Ambassador Max M. Kampelman, Former Chair of Woodrow Wilson Center Board of Trustees, Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Aug 11, 1999

In a White House ceremony on Wednesday, August 11, 1999, President Clinton awarded Ambassador Max M. Kampelman, a lawyer, negotiator, and diplomat, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, for his contributions to American society.

Kampelman was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1979 to 1991, serving as its chair from 1979 to 1982.

Kampelman held major negotiating posts under both Democratic and Republican administrations during the 1980s. He was head of the U.S. Delegation to the Madrid Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe from 1980 to 1983 under both President Carter and President Reagan, and he served as the head of the U.S. Delegation to the Negotiations with the Soviet Union on Nuclear and Space Arms in Geneva from 1985 to 1989.

"In those roles," White House Press Secretary Joe Lockheart said, Kampelman "emphasized human rights in East-West diplomacy and prepared the foundation for long-term arms reductions between the United States and the Soviet Union." President Reagan awarded Kampelman the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1989.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Other honorees at the White House ceremony were Lloyd B. Bentsen, Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr., Evy Dubrow, Sister M. Isolina Ferre, Gerald R. Ford, Oliver White Hill, and Edgar Wayburn. President Clinton presented the award to Jimmy and Rosalind Carter at a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta on August 9.

"Max has had an extraordinary career of service to our nation. Over the last five decades, he has served administrations of both parties with distinction. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute to his many accomplishments as a diplomat, a statesman, and a negotiator. I am proud to know him and to have had a chance to work with him," said Lee H. Hamilton, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Kampelman is chair of Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and vice chair of the U.S. Institute of Peace, appointed by the president. He is chair of the American Academy of Diplomacy and has received over forty awards and honors from numerous organizations worldwide.