Speakers and Authors



Ronald Barazon (*1944) was born in Israel and started his career as a press officer at the Vienna Symphony Orchestra after having finished his high school years at the French School in Vienna. From 1965 to 2006 he worked at the daily newspaper “Salzburger Nachrichten”, the last ten years as editor in chief. He is a mighty economic journalist, lecturer and popular tv presenter in Austria, received several awards, including Karl Renner Prize. Dealing with tolerance topics he claims to be a “favorite subject”. ronald.barazon@gmail.com


Zohra Bouchentouf-Siagh (*1950) is teaching at the Department of Romance Studies at the University of Vienna since 1993. After studying in Algiers and Paris, she has specialized in Maghreb and Sub-Saharan literature and language contacts. She participated in numerous congresses, with contributions to the Algerian theater, the colonial and current language policy, cultural conflicts, Maghrebi Literature in French language and immigrants literature in France. In Fresach she will talk about “Positions of a decolonizing modernity in African thinking of the present”. zohra.bouchentouf-siagh@univie.ac.at


portrait-brandstaetter-aloisAlois Brandstetter (*1938) is one of the major senior Austrian authors of the present, he is regarded as an esthete and conservative philologist of the “old school”. Born in Upper Austria he came to Carinthia to teach Older German Language and Literature at the University of Klagenfurt (1974-2007) as a professor. Relatively late he began to publish his own works. He loves voice acting, but is said to go to the bottom of the words, leaving almost no detail to chance – despite of his liquid, often loving style. On tolerance, he says, “Those who are open to all, may not be quite tight.”

portrait-brunnerClaudia Brunner (*1972) is assistant professor at the Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education at the Alps-Adriatic University of Klagenfurt. Having studied political science in Vienna, Paris and Berlin, she has been awarded for her transdisciplinary work at several occasions. Her main focus is on the entanglements between politcal and epistemic violence, that is, investigating the function of knowledge production in relations of violence. Further areas of her research and teaching activities are Critical Peace and Conflict Studies, Sociology of Knowledge and Discourse Research, and Feminist International Relations. It is against this background that her contribution frames tolerance as a privilege of power. claudia.brunner@aau.at

portrait-buenkerMichael Bünker (*1954) grew up in Radenthein, graduated at the High School in Villach and wrote got his PH.D. in evangelical theology in Vienna. He was vicar from 1980 in Vienna-Döbling and in 1991 was appointed Director of the Protestant Religion Pedagogical Academy (ERPA).

In autumn 1999, he was elected Senior Church Adviser, on 1st June 2007 as bishop of the Evang. Church A. B. in Austria. Since 1 January 2007 he is also General Secretary of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.

portrait-freundEugen Freund (* 1951) is a member of the European Parliament since July 2014. Previously, he worked in journalism since 1972 and intermittently for the Foreign Ministry and the Austrian Press and Information Service in New York. After returning from the United States, he taught at the Journalism Schools in Vienna and Salzburg. In 1986 he came back to the ORF, first as host of the ZIB 2, then in the field of domestic and foreign policy. From 1995 to 2001 Freund was ORF correspondent in Washington, then he has published numerous books about his time as in the U.S. He finished his career at ORF as a permanent host of the “Zeit im Bild” in December 2013.

portrait-hafnerFabjan Hafner (*1966) is a literary scholar, writer and Slovenian translator. He became famous for his Peter Handke book “On the way to the ninth country”. He worked on the “Inventory of the Slovene minority in Carinthia” and the “Thesaurus of the Slovene minority in Carinthia” and was a lecturer at the Department of Slavic Studies in Graz and at the German Studies Department of the University of Ljubljana. Until 2007 he was a lecturer in Graz, since 1998 he is an employee of the Robert Musil Institute in Klagenfurt and teaching at both departments – German and Slavic studies at the Alps-Adria University. For him, “Tolerance ist only the beginning”.

portrait-philoPhilo Ikonya (*1959) was born in Kenya and studied linguistics and literature at the University of Nairobi, before she went to Spain to study education and philosophy. She then returned to her home and worked as a freelance journalist for the biggest newspapers in the country. She addressed the themes of social injustice, pervasive corruption and the abuse of power by the ruling elite. Several times she was arrested and mistreated and forced to flee the country. Since 2009 she has lived in Oslo and Vienna in exile. In Fresach she speaks and sings about “The Roots of Tolerance and beyond”.

portrait-kneisslKarin Kneissl
(*1965) is an expert for energy policy and Middle east studies, author of several publications, co-founder of Medecines sans Frontières Autriche, board member of the critical platform http://www.whistleblowing.at and Vice-President of the Austrian Society for Political-Military Studies STRATEG. After numerous studies in Vienna, Jerusalem, Amman, Washington and Paris, she worked for the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna, Paris and Madrid. Since her retirement from the diplomatic service 1998 she has worked as a freelance journalist and lecturer. To a wide audience, she is known for her in-depth policy analysis on Middle east topics in television and radio.

portrait-loescherPeter Löscher (*1957) was head of Siemens AG worldwide from 2007 to 2013. Previously, the Carinthian manager worked for the pharmaceutical company Hoechst, in Spain, Japan, the UK and the USA, and also for the pharmaceutical company Amersham, which was acquired by General Electric. Löscher then moved to the Board of Directors of General Electric, 2006 to the Board of the US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. He is currently Chairman of Swiss Sulzer AG and CEO of Renova holding, a company of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. Löscher studied in Vienna, Hong Kong and Harvard and got many awards.

portrait-maaniSama Maani (*1963), born in Graz, an author of Iranian descent. He studied medicine in Vienna and philosophy in Zurich and works as a psychoanalyst in Vienna. He regularly published articles in literary magazines and anthologies. In 2004 he received an award of the Contest “Writing between cultures”, 2008 he got an Austrian State Scholarship for the novel project Disbelieving (Impious), published in 2014 Drava publishing house. In March 2015 his latest work will be published: “Respect refusal. Why we should not respect other cultures – and our own either.”

portrait-markomChrista Markom (*1976) is researching on racism in Austria and teaching anthropology at the Migration Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna. Her focus as a staff member at the Vienna Ludwig Boltzmann Institute are research on migration, multiculturalism, language and discrimination and discriminatory formulations in school books. On these issues, she also conducts seminars and workshops for youth and adults. In 2014 she published a book entitled “Racism out of the middle: The social construction of ‘the others‘ in Austria”, which she will present in Fresach. christa.markom@ehp.lbg.ac.at

portrait-pravuPravu Mazumdar (*1952) was born in India and studied physics and philosophy. He is freelance writer, translator and lecturer in Munich and is working on theories of modernity, event philosophies and interpretations of art. He wrote many essays on Foucault, several volumes of “Philosophy Now” and books like “No man’s Land of Civilizations”, “The Power of Happiness” and most recently “The unleashed surface”. Due to his contributions to the immigration debate and the clash of civilizations he became known to a wider public. He analyzes the “conflicting visions of paradise in different societies representing paradigmatic migration and tourism as the two great opposing movements towards each other into imagined lucky spaces”.

portrait-niederleHelmuth A. Niederle (*1949) since 2011 president of the Austrian writers association PEN-Club and initiator of numerous public activities such as “Time to say: No”. After studying anthropology, art history, ethnology and sociology he was senior researcher and from 1994 on Deputy Head of the Austrian Society for Literature and representative of the “Writers in Prison”-Committee Austria, in addition several years editor of the series “scriptor mundi”, which appeared in the “edition Kappa” (Munich), since 2006 editor of the “edition in Milo” (Lehner, Vienna). Niederle is a recognized author and translator of numerous publications. He published in literary magazines, daily newspapers, magazines and on the Austrian Broadcasting Association ORF. He lives and works in Vienna and Dallein/Lower Austria. office@penclub.at

portrait-purgDanica Purg (*1946) is professor of leadership and effective management, the President of the IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia, and the President of CEEMAN, an association of 219 management development institutions from 54 countries, established with the aim to enhance management development in Central and Eastern Europe. Her special field of interest is looking for inspirations for managers from art and other professions. In 2010 she received the 2010 Educator of the Year Award by the Academy of International Business (AIB). In 2013 she was nominated Chair of PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education) Steering Committee, the initiative started by UN Global Compact. danica.purg@iedc.si

portrait-schulzMartin Schulz (*1955) ist President of the European Parliament (EP) since January 2012. He started his European career after the European elections 1994. Since 2004 he has also been Chairman of the Party of European Socialists (PES). This fraction was renamed Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S & D) before the European elections 2009. Schulz is Vice President of the Socialist International and got several honorary doctorates.

portrait-swobodaHannes Swoboda (*1946) was leader of the Austrian Social Democrats in the European Parliament from 1996 to 2014 and President of the European S & D group from 2012-2014. He has served on numerous committees and delegations and was rapporteur with regional focus on South East Europe, Central Asia and Russia. In this role he delivered substantial contributions against political extremism and promoting minorities. His studies and his experience as a member of the Chamber of Labour, the Vienna parliament and as an acting representative of the City Counsil helped to get a firm grasp on social and political issues.


Maria-Andreas Weissbacher (*1939) joined a mission monastery in Wernberg/Carinthia following her training as teacher. After studying theology in Salzburg she worked as a teacher for religious instruction at the Commercial College Villach from 1963 to 1999. The native Tyrolean worked actively in the European Ecumenical Assembly in Basel and Graz and the “Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation” with (JPIC). Since her retiring she is Head of “Contact point for World Religions” of the Diocese Gurk.

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