Frank-Walter Steinmeier, b. 1958 in Detmold, studied law and worked as an academic assistant at the University of Giessen for several years before turning to politics in the early 1990s. He became Head of the Office of Gerhard Schröder, Minister-President of Lower Saxony at the time, and was Head of the State Chancellery of Land Lower Saxony. After the change of government in 1998, he was appointed State Secretary and shortly thereafter Head of the Federal Chancellery. During his term, the Red-Green Coalition put forth key reform projects, such as the nuclear phase-out and Agenda 2010. In the Grand Coalition which took office in 2005, he was Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and, from 2007, Deputy Chancellor. From 2009 to 2013, he was Chair of the SPD parliamentary group and leader of the opposition in the Bundestag, before returning to his role as Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in December 2013.
In all his political offices, Steinmeier has played a leading role in introducing major cultural policy initiatives. As Foreign Minister, he has brought and continues to bring fresh momentum to cultural relations and education policy, having initiated the global program “Schools: Partners for the Future” and provided the impetus for the international volunteer service “kulturweit”. As Chair of the SPD parliamentary group, he was instrumental in founding the “Creative Pact” between artists, the creative industries and politicians.