Annette Schavan

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Annette Schavan
Schavan 2010.jpg
Minister of Education and Research
In office
22 November 2005 – 14 February 2013
Preceded by Edelgard Bulmahn
Succeeded by Johanna Wanka
Minister of Education, Youth and Sports of Baden-Württemberg
In office
19 July 1995 – 5 October 2005
Preceded by Marianne Schultz-Hector (de)
Succeeded by Helmut Rau (de)
Personal details
Born (1955-06-10) 10 June 1955 (age 62)
Jüchen, Germany
Nationality  Germany
Political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
Alma mater University of Bonn
University of Düsseldorf
Profession Theologian

About this sound Annette Schavan  (born 10 June 1955) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). She was the Federal Minister of Education and Research in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2005 to 2013, when she resigned following the revocation of her doctorate due to plagiarism. She currently serves as the German ambassador to the Holy See.

Throughout her political career, Schavan was widely known to be a friend and a confidante of Merkel’s.[1][2]

Early life

Schavan was born in Jüchen on 10 June 1955.

Political career

From 1995 until 2005, Schavan served as State Minister of Cultural Affairs, Youth, and Sports for the German state of Baden-Württemberg in the governments of successive minister-president Erwin Teufel and Günther Oettinger. During this time, she oversaw school education in Baden-Württemberg. One controversy that erupted during this time was when a Muslim teacher was banned from wearing a head scarf in school, as that was interpreted as a religious symbol, while at the same time allowing Catholic nuns to wear their traditional habits. The argument was that the habits of nuns and monks have an official function, while a Muslim headscarf is optional.

Schavan was regarded as a possible Christian Democratic candidate for Germany's presidency in 2004, but Horst Köhler was nominated and elected instead. In 2005, she attempted to succeed Erwin Teufel as Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, but she was defeated by her rival Günther Oettinger in the internal elections of the CDU. Oettinger's referendum win – with 60.6 percent of the vote versus 39.4 percent for Schavan – was widely seen at the time as a defeat for Teufel, who had promoted Schavan as his preferred successor.

Under the leadership of party chairwoman Angela Merkel, Schavan was re-elected vice-chairwoman of the CDU in November 2006, this time alongside minister-presidents Roland Koch, Jürgen Rüttgers and Christian Wulff.[3]

Schavan served as Federal Minister of Education from 2005 to February 2013. Following the 2009 federal elections, she was part of the CDU/CSU team in the negotiations with the FDP on a coalition agreement. She led her party's delegation in the working group on education and research policy; her co-chair of the FDP was Andreas Pinkwart.

In an effort to increase the share of female university lecturers and tenured professors, Schavan introduced a €150 million equal-opportunities program under which the federal government paid the salary of between one and three additional posts for highly qualified female academics that proved a commitment to redressing the gender imbalance.[4]

In 2010, Schavan led efforts to enlist imams educated at German universities to improve the integration of young Muslims. Under a plan devised by the German Council of Science and Humanities, imams were to be trained at two or three German universities, in accordance with the German curriculum. In addition to theology, the new preachers would also study education and community organizing. In a competition, the universities of Tübingen, Münster and Osnabrück were selected for the program.[5]

On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the diplomatic relations between German and India, Schavan participated in the first joint cabinet meeting of the two countries’ governments in Delhi in May 2011.[6]

In 2012, Schavan chaired the Joint Science Conference (GWK), a body which deals with all questions of research funding, science and research policy strategies and the science system that jointly affect the federal government and the 16 federal states.

Following her resignation, Schavan was succeeded by Johanna Wanka.[7]


Amid the plagiarism scandal that led to the resignation of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as Minister of Defence of Germany on 1 March 2011, Schavan was quoted in Der Spiegel as saying that “intellectual theft is not a small thing.”[8] In 2012, a blogger with the pseudonym Robert Schmidt who is a member of the research-network VroniPlag Wiki alleged he had found plagiarism in Schavan's PhD thesis,[9] entitled "Character and conscience — Studies on the conditions, necessities, and demands on the development of conscience in the present day."[10][11] The University of Düsseldorf conducted an investigation into the plagiarism charge. Investigators found paraphrasing of secondary literature without naming the source in over 60 cases in the dissertation and thereby on 5 February 2013 revoked her doctorate degree because of “systematic and premeditated” deception.[12][13]

On 9 February 2013, it was reported that chancellor Angela Merkel had accepted Annette Schavan's resignation. Schavan continued to deny any wrongdoing and pursued a court appeal against the process by which the university had revoked her doctorate.[14] On 20 March 2014 a Düsseldorf court rejected her appeal, however.[15]

Other activities (selection)

Political positions

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, Schavan – then serving as deputy chairperson of the Central Committee of German Catholics, the church's lay organisation – demanded that the “we need more lively local churches, and therefore also more autonomy [from Rome] for local parishes.”[19]



  1. ^ Nicholas Kulish and Chris Cottrell (February 9, 2013), German Fascination With Degrees Claims Latest Victim: Education Minister New York Times.
  2. ^ Ralf Neukirch (October 11, 2005), Germany's New Chancellor: Merkel's Surprising Rise to the Top Spiegel Online.
  3. ^ CDU-Stellvertreter: Merkels bunte Truppe n-tv, November 27, 2006.
  4. ^ Universities Rewarded for Hiring Women Professors Spiegel Online, September 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Andrea Brandt and Maximilian Popp (September 16, 2010), Imams Made in Germany: Will Efforts to Train Homegrown Muslim Leaders Fail? Spiegel Online.
  6. ^ Günther Bannas (May 30, 2011), Hoffnung auf „Eurofighter“-Geschäft: Erste deutsch-indische Regierungskonsultationen Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  7. ^ "Merkel Loses Minister: Schavan Steps Down amid Plagiarism Scandal". Der Spiegel. 9 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Charles Hawley (March 1, 2011), The Downfall of Defense Minister Guttenberg Spiegel Online.
  9. ^ "Schavanplag". Schavanplag. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Vogel, Gretchen (May 2012). "German Research Minister Faces Plagiarism Allegations". ScienceInsider. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Christoph Titz: Anonymous Schavan-accuser: „I don't want this evidence to be suppressed“. In: Spiegel Online. 5. Mai 2012. (ger.)
  12. ^ "Education minister loses doctorate for plagiarism". The Local. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Jörg Diehl & Oliver Trenkamp (6 February 2013). "Plagiarism Accusations: Merkel's Education Minister Has Ph.D. Title Revoked". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  14. ^ German education minister quits over PhD plagiarism The Guardian, 9 February 2013
  15. ^ "VG Düsseldorf · Urteil vom 20. März 2014 · Az. 15 K 2271/13". 20 March 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  16. ^ Advisory Council German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).
  17. ^ [Board of Trustees] Academy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
  18. ^ Hermann Kunst-Stiftung zur Förderung der neutestamentlichen Textforschung University of Münster.
  19. ^ Hugh Williamson (April 7, 2005), German Catholics seek a more liberal successor Financial Times.
  20. ^ Ehrendoktorwürde für Annette Schavan University of Lübeck, press release of April 11, 2014

External links

  • Analysis of Plagiarized Passages in PhD Thesis


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