Edelgard Bulmahn

Edelgard Bulmahn
Vice-President of the Bundestag
Assumed office
22 October 2013
President Joachim Gauck
Preceded by Wolfgang Thierse
Federal Minister of Education and Research
In office
26 October 1998  22 November 2005
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Preceded by Jürgen Rüttgers
Succeeded by Annette Schavan
Personal details
Born (1951-03-04) 4 March 1951
Petershagen, West Germany
(now Germany)
Political party Social Democratic Party of Germany
Alma mater University of Hanover

Edelgard Bulmahn (born 4 March 1951 in Petershagen, North Rhine-Westphalia) is a German politician from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Bulmahn entered the German Bundestag after the 1987 elections. She was Federal Minister of Education and Research from 1998 to 2005. On 22 October 2013 she was elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the Bundestag.


After gaining her Abitur (higher-education entrance qualification), Bulmahn spent one year living in the Bror Hayil kibbutz in southern Israel.[1] She later studied political science and English language and literature at the University of Hanover. From 1981 to 1987 she worked as a school teacher in Hanover.[2]

Political career

Bulmahn joined the SPD in 1969 and was a member of the party executive committee from 1993 to 2011.

Member of the German Bundestag, 1987-present

Bulmahn entered the German Bundestag following the 1987 federal elections, representing the 42nd electoral district of Hannover. From 1987 to 1990 she served as deputy chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Study Commission on Technology Assessment and from 1990 to 1994 as deputy spokeswoman for the SPD parliamentary group on the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment.[3]

From 2005 to 2009, Bulmahn served as chairwoman of the Bundestag Committee for Economic Affairs and Technology. During that time, she was also the deputy chairwoman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with Arabic-Speaking States in the Middle East, which is in charge of maintaining inter-parliamentary relations with Bahrain, Irak, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and the Palestinian territories.

From 2009 to 2013, Bulmahn was a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and spokeswoman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Sub-Committee on Civilian Crisis Prevention and Integrated Conflict Management. In this capacity, she served as her parliamentary group's rapporteur on Southeast Asia. In addition, from 2011 to 2013, she served as spokeswoman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Study Commission on Growth, Wellbeing and Quality of Life.[4]

Federal Minister of Education and Research, 1998-2005

Bulmahn’s tenure fell in a period of significant changes in Germany’s education system. In 2002, amid a heated debate surrounding the German parliament’s vote on allowing human embryo stem cells to be imported for medical research, she voiced her support for allowing the import of embryo stem cells under strict conditions.[5] When Bulmahn first proposed in 2004 an initiative to foster an elite circle of universities with significant funds from the federal government, she drew heavy criticism; however, after lengthy negotiations with the state governments, a compromise was finally reached in June 2005.[6][7]

Vice-President of the Bundestag, 2013-present

On 22 October 2013 Bulmahn was elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the Bundestag. In addition, she is a member of the parliament’s Council of Elders, which – among other duties – determines daily legislative agenda items and assigning committee chairpersons based on party representation. She also serves as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as of the Sub-Committee for Civilian Crisis Prevention.

In October 2016, Bulmahn announced that she would not stand in the 2017 federal elections but instead resign from active politics by the end of the parliamentary term.[8]

Political positions

In 2016, Bulmahn demanded that a financial bonus (9,500 €) be paid to universities for every graduate student they attract.[9]

Other activities


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