Seoul Peace Prize

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Angela Merkel, appointed Germany's Chancellor on October 2005 and reelected to serve as Chancellor down to this day, has awakened global awareness of human dignity by apologizing and taking responsibility for past wartime crimes. She has dedicated to informing the evils and consequences of war to the world. She has also contributed to world peace and human development by strengthening cooperation among nations and helping to overcome the European economic crisis.

Chancellor Merkel has repeatedly apologized for the Nazi Holocaust during the World War II on behalf of Germany, constantly stressing the importance of human rights and the value of human dignity. She has sent out messages urging to take right actions to the states that are denying their past war crimes and actions against humanity and to dictators that are currently violating human rights.

Chancellor Angela Merkel continues emphasizing the importance of human dignity and the need for self-reflection to even this day. On September 2007, Chancellor Merkel apologized for Germany's past actions at the UN General Assembly, saying, "each and every German Chancellor before me has shouldered Germany's special responsibility for the existence of Israel. I, too, pledge live up to this responsibility that our history has bequeathed us".

She also conveyed sincere words of apology on behalf of the German government in her speech to the Israeli Knesset on March 2008, which clearly and openly admitted the actions of the German Nazi Holocaust, saying, "The mass murder of 6 million Jews, carried out in the name of Germany, has brought indescribable suffering to the Jewish people, Europe and the entire world. The Shoah (Holocaust) fills us Germans with shame. I bow my head before the victims. I bow before the survivors and before all those who helped them so they could survive."

Angela Merkel, the first German leader born after WWII, became the first chancellor to visit the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau on August 20, 2013. It was the first concentration camp to be built since Hitler's rise to power where more than 200,000 people were imprisoned and more than 43,000 were killed.

Chancellor Merkel paid a tribute and said, "the memory of the prisoners' fates fills me with deep sadness and shame. At the same time, this place is a constant warning: how did Germany reach the point of taking away the right of people to live because of their origin, their religion or their sexual orientation?" She also apologized saying that most of the Germans turned a blind eye to the Nazis' actions against the Jews and did nothing to help them."

Chancellor Angela Merkel always maintained a firm and righteous stance towards the issue of wartime history and didn't hesitate to admit and apologize for what had been done, no matter the time and place. She added meaning to the universal values of human rights through justice, reconciliation and coexistence, thereby contributing to the establishment of peace.

On February 2014, the Chancellor visited Israel with 16 German government ministers and apologized once again for the Nazi Holocaust and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel's highest civilian honor, by President Shimon Peres for "standing by" Israel and her fight against anti-Semitism and racism.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also demonstrated great leadership in overcoming the european economic crisis that first broke in Greece and led to the financial crisis of other eurozone countries in the south. She helped said countries out of crisis by demanding tight fiscal policies and big reforms in their public sector with a bold initiative to set things right, and by doing so played a crucial role in saving the European Union from falling apart. It is also notable that her leadership in overcoming the Euro Crisis helped to prevent the spread of its impact on a global scale, which could have affected the welfare of others around the world.

Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested a new future vision for the EU and its structure at the EU leaders summit with hopes that Europe would move forward without collapsing. She proposed a unified financial market, a unified fiscal compact, a unified economic policy, and the adoption of several regulations and democratic laws that would serve as four major pillar of a new european community called the Stabilitatsunion. Though Merkel's suggestion for creating a new european community has yet to be supported by Germany and by other members of the EU, her initiative for cooperation and coexistence is highly valued.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also demonstrated a firm stance for fighting terrorism and establishing peace. She dispatched German troops to aid the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan for the sake of peace and international cooperation, despite the considerable downsize of the German army following its defeat in the two world wars.

Chancellor Merkel is promoting forth an agenda to resolve issues in the area of climate and energy, closer trans-Atlantic cooperation, Black Sea region and Central Asia cooperation among many others. She hopes to bring mutual prosperity through international cooperation and develop the use of environment friendly energy.

Angela Merkel also spoke of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea during her visit to China in July, saying that global issues such as the North Korean nuclear threat should be resolved through discussion.

Angela Merkel was the first post-reunification Chancellor to be born in the former West Germany and raised in the former East Germany. Having earned a doctorate as a physicist, she entered politics as an outsider and became the most influential leader in Europe that won the respect of the world. Her life itself is as an example for those who are socially underprivileged and disadvantaged.

Angela Merkel is the first woman to hold office as Chancellor of Germany, the first research scientist to become Chancellor, the youngest person to become Chancellor and the first post-reunification Chancellor to be raised in the former East Germany. But despite the superlatives that follow, she remains all the time humble and humane.