OBITUARY: KONRAD VON MOLTKE ; Founding Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy
Haigh, Nigel, The Independent (London, England)
Konrad von Moltke was an eloquent champion of the environment as a subject for European and international attention and of the essential role of non-governmental bodies in shaping policy and making it a reality. He was the founding director in 1976 of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) in Bonn, and in 1984 settled in the United States where he continued to pursue these themes in association with a variety of academic and non-academic organisations. He remained a constant visitor to Europe, having a pied--terre at various times in Amsterdam and Paris, with frequent stops in London, and continued to inspire bodies he had founded or with which he had forged links.
Konrad von Moltke was born in Kreisau, Silesia (now part of Poland) in 1941 into one of the most illustrious families in German military history. At the end of the Second World War, his mother Freya, with Konrad and his elder brother Caspar, took refuge with her husband's English grandparents in South Africa, his father Count Helmuth von Moltke having been executed a few months earlier by the Nazis for the allegedly treasonable activity of promoting discussion about the future of a Germany and a Europe without Hitler.
Konrad von Moltke was brought up in South Africa and Germany until 1960, when his mother settled in the United States. He graduated in mathematics from Dartmouth College, but somehow combined this with medieval history in Munich. Medieval history was the subject of his doctorate at Gttingen in 1970. He then taught history at the State University of New York but returned to Europe in 1972 working on educational policy.
This brought him into contact with the European Cultural Foundation which was concluding a wide-ranging project called 'Plan Europe 2000'. To take forward the conclusions of that project, the Cultural Foundation established several institutes around Europe, including the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) in Bonn in 1976, with von Moltke as its first director.
Von Moltke quickly came to the view that an institute in Bonn, whatever its name, would be seen by other countries as a German rather than a European institute, and that to be effective it was necessary to have a presence in several countries. Over the years, offices were opened in Paris, London, the Netherlands and Madrid. He similarly resisted the commonly held idea that European policy was made by 'Brussels', preferring to show how often it was made by the interaction of the practices and priorities of different member states and that, to contribute to policy, and indeed to ensure that it would work, it was necessary for different countries to understand traditions in others.
Hence the importance he attached to building up a truly European civil society, rather than unconnected national ones. It is hard not to feel that if this view had been more widely shared and applied, we might have avoided aspects of today's growing scepticism of the benefits of European collaboration. Although a committed European, von Moltke often found that enthusiasts for the European idea were the greatest obstacles to the changes that he believed …
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Publication information: Article title: OBITUARY: KONRAD VON MOLTKE ; Founding Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy. Contributors: Haigh, Nigel - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 2, 2005. Page number: 34. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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