Meral Akin-Hecke was appointed “Digital Champion Austria” in 2013 by the Federal Chancellery. In 2014, the educated business IT professional started the knowledge campaign “” to close the digital gap in Austria. From 2009 to 2014 she was on the board of the Open Knowledge Foundation Austria. Before that, she worked as an application consultant and project manager at SAP and the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF. She heads the non-profit initiative Digitalks since 2007 and is involved in numerous projects such as Codeweek, adult education, integration, diversity and network policy in Austria.



Günther Albel (*1974) is the mayor of Villach since 2015, previously he was the first deputy mayor for three years.Since 1998 Günther Albel is a member of the socialdemocratic party (SPÖ), from 2003 to 2012 he was as a local council and from 2006 to 2009 he was the secretary of the SPÖ council club. Albel is married and has two children. He graduated from the Business Academy Villach and was before he took office as deputy mayor he worked as registrar in Villach. His hobbies are reading, running, football and his family. It calls on citizens, business and politics to face the challenges of increasing migrant influx.


portrait-barazon 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 freedom of expression and the press he claims to be a “favorite subject”.




Hassan Baroud (*1954) is a prose writer and translator with Egyptian roots. He studied German, Arabic and Islamic Studies at Al -Azhar University in Cairo , then interpreting at the University of Vienna. He lives and works in Austria since 1978 as a translator for the Egyptian Embassy and a lecturer at the Vienna International School. Baroud published numerous stories about his origin and life between cultures. In his literary works he combines the figurative language of Arabic with the trained in the of observation trained German language. He can therefore build bridges of understanding that escort the the reader unobtrusively from one page to another.


Irmgard Bohunovsky-Bärnthaler (*1939) is an author, journalist and gallery owner. After her doctorate on the history and organization of the Fatherland Front in the interwar period, she directed the cultural office of the city of Klagenfurt from 1965 to 1971, after which she was a correspondent in Brussels. From 1979 to 2015 she ran the renowned art gallery Carinthia and published numerous scientific papers on Austrian and international cultural policy.



portrait-buenkerMichael Bünker (*1954)ist the bishop of the Protestant Church in Austria  and General Secretary of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe since 2007. Hegrew up in Radenthein, gratuated at the high school in Villach and finished his PhD in Protestant Theology in Vienna in 1981. He was vicar from 1980 inienna and in 1991 he became the head of the Protestant Religion Pedagogical Academy. In autumn 1999 he was elected “Oberkirchenrat”. As the leader of the Protestant Church in Austria he is particularly committed to intercultural and interfaith dialogue.




Vedran Dzihic (*1976) is an expert on Eastern and South Eastern European politics as well as transatlantic relations, based at the Austrian Institute for International Politics. He holds a degree in political and communication science from the University of Vienna and is vice-director of the Center for Advanced Studies, South Eastern Europe. Dzihic wrote several books, articles and papers on ethnic conflicts, democratic transformation, nationalism, and the role of the USA on the West Balkans. The native Bosnian deals, among other things, with the phenomenon of the “Illiberal Democracy”.


Beate Einetter (*1969) is an experiential teacher and trainer for group dynamics. She teaches philosophy, health and social affairs and psychology at the Center for Humanitarian Schools (CHS) in Villach. As a life counselor, she accompanies people in demanding situations and supports them with Qi Gong. It is important to her that people find their personal strengths and develop the freedom to use them. She also provides contributions to “God and the World” at the radio station Antenne Kärnten and to the topic “gendermainstream”, e.g. “Is the risk male?”



Monsignore Helmut Gfrerer (* 1947) was born in the Gailtal Valley and celebrates his 45-year priest anniversary in 2017. He studied Catholic theology in Rome (1966-1972) and after further studies in Salzburg he was active in priest education for 15 years. From 1989-1999 he was catholic priest in Spittal/Drau, then for ten more years head of episcopal pastoral care in Klagenfurt and thus responsible for various areas of the Catholic Church in Carinthia. To this day he has numerous functions, among others as chairman of the Bishop’s Commission for Spirituality and as a member of the Ecumenical Contact Committee.


GruberElisabeth Gruber is a geographer and researcher at the Institute for Applied Geography, Spatial Research and Spatial Planning at the University of Vienna. She focuses on inland migration, demographic aging and spatial development in Austria, as well as shrinkage, regional disparities and rural areas. Gruber regularly conducts anthropogeografical excursions and teaches methods for surveying research in geography. She is also part of numerous research projects on interregional cooperation.


