Salim Alafenisch
(*1948) is a writer and narrator. He was born as son of a Bedouin Sheikh in the Negev Desert. As a child, he kept his father’s camels at fourteen and learned to read and write. After high school in Nazareth and a one-year stay in London, he studied ethnology, sociology and psychology at the University of Heidelberg, where he still lives today. He deals especially with the oriental storytelling and tells his published stories freely.



albelGünther 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.

Maurizio Bettini
(*1947) is professor of classical philology at the University of Siena (Italy) and heads the Institute of Anthropology of the Ancient World. He is the author and publisher of numerous books on mythology and anthropology and writes regularly for the daily Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”. His latest book “Roots: The Deceptive Myths of Identity” attracted much attention in the German-language feature pages. It is a salutary vademecum against the “Leitkultur”-debate, a wise warning against xenophobia, exclusion and abuse of tradition and history.


Sonia Boumad (*1969) is a writer, journalist and social worker from Lebanon, who found asylum in Austria and today actively campaigns for refugees. Her fate is marked by the rehabilitation of her daughter, who returned to life after an bloody attack – through integration into a foreign country. Sonia Boumad has published five books in Arabic, and in autumn 2017 the first one in German. (Title: Land with Taste of Freedom).



Janet Brown (* 1972) is a lecturer in intercultural communication at the University of Applied Sciences Carinthia. As Program Development Director, she was responsible for the development of the English-language Bachelor in Business, Intercultural Management and today, as Director of Studies, dedicates herself to international students from all over the world, for whom Villach has become a new home. As a Scot, who has been living in Carinthia for over 20 years, she enjoys the challenge and the joy of being at home in several cultures.


Lydia Burchhardt
(*1959) is a Protestant pastor, lecturer at the Pädagogische Hochschule Carinthia and expert on interreligious education. She also deals with deaf pastoral care and pastoral care for homosexuals and their relatives.




Dimitré Dinev (*1968) is a writer, theater and screenwriter. He comes from Plovdiv in Bulgaria and has been living in Vienna since 1990. His literary breakthrough came in 2003 with the family novel “Engelszungen”. Works by Dimitré Dinev have since been translated into fifteen languages. In 2016 he was selected with fifteen other authors for the publication SchreibArt AUSTRIA, a literary program of the Cultural Section of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and as a contribution to the Austrian Foreign Cultural Policy.




Rüdiger Görner (*1957) is Professor of Modern German Literature and Comparative Literature and founding director of the Center for Anglo-German Cultural Relations at the Queen Mary University of London and editor of the yearbook ANGERMION. He was Director of the Institute of German Studies at the University of London until 2004, where he founded the Ingeborg Bachmann Center for Austrian Literature. Görner has published numerous essays on homeland (Heimat) and teaches at several universities in Germany and Austria. In 2012 he was awarded the German Language Prize, 2016 the Reimar Lüst Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his life’s work and in 2017 the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Kerstin Dohnal (* 1977) is founder and managing director of destination: development, an agency which is dedicated to the healthy and sustainable development of travel destinations. As a passionate communications consultant, translator and tourism specialist, she has developed the “Chocolate Route” (Bolivia and Ecuador), is organizing workshops on responsible tourism and learning journeys to tourism development regions.



Hans-Jürgen Jakobs (*1956) is a business journalist and author of the bestseller “Who owns the world: The power relations in global capitalism” (2016). He began his journalistic career after studying economics at the Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt and then moved to the ‘Münchner Abendzeitung’. After working at the ‘Spiegel’ in Hamburg and the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ in Munich, he took over the editorial office of the ‘Handelsblatt’ in 2013. Since 2016 he is senior editor of a business newspaper in Munich.


Katrin Karschat (*1989) studied International Cruise Industry Management at the University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven (D) and Sustainable Tourism Management at the University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde (D). Since 2014 she works as project manager for sustainable tourism development at the Naturfreunde Internationale – respect in Vienna. Her work focuses on education – so she is developing Workshops for young adults and projects for accessible natural sports.



Alexander Hanisch-Wolfram (*1977) is Curator of the Evangelical Museum in Fresach since 2012 and teacher of Protestant religion. Previously, he was scientific curator of the Carinthian National Exhibition 2011 in Fresach. He has published numerous articles on the history of Protestantism in Carinthia and received the Sponsorship Award of the Province of Carinthia for Human and Social Sciences. He completed his studies in journalism and communication science, political science, French language and history in Vienna, Venice and Luxembourg.


Manfred Kohl
(*1948) is the ‘Grandseigneur’ and Pioneer of the Austrian tourism consultancy tradition and a specialist when it comes to business transfers.
He has been dealing with the opportunities and risks of the tourism and leisure industry for over 35 years and has built up the international consulting company Kohl & Partner. His credo is quality (always and everywhere), innovation (continuous) and partnership (internal and external).



Harald Kollegger (*1955) is vice-president of the Austrian PEN Club, professor at the Medical University of Vienna, specialist in neurology and author of novels, essays and poetry. In his scientific work, he dealt with the Chemoarchitekur and the plasticity of the brain, with inflammatory lesions of the nervous system and their treatment. In 2016, his published his last book “If nothing works, go with – About joy in rough times”.




Brigitte Kratzwald (*1954) is a social scientist and deals with the theory and practice of alternative forms of economy and society, such as commons, care and subsistence, but also with the question of how a social transformation can be made democratic and participative. She lectures on these topics, conducts workshops and hosts and also accompanies participatory processes. She is also co-curator of the discourse section of the Elevate Festival in Graz and is active in various self-organized projects, e.g. the “Contraste – Zeitung für Selbstorganisation”. Most recently her book “The Whole of Life – Self-Organization between Lust and Necessity” was published.



