Posts Tagged ‘Cem Özdemir’

Two years of self-imposed exile for zu Guttenberg

June 13, 2011

Governments no longer send people into exile but those out of favour often choose self-imposed exile to remove themselves from the public consciousness and wait for better days.

zu Guttenberg needs to purge himself after his plagiarism escapades were found out and seems to have chosen to go this route. A self-imposed exile in London or Washington for about 2 years. But for the “cut and paste” generation his sins are not so heinous – even in academic circles. I consider it unfortunate but it is a reality that the originality that was once considered necessary for any PhD work – in any country and especially in the non-quantitative disciplines – continues to be diluted. Even in the quantitative sciences, the pressure on producing publications has led to many labs with PhD students becoming paper factories. The students go along because the number of their publications is their entry into the academic world.

My guess is that he will be back in German politics in about 5 years. Der Spiegel reports:

After months of hiding from the spotlight, Germany’s fallen former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is ready for his next big move — abroad. The conservative is preparing to leave the country and rethink his career following the plagiarism allegations that stalled his promising political trajectory. 

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has reason to be cautious. State prosecutors are still investigating more than 100 claims connected to allegations that he plagiarized large chunks of his doctoral dissertation. Once Germany’s most popular and promising politician, the scandal forced the member of the Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union to step down from his post as defense minister on March 1. His alma mater, the University of Bayreuth, later stripped him of his doctoral title, after a damning review of his work found that he had deliberately used text from various sources, including the academic service of the Bundestag where he was an MP at the time, without attributing it. 

Guttenberg has called the plan to leave Germany for at least two years a “sabbatical” in conversations with and emails to friends. He has also reportedly refused to rule out a return to politics at a later date.

Guttenberg and his family are reportedly planning a fresh start abroad after his plagiarism scandal.

Exile or a sabbatical for zu Googleberg: image Der Spiegel


Moving to America in times of difficulty has become an informal tradition for German politicians. Current co-chair of the environmentalist Greens, Cem Özdemir, took a job at a Washington think tank after his personal use of frequent flyer miles earned on the job scandalized German newspapers. He later made a successful comeback.  

Guttenberg, who resigned after just 16 months as defence minister, could be attempting a similar approach. Before the plagiarism scandal many expected the suave aristocrat to make it all the way to the chancellery.

But Guttenberg doesn’t plan to leave too quietly. Before his departure he’s likely to give a lengthy interview about the plagiarism affair, sources told SPIEGEL.

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