Sylvia Gstättner (*1966) is a company consultant with a focus on business mediation and since 2010 vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Carinthia. The native Munich woman began her entrepreneurial career after a teaching as a medical assistant and activities in the accident surgery. Since 2008, she has been the chairman of the “Woman in Business”, EPO Commissioner, Deputy Head of Group Deputy of the Kärntner Wirtschaftsbundes and Obmann-Stv. Of the Carinthian regional sickness fund.


HeintelPeter Heintel
(*1940) is emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Group Dynamics at the University of Klagenfurt. In 1990, he founded the “Verein zur Verzögerung der Zeit” (Association for the Delay of Time), and in this context pleaded for a more reflective approach to time on a collective basis. The Austrian association with branches in Germany and Switzerland sees itself as a movement and network and commits its members “to pause and think where blind actionism and particular interests produce illusions”. In Fresach he will talk about “Fear as a result of Freedom”.


holubRolf Holub (*1956)is national council of Environment and Energy in Carinthia since 2013. Before his political career Rolf Holub studied medicine and journalism and worked from 1974 as a freelance musician and cabaret artist. From March 2003 he was council of the Greens in Klagenfurt, in the regional elections in 2004 he was the leading candidate of the Greens. With the first Green entry in the Carinthian parliament in March 2004 Rolf Holub became a deputy in the parliament. By 2014, he was national spokesperson for the Greens in Carinthia and a member of the national executive. From 2009 to  2012 he was chairman of Hypo-committee of inquiry in the Carinthian parliament.



Ingun Kluppenegger (* 1968) is a founding member and founder of the Common Welfare Economy Austria as well as coach and carinthian spokeswoman for the Common Welfare Bank. As market researcher and business consultant she is also coordinator for the energy field of Carinthia and involved in the “Platform Civil Society of Carinthia”.



Karin Krobath (*1969) is a communications consultant and employee branding specialist in Vienna. After studying Geography and German Studies, she was an education manager of the National Economic Society and subsequently Head of Corporate Communications at KSV1870. Since 2004 Partner at wortwelt® and Identitäter, 2007 Training as a systemic coach. She is the editor of the book “Begin Inside” and has worked for over 20 years as a volunteer in “Light for the World”.



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”.


MemicEsad Memic (*1974) is chairman of the Islamic Religious Community in Carinthia and inspector for Islamic religious education. The studied theologian is responsible for about 20,000 people of Muslim faith, most of whom are from the territory of the former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnia. Memic wants to build bridges with his day-to-day work and defines an “Islam of Austrian character” as the goal of his work. His guiding principle is: “From co-existence to cooperation to one for another.”



MoschenUlrike Moschen (*1970) is an anthropologist, social and health educator, alternative practitioner and journalist. She preferably writes about the art of a healthy and unshakable life, with the means of language, body and dance. In addition, Moschen is active in a training facility for blind and visually impaired people. Recently, she published the novel “The Anatomy of the Undines”, which deals with a parentless and historyless woman looking for her identity. The native Tyrolean has been living in Vienna since 2002.


Maria Katharina Moser (* 1974) is an evangelical pastor in Vienna-Simmering. The native Upper Austrian studied Catholic Theology in Vienna and intercultural women research in Manila, later evangelical theology. Already during her studies, she was journalist and active in youth work and adult education. From 2005 on she was an assistant professor at the Chair of Social Ethics and Practical Theology at the University of Saarland. From 2007, she worked as a member of the editorial staff of the Austrian TV-Station ORF.


portrait-niederleHelmuth A. Niederle
(*1949) is the President of the Austrian PEN club since 2011 and initiator of numerous effective public campaigns such as “Time to Say: No!”. After studying anthropology, art history, ethnology and sociology he was researcher and since 1994 deputy head of the Austrian Society for Literature and representative of the Writers in Prison Committee Austria. Niederle is an author and translator of numerous publications and published in literary journals, newspapers, magazines and on the ORF.




SONY DSCKlaus Ottomeyer (*1949) is a psychologist, ethnopsychoanalyst and traumatologist. He is emeritus professor at the University of Klagenfurt and executive committee of the association APSIS, a research and advisory center for victims of violence in Klagenfurt. For more than 25 years the interdisciplinary scientist has been pursuing and analyzing Carinthian and Austrian politics. In 2011, Ottomeyer received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights. His latest book is titled “Chaos with System. Value talk and value conflicts in capitalism”.



Julia Petschnig (*1989) is the founder and co-worker of the Nonprofit-Team Together and lives as money-free as possible and free from economic acquisition since 2014. The belief in the natural laws and the free flow of life energy motivates them to create a framework in which every human being can move freely and without any condition. The association deals with the use of already produced resources, without claiming material compensation. All the participants abstain from remuneration and are convinced that the free exchange of goods and services can restore the original state, peace and freedom. It is about living together, not living against each other, and that free access to food, clothing etc. is a human right to be fulfilled.


Margarethe Prinz-Büchl (*1955) is a clinical psychologist, systemic consultant and psychotherapist. She is specialized on HR-development, coaching and trainings for personal development. In her practice in Vienna and Carinthia she counsels individuals and couples in difficult private or job-related circumstances. The Fresach resident also works as a consultant for small and medium sized organizations. She also offers special seminars for leaders around communication, conflict management and team-development.



reitanClaus Reitan (*1954) is a journalist, author and speaker with focused on politics, society, migration and integration as well as sustainability. For many years, he was editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper DIE FURCHE, the daily Tiroler Tageszeitung, the NEWS Magazine, founding chief editor of „Österreich“. Reitan was co-founder of the new Austrian Presserat for the association of the chief editors. He is co-editor of the manual “Practical Journalism”, active in education and training for journalism, and initiated the seminar series “Escape, Migration and Integration” in cooperation with the Austrian Journalism Academy. Most recently, he published books such as “Society in Change – Change of perspective for Austria” (2014) and “The New Migration of Migrants” (2016). 

Jochen Ressel
(*1972) is an entrepreneur, editor and event organizer. He leads the “Senate of the Economy”, a non-partisan, economic-political organization, which is striving for an ecosocial market economy and publishes the business magazine SENATE. He regularly organizes events on various topics with leading personalities from business, politics, science and culture, moderating talks, business congresses and award ceremonies.



rohrerAnneliese Rohrer (*1944) is a freelance journalist and columnist. After completing her studies in Vienna, was an university assistant for three years in Auckland, 1974 she started her journalistic career with the daily Die Presse. In 1987, she became head of the Department of Internal Affairs, and in 2001 she joined the Foreign Policy Department, which she chaired until 2004. In 2005, she published the book “Character Failure: The Austrians and Their Politicians”; 2011 “End of obedience”. From 2006 to 2009 she wrote columns for the daily “Kurier”, since 2010 again regularly for “Die Presse” and other magazines. Furthermore she teaches journalism at the FH Vienna. She received numerous awards, in 2011 she got elected Journalist of the Year.

Klaus Schönberger (*1959) is a university professor for cultural anthropology at the Institute for Cultural Analysis of the Alps-Adriatic University of Klagenfurt. He studies socio-cultural changes in everyday life, audio-visual aestheticization processes, cultural heritage, social movements, the changing of work and the increasing digitalization of society. He was promoted in Tübingen, habilitated in Hamburg and also worked in Stuttgart and at the Zurich University of the Arts.


Elisabeth Schrattenholzer (*1950) is an actress, author, trainer for breathing, voice and communication techniques and professor at the Institute of Singing and Music Theater. She habilitated in 2004 at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and holds regular lectures on speech, language, literature and communication. Her most important publications include: “The Word and the Facts – or – What do I take when I perceive?” (1993), “Sorry, Nathan! – Wordblind and sindeaf: the damage of thought by the language of patriarchy” (2005) and “and Jesus wasa woman” (2012).

Sabrina Schütz-Oberländer (* 1971) is the executive director of Public Services Klagenfurt. Prior to that, she was Managing Director of the Carinthian Development Agency from 2003 to 2015 and Managing Director of the Carinthian Economic Fund (KWF). During these years, she and her team supported more than 300 companies in the field of business operations and expansion in Carinthia, creating 4450 new jobs and generating a gross income of 360 million euros annually.


SchwarzAlois Schwarz (*1952) has been Catholic bishop of the diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt since 2001. After graduating from high-school, he entered the Vienna priest’s seminary and studied Catholic theology. Six years later, he received the priestly ordination and became priest in Krumbach in Lower Austria after completing his doctorate. He then took over the leadership of the pastoral office of the Archdiocese of Vienna and was appointed as auxiliary bishop by Pope John Paul II. In 1997 he received the Bishop’s ordination by Cardinal Schönborn. Bishop Schwarz also carries the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.


