Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AICGS

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department’s engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.

Recent Content


Episode 13: Elections Reveal New Trends in German Political Scene

Voters in two eastern states went to the polls on September 1, with perhaps surprising results: they kept their long-governing parties in place despite threats from the far right and …

The Mainstream Strikes Back with Victories in Saxony and Brandenburg, but the AfD Is Not Going Away

Voters in Brandenburg and Saxony today rendered judgments that reach well beyond the borders of two states that used to be part of the German Democratic Republic, as my colleague …

Episode 12: Memorializing Afghanistan: German and American Experiences

The United States, along with Germany and many U.S. allies, have been at war in Afghanistan for 18 years. It is the longest-running military operation in either country’s history and …

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s Gamble, and Washington’s Opportunity

Ursula von der Leyen left the German defense ministry behind this week when she was confirmed as President of the European Commission by a narrow vote of the European Parliament.  …

Episode 11: Inequality and Social Division: An Economic Perspective

Globalization and technological change have reshaped the world economy and have been vital sources of economic growth and prosperity in the United States and Germany for a decade.  Yet polarization …

The 70th Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany:  Challenges and Opportunities for the German-American Future and the Atlantic Community

On May 23, 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was established, a new state formed out of the zones of American, British, and French occupation.  It was an incomplete step …

Episode 10: Transatlantic Strategy on China: Still Elusive?

Never before has China featured so prominently in discussions among political leaders in Europe, Germany, and the United States. There is a growing consensus in Germany that China represents a …

Episode 09: Legacy of the “Hinge” Years: 1990 to Today

Divided Germany was a microcosm of the standoff between West and East, and the Berlin Wall was the iconic symbol of the Iron Curtain (listen to Episode 2 with Mary …

Frustration in US over Germany’s defense spending shortfall

AICGS President Jeff Rathke tells Michael Knigge in Deutsche Welle, “There is very little understanding in the United States, quite frankly — whether among Republicans or Democrats — for the German government’s …

Episode 08: German and European Security at a Crossroads

As the March 29 deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union approaches, no one knows how it will ultimately turn out. But some lessons are apparent despite the …

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