Shepard Stone was an American journalist and politician who played a key role in the development of a free democratic press in Germany after World War II. Between the 1930s and the time of his passing in 1990, he spent different stages of his life in Germany. Prior to World War II, he came as a student and a scholar; in the mid 1940s, he was posted here as a member of the U.S. Army; in 1949, he returned in a political capacity; and in 1974, he helped found the Aspen Institute Germany and became its first Executive Director.
His life was also shaped by several important historic events, such as World War II, the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, to name but a few. These milestones coupled with his own personal experiences rendered him the committed transatlanticist that he was.
He understood that liberty, friendship and trust could not be taken for granted, but that these values had to be fostered and protected. Thus, Shepard Stone made it his mission to further promote the ideals of a free and open society and to strengthen the transatlantic partnership by cultivating mutual exchange and cooperation across the different realms of public life between Germany and the United States.
The Shepard Stone Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the promotion of free and open societies as well as exceptional leadership in transatlantic affairs. It honors individuals in the realms of politics, culture, society, and science who represent the deeply rooted values of freedom and partnership shared by the United States and Germany.
The award was initiated by Aspen Germany in 2014, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, in order to carry on the memory and spirit of Shepard Stone and to preserve his extraordinary achievements in liberal democracy and the German-American friendship.
The Shepard Stone Award is presented during the Aspen Gala to a German or an American recipient.
Previous awardees include Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Chairman of the Board of Axel Springer Publishing, and Leonard Lauder, who had the initial idea to promote the Aspen Idea in Germany and who is the former Chairman of the Board of Estée Lauder Companies. In 2017, the award was presented to Dr. Guido Goldman, founder of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and Wolf Biermann, poet, composer, and singer. The honorary speeches were held by Ambassadors Phil Murphy and Wolfgang Ischinger, as well as the German author Peter Schneider and the author and journalist Hannes Stein.
This year, the Shepard Stone Award was presented to Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and Robert B. Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank; Former U.S. Trade Representative; and Lead U.S. Delegation at Two-Plus-Four Talks, during the Aspen Gala 2019.
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