Igor Sekardi (*1984) studied Political Science at the University of Vienna and International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. After that, he worked as a project coordinator in the Foreign Ministry at the Permanent Representation of Austria to the United Nations in Vienna and later in the Ministry of the Interior. Since 2013, Igor Sekardi has been active at the Federation of Industrialists, where he is responsible for international relations in the field of trade issues.



A 1245961Robert Streibel (*1959) is an author and contemporary historian with a special focus on Lower Austria during the time of national socialism. Born in Krems, he wrote a large number of scientific publications and is involved in historical research projects. One of his most important works is “Krems 1938-1945. A History of Adaptation, Treason and Resistance” (2014). Since 1987, he has been responsible for public relations in the adult education and further education sector at the Association of Viennese Civic Education. Since 1999 he has been the director of the Volkshochschule Hietzing. He also publishes in journals of literature and works as a freelancer for the weekly “Die Furche” and the daily “Die Presse”.

Johann SollgSollgruberruber (*1964) is a consultant on trade issues of the European Commission in Austria. Prior to that, he was the Head of the Board of Directors in the Directorate-General for Regional Policy of the European Commission, and was responsible for issues of state aid and competition law. He was in the negotiating team for TTIP and CETA and dealt with risk and VC funds, private public partnerships and European tax policy. He teaches at administrative academies in Austria and France and wrote numerous contributions to European tax and financial policy.



Kurt F. Svatek (* 1949) is an educator, author, reviewer and translator. His lyricism has been translated into numerous world languages, among others Mongolian, Bengali, Polish, Turkish or Afrikaans. He is member of the board of the Austrian PEN-Club with numerous publications in Germany and other countries like India, China, Japan, Mongolia or North and South America. In the field of prose the author portrays human and social problems of our time from the perspective of the “weaker” people. And that he is not allowed to be banished to the corner of the playground assigned to him, and despite the occasional failure to carry out so many small victories over the obscenities of power.

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.



Katia Wagner (* 1988) has been an entrepreneur in Vienna since 2012. She worked, among other things, as project manager for the e-commerce department of the Austrian Dayly “Österreich” and as a partner and managing director of nailstogo GmbH in the field of cosmetics. Currently, she is head of the Twentysomething Social Media Advisory Agency in Vienna. She became known as “Waxing Lady” because of her mediaeval fight against authorities in her Beautysalon.



WintersteinerWerner Wintersteiner
(*1951) ) is the founder of the Center for Peace Research and Peace Education at the Faculty of Cultural Studies of the Alps-Adriatic University of Klagenfurt and Deputy Head of the Austrian Competence Center for German Dedactics. His main areas are literary education, intercultural learning and peace research. Wintersteiner is editor of the magazine “ide. Information abou German didactics “and the book series “ide-extra “. He is the author of about 200 relevant essays and publisher of numerous anthologies.


yildizŞerafettin Yıldız
(*1953) is a writer and translator with Turkish origins and lives  in Vienna since 1978, where he among others has worked as a school counselor for immigrants. He has a degree in economics, is a member of the Austrian PEN Club, lecturer, guest speaker and juror at literary competitions. The list of his publications is long, with publications in literary journals and anthologies at home and abroad in Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Germany, Romania, Mexico, Romania, Turkey. For Yıldız the borders of Europe are no longer fasten geographically. “In times of globalization, we need a new language, which could make the sore planet for us mortals to a new, more livable home.”


ZellmannPeter Zellmann (*1947) is an educational scientist and Head of the Institute for Leisure and Tourism Research in Vienna. He is one of the co-founders of the Gymnasium and Sports Center at the Pedagogical Academies and worked there as professor of recreational pedagogy from 1986 to 2003. Zellmann is a lecturer at the Universities of Potsdam, Bremen, Hamburg and the Vienna University of Business and Economics. Furthermore he advises politicians, companies and regions. Zellmann is the author of the annual Austrian Tourism Analysis and is intensively involved with lifestyle and future research. His most recent two books are titled “The Future of Labor” and “The Holiday Republic”. Peter Zellmann has been awarded the Golden medal for merits for the Republic of Austria.


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