Anton Marku (*1971) is Chairman of the Association of Albanian Writers and Creative Artists in Austria ‘Aleksandër Moisiu’. He comes from Gjakova and studied at the University of Pristina (Kosovo). Since completing his European studies, he lives and works in Vienna. His volumes of poetry have been translated into numerous languages. Most recently he published: »The Blue Vision« (Lyrik, 2010); “In duet with oneself” (Lyrik, 2012), “You my voice”. Poems. edition pen, Löcker Verlag, Vienna 2018.




Rainer Münz (*1954) is a demographer and migration researcher. Since 2015, he has been advisor to the President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker for the areas of migration and demography. Previously, he headed the Research & Development department of Erste Group Bank in Vienna and worked as Senior Research Fellow at the European Think Tank Bruegel (Brussels) and the Migration Policy Institute (Washington DC). He was a professor and guest professor at numerous universities; among other things from 1980-1998 at the Alpe-Adria University Klagenfurt.



Johann Neuner (*1956) is an independent tax consultant, certified public accountant and court sworn expert in Klagenfurt. He is known in Carinthia as a lateral thinker and discoverer, and he does not mince words in his blog posts and newspaper comments. His blog no. 9 delivers the oddities and machinations of politics, which apparently find no place in the traditional media.



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. For several years he was editor of the series “scriptor mundi”, which was published in the “edition Kappa” (Munich), since 2006 he is editor of the series “edition milo in Publisher Lehner ” (Vienna) and is now responsible for the edition pen in Löcker Verlag. Niederle is an author and translator of numerous publications and published in literary journals, newspapers, magazines and on the ORF.


Alexander Peer (*1971) is a writer and journalist. After studying German philology, philosophy and journalism, he published reports, reviews and essays in literary magazines, daily newspapers and magazines. He received several scholarships abroad, was a city writer in Schwaz and ÖZV winner. Most recently he published literary non-fiction (Leo Perutz), novels (Until death avoids us) and the poetry book “The Sound of Dumb Relations”.



Christian Philipp (*1971) is Director of Marketing and Communications at the Silicon Alps, a cluster for electronic based systems in the south of Austria. He was communication specialist for semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies. Previously, the trained theater, film and media scientist worked as a media consultant in Germany and for science communication at the hub for science and innovation Lakeside Labs in Klagenfurt.



Josef Plank (*1958) is Secretary General of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. He began his career in 1982 as a consultant for livestock and meat marketing in the Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture and worked for the Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA), most recently as Chairman of the Board. From 2000-2009 he was provincial councilor in Lower Austria, then managing director of a renewable energy company. He held top positions at the umbrella organization Renewable Energy Austria and the Austrian Biomass Association, before returning to the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, where he was Secretary-General until 2018.


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).



Petra Schaper-Rinkel (*1966) is a political scientist, innovation researcher and Senior Scientist for Future Technologies at the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). She is working on Digital Infrastructure, Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Bioeconomy. After studying at the Free University of Berlin and at the Humboldt University, she completed numerous research and teaching assignments across Europe, Latin America and Asia. Since 2014 she has been a member of several expert commissions, ia. the European Commission, since 2017 member of the jury of the Foresight Film Festival, since 2018 advisor to the ScienceCenter Network in Austria.

Nadine Scharfenort
(*1976) is Visiting Professor for Globalization, Transformation and Gender Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and researches urban development as well as political, economic and social transformation processes in the Arab Gulf States. Since 2016 she has been a member of the extended board of the tourism research group of the German Geography Society. Her habilitation was dedicated to the conflict potential of Arab tourism in Zell am See-Kaprun (Austria).



Iris Straßer (*1967) is the initiator and director of the corporate network “show responsibility”, which currently connects 80 well-known partners for the promotion of sustainability in economy and society. The business economist is an expert in sustainability and CSR, moderator, lecturer and FH-lecturer and has many years of experience in the development and implementation of regional and cross-border mentoring projects, especially in the start-up area. Iris is the director of the Economic Forum of Managers Carinthia and Consultant of the Economic Initiative Sustainability Styria.




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.



Elsbeth Wallnöfer (*1963) is a folklorist, philosopher and author from South Tyrol and curator of the exhibition “Schaufenster Europa: The Banat” in Schloss Hof (Lower Austria). She deals with the phenomenon of costume and publishes on the unreflected dealing with traditions, folk, religion and medicine. In spring 2019 she published her latest book “Heimat. A proposal for kindness”, which exposes the seemingly simple little word as the key social concept of the 21st century and wants to bring the term out of its one-sided localization between left and right.



Gerlind Weber (*1952) is a space scientist. Her career began at the Vienna University of Technology in 1976, and in 1991 she was appointed University Professor for Spatial Research and Spatial Planning at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna, where she headed the Institute for Spatial Planning and Rural Reorganization. She wrote a wide range of spatial studies publications, studies and lectures and taught at numerous universities. Visiting professorships have taken her to ETH Zurich and Kyoto University.



Kurt Weinberger (*1961) is CEO of the Austrian Insurance Company ‘Hagelversicherung’ and serves on numerous supervisory boards as well as on the University Council of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. He has been involved in climate and soil protection in Austria for over 15 years. So he created e.g. the Climate Protection Prize for Austria, which is awarded annually by the ORF. Further soil protection campaigns initiated by him are intended to raise awareness of curbing the worry-free massive land consumption in Austria.




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.


Michael Zinganel (*1960) works in exhibitions and publications on everyday architecture, security, migration, and tourism as an engine of transnational mobility. He taught at numerous universities and colleges, including in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Lucerne and Zurich. In 2017/18 he is a visiting professor at the Institute for Cultural Analysis at the Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt, where he teaches and researches the “cultural history of the hotel in the Alps-Adriatic region”.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email