• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Government advisor stripped of doctorate

The Local · 19 Apr 2012, 08:00

Published: 19 Apr 2012 08:00 GMT+02:00

Margarita Mathiopoulos describes herself as an entrepreneur and honorary professor of US foreign policy and international security at Potsdam University.

She also has strong links to the Free Democratic Party, Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner, having been advisor to its former leader Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Bonn University decided on Wednesday to strip her of her doctorate after considering evidence of more than 320 places in her work where the “original sources were systematically not properly cited”.

Her thesis, called “America: the experiment of progress. A comparison of the political thinking in Europe and the USA,” contained many passages from other academic work without the proper acknowledgement, a Bonn University statement said.

Her thesis, written in the 1980s, was criticised in the early 1990s after serious methodical errors were discovered, but no evidence of deliberate fraud was detected.

The investigation was reopened after the internet site VroniPlag suggested there were hundreds of incidents of plagiarism in the work.

Now, “due to the systematic and widely-spread practice, the deciding committee considers it is clear that this was not simply a series of mistakes, rather deliberate cheating of academic copyright,” the university statement said.

Now Mathiopoulos joins the ranks of German political figures to be stripped of their doctorates for cheating in their theses – a group infamously led by former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg whose disgrace led to his resignation.

Story continues below…

Der Spiegel reported last week that she stood to lose her honorary professorship at Braunschweig University should her doctorate be withdrawn. Potsdam University hinted it might take a similar view.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:19 April 19, 2012 by pepsionice
Since folks have lots of time on their hands....let's make this interesting....go back and pull every single thesis for every single German government employee and review them.

My humble bet....over forty percent fail. Go pull some out from the 1800s.....and I'll bet that a fair percentage of those fail.
11:46 April 19, 2012 by raandy
That may well be the case pepsionice, it would seem the fault lies with the Academics that awarded her the degree in the first place. They obviously are not doing their job, maybe because their Doctorates are also plagiarised .
13:04 April 19, 2012 by McM
Couldn't agree more.A doctoral candidate has a supervisor/s that represent the host University who finally award the credential. They are legally and professionally bound to review the submission before it is presented to the peer group academic panel that awards the credential and ensure that it is academically sound and properly cited. If not it is returned to the candidate for correction and the removal of any dodgy material. The client ,the candidate is not responsible for the award. The academic panel at the University is. If an award is given for work that is shonky then the focus should fall on the University ,their academic reveiw panel . The standing of the awarding institute should be challenged and their faculty fired for malpractice
16:29 April 19, 2012 by lordkorner
A fine looking woman though...
17:05 April 19, 2012 by Englishted
Some people here are using the old and wrong blame game.

I was my fault I was mugged I should not have been there,she was raped because she was wearing a mini skirt etc.etc.

This woman lied and cheated ,simple as that .

When are the courts going to take up the fact that so many of these "doctors" have used the phoney exam to gain power, if I or anyone else did it to get a job we would be leaving ourselves open to a charge of fraud .

Because it is fraud and that is I believe illegal .
18:59 April 19, 2012 by Daniel D
The lesson here is clear. Every person who commits plagiarism must clearly and unambiguously confess and accept full responsibility. This is the only way for a plagiarizing author or her publisher to avoid a belated and therefore all the more painful and humiliating punishment. Being caught is much worse than coming clean. More here http://goo.gl/C1DZT
Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,578
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd