Wilhelm is the Founding Director of THE NEW INSTITUTE. Prior to this, he was Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation from 1996 to 2019. After studying German studies, philosophy, education and political science, he worked as DAAD lecturer at the University of Oxford, as well as in leading positions at the Science and Humanities Council and in the General Administration of the Max Planck Society. He holds numerous positions in national and international supervisory and advisory bodies and has received various honors: e.g. an honorary doctorate from Ilia State University, Tbilisi, a Foreign Membership from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering, and an Honorary Fellowship from St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.