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Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

H.E. Joachim Gauck

His Excellency Joachim Gauck was born in Rostock, Germany in 1940. After earning his Abitur (university entrance qualification), he studied theology and became a pastor, serving in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg from 1965 to 1990. From an early age, he became involved in opposing the communist regime in East Germany, helping initiate popular resistance and leading weekly prayers for peace that gave rise to the 1989 protest demonstrations. That year, he co-founded the New Forum opposition movement, and in March 1990, Gauck entered the first freely elected East German Parliament as a member of the grassroots group Alliance90. He was chosen to oversee the dissolution of the Ministry of State Security, and on October 3, 1990, was appointed Federal Commissioner of the Stasi Records Agency by President Richard von Weizsäcker, an office he held for 10 years. On March 18, 2012, Gauck was elected 11th President of Germany, serving a five-year term. Since 2017, he has served as Honorary Chairman of the German organization “Gegen Vergessen—Für Demokratie (Against Oblivion—For Democracy), devoted to promoting democratic principles and countering political extremism.