This year’s Erich Fromm Lecture provided the occasion to award Dr. Rainer Funk with the first Honorary Medal of the IPU Berlin. Originally, the award ceremony was intended to take place in March, but needed to be rescheduled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Rainer Funk serves as director of the Erich Fromm Study Center (EFSC) along with Prof. Dr. Thomas Kühn, and is the trustee of Erich Fromm’s estate. The Honorary Medal of the IPU Berlin is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to psychoanalysis and to the university. The acting president, Prof. Dr. Lilli Gast, personally awarded the medal and gave an address in Dr. Funk’s honor, which we have reproduced below.
Dear Dr. Funk,
it is a great honor and pleasure to finally do that, which the IPU wanted to do months ago, but instead was forced to bow to the pandemic – namely, granting you the Honorary Medal of the International Psychoanalytic University. With this award, we would like to honor your particular accomplishments with psychoanalysis, especially in helping to spread and advance the teachings of Erich Fromm. We would also like to thank you for your outstanding dedication to the development and leadership of the Erich Fromm Study Center (EFSC) here at our university.
Big things often start with chance encounters. As I heard it, you met our recently deceased colleague, Prof. Horst Kächele, on the sidelines of a conference in New York and began talking with him. As a long-time assistant to Erich Fromm and the trustee of his estate, you had, at that time and with the help of the Karl Schlecht Foundation, already established the Erich Fromm Foundation and the Erich Fromm Research Institute in Tübingen. These provided not only a home for Erich Fromm’s estate, which he had signed over to you, but also opened it up to the world of research. In these, you had already accomplished so much.
Then through Prof. Kächele, you came into contact with IPU, the first and essentially only psychoanalytic university. Here – as a driving force and with the renewed support of the Karl Schlecht Foundation – you established the Erich Fromm Study Center (EFSC), which you have lead alongside the Erich Fromm Foundation Professor, Prof. Thomas Kühn, ever since. Since then, the Erich Fromm Study Center has provided important and lasting impulses – internally to the IPU and externally to the international scientific community – not only through your great commitment, but also through your immense reputation in the research world dedicated to Erich Fromm’s work.
Dear, honored Dr. Funk, on behalf of all members of the International Psychoanalytic University, I am happy to have the opportunity to award you our Honorary Medal for your life’s work, and to offer heartfelt thanks for your dedication to and at our university.