Born in Vienna in 1919, George Weidenfeld left Austria for England in 1938. During World War II he worked with the BBC Overseas Service and in 1948 founded the publishing firm, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, with Nigel Nicolson. In 1949 he became Political Advisor and Chef de Cabinet in Israel to President Weizmann, and spent a year in this capacity.
A British citizen since 1946, Lord Weidenfeld was awarded a peerage in 1976. From 1992 to 1994, he was Vice-Chairman of the University of Oxford Campaign and since 1994, Vice-President of the Oxford University Development Programme. He is involved with the Europaeum, a network of ten leading European universities. In 1996 he founded together with Lord Rothschild and Lord Alexander the Club of Three (Britain-France-Germany) which later incorporated AMEURUS (America-Europe-Russia). His Institute for Strategic Dialogue, created in 2006, runs a number of political task forces and cultural and educational bridge-building initiatives. Also in 2006 he initiated the Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme in Oxford.
He has several honorary degrees from universities across Europe including the Diplomatic College Vienna and the University of Exeter. He is an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne's College and St. Peter's Colleges, Oxford and of King’s College London. He was made an Honorary Senator of Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn (1996), and Magister, Diplomatic College Vienna (1999). He received the Charlemagne Medal for European Media in Aachen (Germany, 2000) and the London Book Fair/Trilogy Lifetime Achievement Award for International Publishing in 2007. He holds the German Knights Commanders Cross (Badge & Star) of the Order of Merit (1991), the Austrian Cross of Honour First Class for Arts and Science (2002), the Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the County of Vienna (2003), the Italian Grand Officer of the Order of Merit (2005) and the Order of Merit of the Land Baden-Württemberg (2008). In 2008 he signed the Golden Book of the City of Potsdam (Germany). In 2009 he received the Teddy Kollek Life Achievement Award in Jerusalem.
Among other appointments he is Chairman of Weidenfeld & Nicolson; President of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue; Director of Cheyne Capital Management; Honorary Chairman, Board of Governors, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; member of Investcorp European Advisory Board; Consultant to the Bertelsmann Foundation and columnist for
Die Welt, Welt am Sonntag and
Bild am Sonntag.