Director General, Deutsche Welle, Bonn, Germany
Erik Bettermann has been Director General of Germany’s international broadcaster since October 1, 2001. The Broadcasting Board reelected him for a second six-year term in the autumn of 2007.
The Broadcasting Board elected Erik Bettermann as the successor to Dieter Weirich on May 10, 2001. The "cheerful soul from Bremen" (as the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper described him), whose CV showed him to be a "Cologne man by language and disposition" (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger), had already been associated with DW for a long time. He had been a member of the Administrative Board as part of his responsibilities as Representative of the State of Bremen in Federal and European Affairs.
Bettermann was born on May 8, 1944 in Lindenthal (Leipzig district) and grew up in the Rhineland. He graduated with his “Abitur” from the Albertus-Magnus grammar school in Cologne, after which he studied philosophy, pedagogy and social education at the universities of Bonn and Cologne and at the Academy of Administration and Business in Cologne. He then worked as a freelance journalist for several daily newspapers in Cologne and a Protestant church newspaper. He is married and has three children.
PR and politics in Bonn and Berlin
His early professional career included being responsible for public relations for the community of Rodenkirchen in Cologne, as well as for the German Association for International Youth Exchange (1969-1970). Bettermann then became Managing Director of the German Federal Youth Council and responsible for German-American exchange programs at the Federal Ministry for Youth, Family and Health in Bonn.
In 1983 he was head of the office of the Deputy Speaker of the German Parliament, and in 1985 Department Head of the Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party, which he followed in 1989 by becoming the party's Deputy General Secretary. From 1992 to 1995, Bettermann served as Counselor to the Senator for Federal Affairs of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, and from 1995 to 2001, its Representative for Federal Affairs, Europe and Development Cooperation.
Among other senior positions he was a member of the Board of Directors at ZDF, the Administrative Board of Deutsche Welle and the German-Polish Institute, and Chairman of the Gustav Stresemann Institute. He is Chairman of the RIAS Berlin Commission.
Bettermann has written numerous articles and essays on current topics in the area of youth policies, political party work and the role of the media, and given guest lectures at institutions like the Ohio State University, John Hopkins University Washington D.C. and at the universities in Kiev, Taipei, Cairo, São Paulo and El Salvador.