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Rita Süssmuth

Page history last edited by Yen Han Yu 6 years ago

 Rita Süssmuth February  17, 1937



Personal Data

Born : 17 February 1937 (age 81)

Home town : Wuppertal, Germany

Family : Married with Hans Süssmuth, and had a daughter

Political party : CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany)

Alma mater : University of Münster



1956 : Graduated from high school in Emsland-Gymnasium in Rheine

1961 : Completed a degree in Romance languages and history in Münster, Tübingen and Paris.

1964 : Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Münster 




  • In 1964, she work on the anthropology of the child in contemporary French literature at the University of Münster .
  • 1963 ~1966 : She worked as a scientific assistant at the universities of Stuttgart (with Robert Spaemann ) and Osnabrück. 
  • 1966 : As a lecturer at the Pedagogical University Ruhr. 
  • 1969 ~ 1982 : She had a teaching assignment at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum for International Comparative Education.
  • In 1971, she was appointed Full Professor of Educational Science at the Ruhr University of Education. 
  • Since 1971 she has worked on the scientific advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs.
  • In 1973, she accepted the call of the University of Dortmund. 
  • 1982 ~ 1985 : She was the director of the Institute for Women and Society in Hannover. During her time as an active politician she gave block seminars at the University of Göttingen.
  • In 2002, she became a member of the Limbach Commission, which acts as a mediator in questions of Nazi looted art.
  • On September 6, 2005, Rita Süssmuth was appointed as the new President of the state-approved Berlin OTA Private University.


Awards and Honors

Honorary Doctorates


  • 1988 - Hildesheim University
  • 1990 - Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 1994 - University Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
  • 1998 - Johns Hopkins University Baltimore , USA
  • 1998 - Ben Gurion University of the Negev Be'er Sheva , Israel
  • 2002 - University of Augsburg
  • 2018 - University of Rzeszów , Poland

1988 - Woman of the Year 1987 election by the Association of German Citizens

1988 - Bambi

1989 - Leibniz Medal of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz

1990 - Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

1997 - Avicenna Gold Medal of UNESCO

1997 - Frankfurt Walter Dirks Prize

2004 - Compass Needle of the Gay Network NRW (for its use for the prevention of AIDS especially in the gay area)

2006 - Magnus Hirschfeld Medal for Sexual Reform

2007 - Theodor Heuss Prize (together with Mustafa Cerić )

2007 - Rita Süssmuth was honored with the Reminders Day Award for her great commitment to the fight against AIDS.

2007 - Lower Saxony State Medal

2007 - Golden Lot , honor of the Association of German Surveyors

2008 - Viadrina Prize of the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

2010 - seal of honor of the municipality Wadersloh

2011 - Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia

2012 - Adam Mickiewicz Prize for services to German-French-Polish cooperation ( Weimar Triangle )

2013 - Edith Stein Prize

2014 - Leibniz-Ring-Hannover

2015 - Reinhard Mohn Prize

2015 - Winfried Prize

2016 - honorary membership of the German AIDS-Hilfe

2016 - Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg

2016 - Dorothea Schlözer Medal of the University of Göttingen


Membership-Professional Organizations


  • From 1966 until 1982, she was a faculty member in education at University of Dortmund, Ruhr University, and their predecessor institutions. 
  • From 1985 to 1988, Süssmuth was Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. She was a member of the German Bundestag from 1987 to 2002. 
  • 1988 to 1998, she became 10th President of the Bundestag. 
  • 1986 to 2001, Süssmuth was president of the Frauenunion (the organization of the female members of the CDU) and therefore had a strong influence in her party. 
  • In September 2000, Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily appointed Süssmuth as head of a high-profile bipartisan commission to overhaul Germany's immigration policies.
  • Since 2005, she has been president of the OTA Hochschule, a private university in Berlin.
  • Süssmuth is also Member of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation established in 2008 to monitor tolerance in Europe and prepare recommendations to European governments and IGOs on fighting xenophobia and anti-Semitism.




