The Fulbright Association praised the German leader for her dedication to "international cooperation and peace." In accepting the award, Merkel said it was important to "stand up against" nationalist ideologies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel received the prestigious Fulbright Prize for International Understanding during a ceremony in Berlin on Monday.
The Washington-based Fulbright Association said they'd selected Merkel for the award due to her "remarkable, compassionate leadership and her strong commitment to mutual understanding, international cooperation and peace."
In accepting the award, Merkel emphasized the importance of international organizations like the United Nations, NATO and the World Trade Organization, particularly considering that they arose following "the horrors of the Second World War."
Merkel also warned that as the numbers of World War II witnesses grow fewer, there has been a rise in "excessive populism and nationalism," adding that "we have to resolutely stand up against this type of thinking."
In offering up an alternative, Merkel said: "Patriotism for me always means think of our own vested national interests, but also together with the vested interests of others."
Urging for a 'unified' Europe
While she never mentioned US President Donald Trump, Merkel underscored the importance of trans-Atlantic ties, and how a strong European Union can help bolster the relationship.
"As a partner and friend to the United States, Europe can only be as strong as it is unified," she said.
Jack Janes from the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies told DW that Merkel enjoyed an "enormous amount of respect" on the other side of the Atlantic as she is "resilient and has stayed on the ball."
"She represents sustainability, which is what we need right now," Janes said.
The Fulbright Prize has also been given to Nelson Mandela, former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as the organization Doctors Without Borders.
rs/se (AP, dpa)