Prof. Gesine Schwan was born in 1943 in Berlin and is a political scientist. She graduated in Romance languages, history, philosophy and political science in Berlin and Freiburg with study visits to Warsaw and Krakow. Since 1972, she has been a member of the SPD (German Social Democratic Party) and has chaired its Commission for Fundamental Values since 2015. From 1977 to 1999 Prof. Schwan was a professor of political science and from 1992 to 1994 Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at the Free University, Berlin. She became president of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) in 1999 and has contributed significantly to its development. Between 2005 and 2009 she assumed the office of Coordinator of the Federal Government for Civil Cooperation with the Republic of Poland. She stood as an electoral candidate in 2004, she was nominated by the SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen as a candidate for the office of the Federal President of Germany in 2009. In March 2009, together with other scientists Prof. Schwan founded the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance and from June 2010 to June 2014 was its President. She is now president and co-founder of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform in Berlin. She is chairperson of the Theodor Heuss Trustees and the Academie de Berlin and a trustee of CARE, Welthungerhilfe, Ciera, the Social Science Research Center Berlin and the Technical University Berlin. Furthermore, she is a member of the foundation council of the University of Lüneburg and the Prussian Maritime Foundation. Prof. Schwan has received numerous awards, including the Marion Dönhoff Prize for international understanding and reconciliation in 2004, the Winfried Prize of the City of Fulda in 2011, the Erich Fromm Prize in 2013 and an honorary doctorate from the European University Institute in Florence in 2006. She was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit and the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order “Bene Merito” of the Republic of Poland and the Legion of Honour of the Republic of France. In June 2015 Prof. Schwan was awarded the Order of Merit of Brandenburg.