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German Federal Cross of Merit for Political Scientist Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Funke

Award Ceremony in Berlin City Hall

№ 350/2019 from Nov 18, 2019

Political scientist Professor Hans-Joachim (Hajo) Funke from Freie Universität was awarded a German Federal Cross of Merit in recognition of his outstanding service to scholarship and society, in particular for his major contributions to political science in Germany and his dedicated scholarly work on right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism, and populism. The award ceremony took place on Monday in the Berlin City Hall. The award was presented by Steffen Krach, State Secretary for Higher Education and Research, on behalf of German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

State Secretary Steffen Krach paid tribute to Prof. Dr. Hajo Funke for his academic achievements and his social commitment, saying that Professor Hajo Funke is exemplary in combining academic expertise with public responsibility: more than any other political scientist in Germany, Professor Funke has contributed to the visibility of political science and has always participated in the social discourse with great commitment. His expertise on issues of utmost public importance is highly valued, and his voice is more important today than ever. The 75 years of his life have been marked by his extraordinary passion for politics, which does not confine itself to teaching and research, but permeates his entire work and actions. State Secretary Steffen Krach extended his personal thanks and congratulations, and stated further that Professor Funke has played a major role in shaping the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science through his outstanding research and his dedicated and popular teaching.

After graduating from high school and completing military service, Hajo Funke enrolled at the university in 1966. He majored in political science, sociology, and philosophy and earned a doctorate. In 1984 he completed the habilitation process on the topic of anti-Semitism. Funke began his academic career in 1971 at the Otto Suhr Institute (OSI). In 1977 he accepted a position as Research Fellow at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), and beginning in 1983 he worked at the Social Research Center in Dortmund. In 1989 he accepted a position as a substitute professor of political science at OSI, Freie Universität Berlin, where he was appointed a tenured professor of political science with special emphasis on the relationships between politics and culture in 1993. He remained in this position until retiring in 2010 and continued working as a professor emeritus. Professor Funke’s research and teaching focused on the areas of right-wing extremism and right-wing populism, the Holocaust and the politics of the past, and the conflicts in the Middle East. In 2008 he began to work closely with the Jewish-American Touro College. Funke was also a visiting researcher at Harvard University and a visiting professor at the University of California in Berkeley. He continues to be very sought after for his expert opinions and is highly regarded as a commentator on political topics. For example, in 2012 he served as an expert in the Investigation Committee of the Bavarian State Parliament on the neo-Nazi terrorist group NSU (National Socialist Underground).

Source (of the original German text): The Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research