood in Americain the wake of the financial crisis.

The Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Programme, named after the deceased USAmbassador to Germany and former Federal Reserve Board Chairman, has been organized by the IJP since 1988. Each year, the programme enables ten German and ten American journalists to work for several months for a renowned media organization in the other country. The patrons of the programme are the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United States and the American Ambassador to Germany.

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