In his presentation speech the Ambassador highlighted von Oppeln's close ties with France and her detailed knowledge about the country. Her greatest contribution to French-German relations was the degree program that she designed during the mid-1980s between Freie Universität and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques Paris (Sciences Po). She has continued to develop and expand the program and remains the responsible partner on the German side.
Sabine von Oppeln, born in 1950, studied history, German language and literature, and political science at Freie Universität Berlin, where she earned her doctorate in 1987. She received a summa cum laude for her dissertation on nuclear energy and the attitudes of the political parties in Germany and France to this form of energy. Her work focuses mainly on European integration, social policy in the European Union, energy policy, and comparative research on countries, in particular France and Germany. Besides her work at Freie Universität Berlin, she has held numerous visiting professorships and lectureships in France and Russia. In 2008 she initiated a new double degree program – in addition to the French-German program offered by Freie Universität and Sciences Po, which is now a double degree program – in cooperation with Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC Paris), which leads to a double master's degree in Public Policy and Management. The program with HEC Paris is a binational, interdisciplinary degree program. Plans to set up a French-German double bachelor's degree in political science were also put in place as a result of von Oppeln's initiative.