Bright Minds of the Present  

Bright Minds
of the Present


Bright Minds of the Present

Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. mult. Angela Merkel

Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. mult. Angela Merkel (born in 1954) studied physics in Leipzig from 1973 to 1978. She has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She is an honorary doctor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Leipzig University and Wroclaw University of Technology. She was Federal Minister of Women and Youth from 1991 to 1994, Federal Minister for the Environment from 1994 to 1998 and has been leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Chancellor of Germany since 2000 and 2005, respectively.

Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka

Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka (born in 1951) has been Minister of Education and Research since February 2013. From 2000 to 2009, she served as Minister for Science, Research and Culture of Brandenburg. In 2010, she became Minister of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony – the first East German minister in a West German cabinet.
Prof. Wanka studied mathematics in Leipzig from 1970 to 1974.

Dr. h. c. mult. Kurt-Hans-Dietrich Genscher

Dr. h. c. mult. Kurt-Hans-Dietrich Genscher (born in 1927) was Federal Minister of the Interior from 1969 to 1974, and Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1992. He studied law at Leipzig University in 1948/49. In 2003, he received an honorary doctorate from Leipzig University's Faculty of Law, honouring his achievements in the unification of Europe and Germany. When Leipzig University celebrated its 600 year anniversary in 2009, he was on the celebration committee and helped with the festivities.

Prof. Dr. med. habil. Wolfgang Böhmer

Prof. Dr. med. habil. Wolfgang Böhmer (born in 1936) was Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt from 2002 to 2011 and served as President of the Bundesrat in 2002/2003. He studied medicine in Leipzig from 1954 to 1959. After graduation, he worked in the Görlitz Women's Hospital, and from 1974 to 1991 he was Chief of Medicine in the Paul Gerhardt Stift hospital in Wittenberg. In 1991, Wolfgang Böhmer became Minister of Finance of Saxony-Anhalt, in 1993/1994 he was Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. Between 1994 and 2002, he held various political positions: member of the Landtag, Vice President of the Landtag, as well as parliamentary and national chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Saxony-Anhalt.

Vera-Cornelia Lengsfeld

Vera-Cornelia Lengsfeld (born in 1952) was a prominent civil rights activist in East Germany. In 1990, she was elected to the GDR parliament, and at the first election after German reunification, she was elected to the Bundestag, where she stayed until 2005. She co-founded the Bürgerbüro für die Verfolgten der DDR-Diktatur (civil office for the prosecuted in the GDR dictatorship) and the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. In 2008, she was awarded an Order of Merit on ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany for her achievements in commemorating the causes and effects of the SED dictatorship. Vera Lengsfeld studied history in Leipzig from 1970 to 1972. Today, she works as a freelance writer in Berlin.

Uwe Tellkamp

Uwe Tellkamp (born in 1968) studied medicine in Leipzig, New York and Dresden and worked as an emergency surgeon until 2004 when he left the profession for his career as a writer. In 2000, his debut novel titled "Der Hecht, die Träume und das Portugiesische Café" was published. After receiving numerous awards for his poetry, Uwe Tellkamp was awarded the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2004. In 2008, he won the German Book Prize for his novel "The Tower."

Dr. h. c. Reiner Kunze

Dr. h. c. Reiner Kunze (born in 1933), poet, writer and translator, studied philosophy and journalism in Leipzig from 1951 to 1955. He was expelled from the GDR's association of writers, which was tantamount to a ban from the profession, for criticizing the GDR system. In 1977, he moved to West Germany. Reiner Kunze won many literature awards, such as the Georg Büchner Prize.

Juli Zeh

Juli Zeh (born in 1974) studied law at Leipzig University from 1995 to 1998 and literary writing at the German Institute for Literature from 1996 to 2000. She is one of the most successful writers of her generation. Her debut novel "Eagles and Angels" was translated into 28 languages and won several awards. In May 2008, she visited Leipzig University again to discuss her time of study with current students.

Clemens Meyer

Clemens Meyer (born in 1977) studied at the German Institute for Literature from 1998 to 2003. His debut novel "As We Were Dreaming" was published in February 2006, followed by "All the Lights" (2008), "Acts of Violence" (2010) and "Im Stein" (2013). His work won several awards, including the Leipzig Book Fair Prize.

Maybrit Illner

Maybrit Illner (born in 1965) studied journalism in Leipzig from 1984 to 1988. She co-presented the ZDF-Morgenmagazin, a weekday morning show, from 1992 to 1998. Since October 1999, she has been presenting a political talk show originally titled Berlin Mitte, but changed in March 2007 to Maybrit Illner. She was awarded the Deutscher Fernsehpreis (German Television Award) in the category of best information programme in 2004. Since 2010, Maybrit Illner has been anchoring ZDF's news show heute-journal, in rotation with Claus Kleber and Marietta Slomka.

Kristin Otto

Kristin Otto (born in 1966) is a German Olympic swimming champion. In 1988, she won six gold medals in Seoul. She took correspondence courses in journalism at Leipzig University from 1989 to 1997 and studied sport journalism for three semesters. Since 1992, she has been working as an editor and presenter at ZDF and reports on world championships and Olympic Games, such as the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China.

Prof. Dr. med. vet. Jörg Junhold

Prof. Dr. med. vet. Jörg Junhold (born in 1964) studied veterinary medicine in Leipzig from 1985 to 1989. Since 1997, he has been manager and director of the Leipzig Zoo, one of Germany's most popular zoos. By 2015, Leipzig Zoo will be a so-called "Zoo of the Future."

last update: 01.03.2018 


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Leipzig Alumni International
(International Alumni)

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