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21st April 2017

Prof Timothy Garton Ash (1974, Modern History) awarded the Charlemagne Prize

Professor Timothy Garton Ash

Professor Timothy Garton Ash (credit Carl-Johan Sveningsson / CC-BY Liisa Past)


Exeter alumnus Professor Timothy Garton Ash (1974, Modern History) has been awarded the 2017 Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity. The Professor of European Studies at Oxford University was awarded the Prize Рone of the most prestigious European prizes Рin recognition of his outstanding scientific and journalistic work.

The Society for the Conferring of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen said it was honoured to present the award to Professor Garton Ash, an “influential English European and European Englishman¬†who sees the United Kingdom as belonging to the European community of values and who makes valuable contributions to Europe’s conception of itself”. In a statement the Society said that Professor Garton Ash is “a man who argued against Brexit, who now suffers under the result, but who will continue to argue the case for a strong bond between the United Kingdom and the EU.”

The Society praised Professor Garton Ash’s work and said: “As a historian, Timothy Garton Ash does not evaluate the process of European integration on the basis of short-term or day-to-day political events. He sees the crisis against a background of complex interrelationships and points out that our world is going through huge transformations due to the digital revolution and digital networking, as a consequence of which the familiar order of things is being displaced. He argues for the preservation of democracy and its principles, of a liberal and open culture of debate, and for defence of the truth against lies in communication. Timothy Garton Ash stands up to the populists and simplifiers of our times and formulates ideas of how we should conduct ourselves in this globalised world. In doing so, he provides crucial impetus for the preservation of our values, like freedom, peace and democracy as well as truthfulness, tolerance, rights and self-determination.”

In receiving the Charlemagne Prize Professor Garton Ash joins a distinguished list of figures. In 2016 the Prize was awarded to Pope Francis. Other previous recipients include Winston Churchill, Salvador de Madariaga (who was an honorary fellow of Exeter College), Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, and Angela Merkel.

Professor Garton Ash will receive the award at a ceremony in Aachen in May.

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