  • 1964 studies on the anthropology of the child in the French literature of the present with special consideration François Mauriacs ( PhD )
  • 1980 On anthropology of the child. Investigations and interpretations
  • 1985 women - the resignation no chance
  • 1987 AIDS: ways out of fear
  • 1987 Frauenlexikon: Traditions, Facts, Perspectives together with Anneliese Lissner and Karin Walter
  • 1989 Emma co-author
  • 1992 The haphazard elites together with Peter Glotz (SPD) and Konrad Seitz (Ambassador)
  • 1997 A German interim report: Points of view on dealing with our past
  • 2000 Who does not fight has already lost
  • 2006 Migration and Integration: Test case for our society
  • 2007 Nevertheless, man goes first. For a reversal in politics and society
  • 2007 Education as a global challenge. Two statements - a conversation with Hermann Glaser , in: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.): Culture and Justice (= Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies / Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Vol. 2), Baden-Baden 2007
  • 2015 The poison of the political. Thoughts and memories. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich ISBN 978-3-423-28043-3 ( Review in the Annotated Bibliography of Political Science )


Professional Interest Areas

  • Romance language, education, politics, medical care (HIV, AIDS), educational science, adult education, sociology, psychology and pedagogy.


Major Contributions to Adult Education

  1. Rita Suessmuth, Ph.D., is an active force in adult and continuing education in Germany, in neighboring countries and UNESCO.
  2. She raised the stature of adult and continuing education in her political roles as a member of the German parliament, as Federal Minister for Youth, Family, Women and Health (1985-1988), and as president of the German Federal Parliament (1988-1998), the highest protocollary position in the German political system.
  3. Suessmuth influenced continuing education greatly during her presidency of the UNESCO World Conference on adult and continuing education CONFINTEA V (1997) in Hamburg, Germany. 
  4. Suessmuth enhanced the field of adult and continuing education in Germany by representing the German Association for Adult and Continuing Education (DVV) with her authority as president of the Federal Parliament.
  5. Suessmuth influenced the growth of continuing education in Eastern Europe, i.e. Bulgaria and Serbia, and especially Kosovo.
  6. Under Suessmuth leadership in 2006, the largest adult education conference in Europe was held in Berlin, Germany. Participants included Germany’s president, minister of education, and the European Union commissioner on education and culture. 
  7. Suessmuth’s contributions to higher education have been recognized by honorary doctorates from the German Universities, Bochum and Augsburg; University Weliko, Tarnowo/Bulgaria; Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; and Ben-Gurion University, Israel. 


Additional Resources

Photo Gallery

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  • Reimar Oltmanns : Women in power - Marie Schlei - Renate Schmidt - Irmgard Adam-Schwaetzer - Rita Süssmuth - Antje Vollmer. Logs of a break-up era. atheneum program by anton hain, Frankfurt a / M, 1990, ISBN 3-445-08551-X .
  • Ilse Lenz : The New Women's Movement in Germany. Farewell to the small difference . VS publishing house for social sciences, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-14729-1 .
  • Jürgen Mittag : From the circle of notables to the European network: six decades of the European Movement Germany. In: 60 years European Movement Germany . Berlin 2009, page: 12-28. Online ( Memento of 18 January 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  • Johanna Klatt: Rita Süssmuth. Political career of a page starter in the Kohl era. Ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-8382-0150-4 .
  • Rita Süssmuth, Renate Schmidt , Maria Jepsen , Miguel-Pascal Schaar (ed.): What's left? Four years of church AIDS work in Hamburg. Men's Swarm 1995, ISBN 3-928983-28-8 .
  • Anneliese Lissner , Rita Süssmuth, Karin Walter (ed.): Frauenlexikon. Traditions, facts, perspectives. , Publisher Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau; Basel; Vienna 1988, ISBN 3-451-20977-2 .
  • Why do you first bless us in the coffin? In: The Time , Issue 32/1992.

















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