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Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Elke Büdenbender Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Elke Büdenbender © Jesco Denzel

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was born in Detmold (Lippe district) on 5 January 1956. He has been married to Elke Büdenbender since 1995. They have one daughter.

After attending grammar school in Blomberg and doing two years of military service, Frank-Walter Steinmeier began his degree in law at Justus Liebig University in Giessen in 1976. From 1980, he also studied political science. He passed the first state law examination in 1982 and then did his practical legal training in Frankfurt am Main and Giessen. He completed this training when he passed the second state law examination in 1986, after which he worked as a research fellow at the Chair of Public Law and Political Science in Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In 1991, he was awarded a doctorate in law for his thesis "Homeless citizens – the duty to provide housing and the right to a place to live. Traditions and prospects of state intervention to prevent and overcome homelessness".

In the same year, Frank-Walter Steinmeier moved to the State Chancellery of Land Lower Saxony in Hanover, where he worked as a desk officer for media law and policy. In 1993, he became Head of Office to Gerhard Schröder, Minister-President of Land Lower Saxony. The following year, he was appointed Head of the Department for Policy Guidelines and Interministerial Coordination and Planning. Two years later, he became State Secretary and Head of the State Chancellery of Land Lower Saxony.

In 1998, he was appointed State Secretary at the Federal Chancellery and Federal Government Commissioner for the Federal Intelligence Services. He also served as Head of the Federal Chancellery from 1999. Frank-Walter Steinmeier was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2005 and was also Deputy Chancellor from 2007. In 2009, he won a directly elected seat in a constituency in Land Brandenburg and became a Member of the German Bundestag. The parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the German Bundestag elected him as chairperson. Four years later, he became Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs for the second time, and served in this role until January 2017.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Ignatz Bubis Prize for Understanding, the Europe Prize for Political Culture, the Bosphorus Prize for European Understanding, the Willy Brandt Prize, the Tolerance Prize of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing and the Ecumenical Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Paderborn University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Piraeus and Ural Federal University of Ekaterinburg. He is also an honorary citizen of the cities of Sibiu and Reims.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected as the twelfth President of the Federal Republic of Germany on 12 February 2017.