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Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer
Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office

Professor Maria Böhmer has been Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office since December 2013.

Her remit covers cultural relations and education policy, Germany’s United Nations and global policies, external economic policy and sustainable development issues. In terms of world regions, her work focuses on the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as South and South-East Asia.

Areas of special interest to the Minister of State include the promotion of vocational training as a means of fostering economic development within and outside Europe, the incorporation of the post-Millennium Development Goals into the post-2015 Development Agenda, as well as strengthening and boosting humanitarian assistance.

One key political focus is strengthening the role of women as part of Germany’s foreign policy.
Böhmer is currently Chairperson of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which is due to hold its annual conference in Bonn from 28 June to 8 July 2015. The aims of her tenure are conservation, the management of World Heritage Sites (also in crisis situations), their sustainable use as well as ambitious reforms to lend greater credibility to the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Since November 2014, Böhmer has been Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Tarabya Cultural Academy, which is developing new dimensions of German-Turkish relations with its residency programme for artists and culture professionals. Böhmer is thus continuing the work she did as Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration between 2005 and 2013.

During her time as the Federal Government’s Integration Commissioner, considerable successes were achieved, including the Integration Summit, the National Integration Plan or the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act.

Böhmer is a member of the CDU. She sits on the party’s National Executive Committee and is Chair of the national Women’s Union of the CDU. Since 2014 she has been a member of the CDU Federal Committee on Foreign, Security, Development and Human Rights Policy.

Maria Böhmer has been a Member of the German Bundestag since 1990, initially for the Frankenthal-Donnersberg constituency. She subsequently succeeded former Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the Ludwigshafen-Frankenthal constituency and was Deputy Chairperson of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (education and research, family and women’s affairs) from 2000 to 2005.

Since August 2014 Böhmer has been Senator of the Leibniz Association, which connects 89 independent research institutions. She is Deputy Chairperson of the ZDF Television Council, a member of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the St. Martinus-Schulstiftung (St Martin School Foundation) in the diocese of Mainz, member of the Board of Trustees of the German Foundation for Integration and Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Caritas St Elisabeth Foundation in the diocese of Speyer. Furthermore, she is an active member of the Board of Trustees of the Reading Foundation.

Böhmer was born in Mainz, studied mathematics, education, physics and political science and gained a doctorate in education. She was awarded the international prize “Zur Pädagogik der Gegenwart” (Education of the Present) in Vienna for her dissertation. Following research posts in Cambridge and Augsburg, she gained a post-doctoral qualification in Mainz in 1982. Since 2001 she has been Professor of Education in Heidelberg. From 1982 to 1990 she was the first Gender Equality Representative of Land Rhineland-Palatinate.

Picture credit: Blanke/Bundestag