Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia and currently an Axel Springer Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Together with the later U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as a member of the National Security Council Zelikow was involved in the negotiations on German unification. From this experience he and Rice jointly wrote the book, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed, published in 1997. From 2003 to 2004 Zelikow was Executive Director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks in the U.S.A.
The Ernst Fraenkel Lectures, made possible through the generous support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, bring renowned North American scholars to the institute. The lecture series at John F. Kennedy Institute was named in honor of Ernst Fraenkel, one of the most important political scientists of the postwar period. Fraenkel, a Social Democrat of Jewish descent, emigrated to the U.S. in 1939. In 1951 he returned to Germany and was instrumental in setting up the Otto Suhr Institute that later became part of Freie Universität. In 1963 he founded the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies.