Günther Apfalter (*1960) has been head of Magna Steyr since 2007 and President Magna International Europe since 2010 with around 63,000 employees. He is responsible for all European operations of the global group, including companies in Austria, Germany, France and Russia. The graduated agricultural economist (University of Vienna) started his career at Steyr-Daimler-Puch in sales. According to the Austrian “Industriemagazin”, he is one of the 100 most important industrial managers in the country and an advocate of Austria’s position as an automotive location.


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.


Stefan Bergsmann (*1971) is the head of the management board of the international management consultancy Horváth & Partners based in Stuttgart and numerous other offices in Europe and the Middle East. He studied political science, journalism and history at the Universities of Vienna and Berkeley, USA and has been with Horváth since 2004, where he built up the Vienna team from 5 to 50 employees. He specializes in process management, organization and digitization.



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.




Patrick D. Cowden (*1964) is a bestselling author, leadership expert and lecturer at numerous international universities and business schools. He was active in the top management of global companies such as Dell, Hitachi and Cap Gemini for over 30 years and then founded the Beyond Company in Berlin in 2008. With the topic “Focus on people”, the visionary with American roots advices and accompanies companies into the organizational culture of the future – according to the motto “Better.Together”. He became known for books like “My Boss, the Memme” and “Restart: The End of the Economy as We Know It”.


Albert C. Eibl (*1990) is a freelance journalist, Germanist and publisher. Born in Munich, he grew up in Italy and studied in Zurich and Vienna. In 2014 he founded his publishing house “Das vergessene Buch”, which specializes in the rediscovery of Austrian authors from the interwar period. He is a member of the Austrian PEN Club, the Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger Society and the Humboldt Society for Science, Art and Education. In 2019, he was responsible for the ten-volume edition ‘All Writings’ by Alexander von Humboldt for Munich-based dtv Verlag. His study on ‘Ernst Jüngers Aesthetics of Resistance in the Shadow of the Swastika’ will be published by Heidelberger Verlag Winter in spring 2020.


Wolfgang Eixelsberger (*1965) is a professor of digital business heading the master’s degree in “Digital Transformation Management” at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences. He organizes the eTourism forum every year and deals with strategies and processes relating to the digitization and automation of business models. Most recently, he published research results on e-government and e-business topics.




Boglarka Hadinger (*1955) is head of the Institute for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis in Tübingen and Vienna. The educated psychotherapist studied logotherapy with its founder Viktor Frankl and has since worked as a lecturer at numerous universities in Germany and Austria. The Hungarian-born Lecturer and Viktor Frankl award winner of the City of Vienna is the founder of the initiative for human-friendly architecture and urban design and has devoted herself to promoting self-esteem and the personality of children and young people in many publications.



Bernhard Heinzlmaier (*1960) is a social scientist, management consultant and youth researcher. He is the co-founder of the Institute for Youth Culture Research and has been an honorary chairman since 2003. His main job is CEO of the market research company T-Factory in Vienna and Hamburg, and he also holds numerous universitary teaching positions in Germany and Austria.




Michael Jungmeier (*1965) is an ecologist and human geographer holding the endowed professorship for nature conservation and sustainable development at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences since 2019. Previously, he worked for the international consulting and research company E.C.O. Institute for ecology in Klagenfurt, which supports the planning and management of nature reserves. He is the author of numerous studies and has lectured at several universities.



Mario Keszner (*1976) is a storyteller and author from Vienna. After studying commercial sciences in Linz and Strasbourg, art studies and philosophy at the Catholic Theological University of Linz, he first appeared in literature in 2009 and since then has published prose, poetry and essays in magazines and anthologies at home and abroad. His writing always revolves around the question of what causes the success and failure of life plans. Recently published “In the Green Palace. Stories” (2019) and “Poor Rose Zink. Poems” (2017) published by Löcker Verlag. He is a member of the PEN Club, lives and works in Linz, Austria.


Klaus Kufeld (*1951) is an author, essayist and “travel philosopher”, also founding director of the Ernst Bloch Center in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, which he headed until 2018, as well as the Bloch Foundation. He began his professional career after studying education and sociology as education adviser and cultural managemer, later devoting himself to the legacy of the philosopher Ernst Bloch. He received his doctorate from Julian Nida-Rümelin in political science at the University of Munich. Numerous teaching assignments have taken him to colleges and universities all over Germany and China. As an author and editor, he dedicated himself in particular to “Travel as Utopia”, European topics, travel descriptions and the change in cultures.


Wolfgang Müller-Funk
(*1952) is an essayist, literary and cultural scientist.
He teaches at the Universities of Vienna and Klagenfurt as well as at other universities. Most recently published are the collections of essays “Complex Austria”, “Beyond Resignation and Nostalgia” and “Theories of the Stranger”.




Stefan Nungesser (*1976) is a professor and program manager for hotel management at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in the field of economics and management. Previously, he was a senior consultant at the TREUGAST Solutions Group in Munich. In addition to advising small and medium-sized hotels, he also prepared expert reports for hotel projects in Germany and abroad. He was also a lecturer at the Munich University of Applied Sciences and is still a trainer in further education courses, with focus on strategic and operational hotel and catering management.



Rainer Langosch (*1960) is a management consultant, professor of corporate management and dean of the agricultural and food sciences department at the Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences. For more than 15 years he as been leadership trainer and project moderator for the Andreas Hermes Akademie Bonn and numerous other agricultural institutions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The recognized agricultural engineer holds lectures on all continents and provides start-ups and established agricultural companies with practical instructions for success.


Josef Marketz (*1955) was ordained Bishop of Carinthia on February 1, 2020 in Klagenfurt. He comes from the Völkermarkt district and attended church high school in Tanzenberg, where he graduated in 1975. After studying theology in Salzburg and Ljubljana, Marketz worked as a deacon in Ecuador (South America), in 1982 he was ordained a priest in Klagenfurt, and in 1992 he received his doctorate in the field of pastoral theology in Vienna. This was followed by positions as head of the Slovenian department in the pastoral office and as a pastor in Radsberg / Radiše, Ferlach / Borovlje, Unterloibl / Podljubelj and Glainach / Glinje as well as study visits to Rome and Jerusalem. From 2009 – 2014 he was director of the Episcopal Pastoral Office of the Gurk Diocese and Bishop Vicar for Pastoral Care, Mission and Evangelization, from 2014 – 2018 Bishop Vicar for Caritas and Caritas Director Carinthia.

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.


Elisabeth Oberzaucher (*1974) is a behavioral biologist and became known to a wider public through her appearance on the Austrian TV as “Science Buster”. Born in Carinthia in Hermagor, she has been researching and teaching at the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna since 2001. In 2015 she became head of the Urban Human association. She is primarily concerned with human behavior from an evolutionary biological perspective, and focusses on the interaction with the environment and questions of communication, attractiveness and choice of partner. During the Tolerance Talks, she explores the question of why we destroy what we love.


Erna Pfeiffer (*1953) was university professor from 1997 to 2014, board member at the Institute for Romance Studies at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz and guest professor at the Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck. She works as an organizer and moderator of literary readings by Latin American authors and as a lecturer on her specialty, Spanish-language literature. Her work includes numerous literary translations from Spanish. She is a member of the Austrian PEN Club, in whose 2019 edition her novel “Eine Widerrede” appeared (Löcker Verlag, Vienna).



Regina Polak (*1967) is head of the Institute for Practical Theology of the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Vienna and Assoc.-Prof. for practical theology. She studied philosophy, theology and spiritual theology in the interreligious process and researches on topics such as religion in the context of migration and urbanization; Religion and values; socio-religious transformation processes in Europe; Religion and politics; Christian-Jewish and Christian-Islamic dialogue as well as fundamental theological questions of a church in transition. She also leads the certificate course “Muslims in Europe” and is OSCE-Personal Representative for combating rascism, xenophobia and discrimination. 


Amirah Sophie Pranzl (*2004) is a student at the Porcia Spittal secondary school and co-organizer of the regional group “Fridays For Future”. She deals a lot with the current climate crisis and feminist strategies and activates her peers e.g. via social media. In her free time she plays guitar, takes part in the “prima la musica” competition every year and has been making music with passion for nine years now.



Jochen Ressel (*1972) is start-up entrepreneur, editor and event organizer.He was responsible for 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.



Sophie Reyer (*1984) is a novelist and theater writer. After studying and graduating composition / music theater, scenic writing, screenplay and film directing at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, she did her doctorate in philosophy in Vienna in 2017. She received the City of Graz Literature Prize twice and in 2013 the “Close to it!” Prize for the children’s play “Anna and the Wulian”. Most recently published: “The Freedom of Fish” (Czernin Verlag 2019), “Veza Canetti – a biography” (Verlag Königshausen und Neumann) and “Vienna Tales newly told” (Emons 2019). Last premieres: “Alien” (Schauspielhaus Vienna) and “First Snow” (Landestheater Linz). “With “Mother is burning” she landed on the shortlist for the Austrian Book Prize in 2019.


Wolfgang Martin Roth (*1946) is a radio play and prose writer and psychotherapist with free practice in Vienna. After studying Protestant theology, philosophy and archeology in Heidelberg and Rome, he turned to the field of group analysis, which he deepened in publications, lectures and lectures across Europe. Roth is an official delegate and speaker at international conferences for human rights at PEN and has been responsible for the “Writers-in-Prison” Committee of PEN since 2015. Most recently, he published the story “The No Voice of Altaussee” (Verlag Sonderzahl) and translated texts from Dawit Isaak, an Eritrean journalist who has been held in solitary confinement for 18 years.

Nathalie Rouanet (*1966) studied German language, literature and philology at the University of Toulouse, France, and received her doctorate from the University of Vienna. Since 1990 she has lived and worked in Klosterneuburg as an author and freelance translator for film, theater and literature. She writes and performs poetry slam texts under the name “Ann Air”. Nathalie Rouanet is a member of numerous authors’ associations and has received several grants and prizes, most recently the 2nd Irene Harand Prize in 2019. Her novel “Von Honig und Absinth” was published by edition pen in 2019.


Margit Schratzenstaller (*1968) has been working as a research assistant at WIFO since 2003 and was deputy head in 2006/2008 and 2015/2019. She is an expert in the Austrian Fiscal Council, lecturer at the University of Vienna, member of the board of trustees of the European Forum Alpbach and the KDZ – Center for Administrative Research. She works on questions of (European) tax and budget policy, EU budget, tax competition and tax harmonization, fiscal federalism as well as family policy and gender budgeting. After studying economics at the universities of Gießen (graduate economist, doctorate) and Milwaukee (master), she was a postdoc at the DFG Research Training Group “Future of the European Social Model” at the University of Göttingen.


Henriette Schroeder (*1961) is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and translator. She went to school in England and graduated in Stein an der Traun, Bavaria. After studying American cultural history, arts history and psychology in Munich, Jewish Studies followed at the American University in Washington, D.C. From 1999-2001 she worked for the OSCE in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 2002 to 2007 she was spokeswoman for the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) in Vienna. Her book “A touch of lipstick for dignity – femininity in times of great need” was published in 2014 by Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag in Munich.


Gabriele Semmelrock-Werzer (*1958) is Director and spokeswoman of the Board of Kärntner Sparkasse AG since 2011. Before joining Erste Group Bank in 1995, she worked at Chase Manhattan Bank and Crèdit Lyonnais AG Vienna. She graduated from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and also trained as a translator and interpreter. She is fluent in English, French and Italian and has also learned Spanish as a language talent. Since 2019 Gabriele has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences.


Roland Sint (*1974) has been managing director of the Wörthersee tourism region since 2012, where he is responsible for brand positioning in the region and implementation of the Carinthian Tourism Act. The native East Tyrolean from Sillian studied sports management in Innsbruck and then worked for the sports manufacturer adidas, where he e.g. supervised outsourcing projects in Eastern Europe. After working as managing director of the golf course Velden Köstenberg and Veldener Tourismus Company, he took over the Wörthersee Tourismus GmbH, for which he pursues modern and active lifestyle approaches.


Clementine Skorpil (*1964) devotes her literary work to the clash of different cultures. Born in Graz, she found a haven from the real in virtual worlds as a child. Later she studied Sinology and History, since 2008 she has been editing and writing for the daily newspaper “Die Presse” and is a lecturer at the Vienna University of Applied Sciences. Her literary work includes novels, short stories, short prose and essays. For this she received numerous grants and awards.



Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle (*1969) is a political scientist and a well-knowned observer of current political affairs in Austria. After studying politics and law at the University of Innsbruck, the native of Vorarlberg started her academic career as a university assistant. This was followed by teaching and research assignments at the Universities of Graz, Krems and Klagenfurt, before she was appointed professor of political science at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in 2009. Since then she has regularly commented on domestic political issues in ORF and in the print media.


Daniela Stein (*1965) is founder and managing director of the Business Women Center and BFC Consulting in Klagenfurt. As a trained personnel developer and mediator, she supports success-oriented women in professional networking and holistic further training. Born in Graz, she is an experienced consultant and trainer in the areas of gender diversity management, female leadership and mom in management, as well as lecturer at the Alpe-Adria-University in gender studies. As a recognized mentoring expert, she appreciates goal-oriented work with different people.


Herta Stockbauer (*1960) is CEO of BKS Bank and member of the supervisory board of several companies, including Oberbank, Bank für Tirol and Vorarlberg, Austrian Kontrollbank, Austrian Post and the deposit insurance Austria. In addition, she holds numerous mandates and functions in banking and in Austrian industry and is a sought-after expert for Basel III, corporate governance, sustainability and the advancement of women. She got the Rudolf Sallinger Award and is Honorary Consul of Sweden in Carinthia.


Petra Stolba (*1964) has been Managing Director of Österreich Werbung since 2006. Her entry into tourism followed several studies and a doctorate in political science within the Austrian Verkehrsbüro, later she was managing director of the Austrian Convention Office, head of advertising and marketing of the NÖ Werbung, head of department for national tourism policy in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor and managing director of the federal division Tourism and leisure economy of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.



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.


Ingrid Thurner (*1954) is a cultural and social anthropologist specializing in the perception of others, mobility and anthropology in Islam. After studying ethnology, she curated numerous exhibitions for various museums with a focus on Africa and the Middle East and worked as a cultural mediator for various tour operators in product management. She published her experiences and perceptions in feature pages and essays, most recently on “A Society on Travel – A Journey into Society”.




Markus Tripp (* 2001) is a climate activist, co-initiator of Fridays For Future in Spittal and participant in the voluntary environmental year. He graduated school in 2019 and is now working for the Carinthian Climate Alliance as part of the FUJ. He writes a socially critical blog called “Just another straight white guy”, produces the podcast “klimaverbund” together with Climate Alliance Carinthia, in which he talks to experts, activists and exciting guests about climate justice, and tries to understand the importance of one to convey (socially) just and ambitious climate protection policies to the outside world.


Herbert Unterköfler (*1958) is a management and recruitment consultant at Korn / Ferry International in Vienna with a focus on banks and financial service providers, real estate, government-related companies and the public sector. He regularly gives lectures on management and leadership issues as well as corporate governance issues and has published numerous articles, among others on the “Vienna School of Economics”, the statutory gender quota and the topic of “Politicians as Business Managers”. Born in Carinthia, he has close relations to Fresach and the history of the Protestant church and community here.



Christina Wechsel (*1981) is an outdoor athlete with a prosthetic leg, alternative practitioner and coach for finding her way after heavy fatalities in Munich. She herself lost a leg in a dramatic accident in Australia, but not the courage to live. “You can amputate my leg, but not amputate my soul,” is her creed. Today the trained hotel manager climbs demanding mountain walls and does extreme sports to encourage others to never give up.



Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (*1939) is an environmental scientist, politician and one of the outstanding voices in German energy and environmental policy. He was Professor of Biology at the University of Essen, President of the University of Kassel, Director of the United Nations Center for Science and Technology in New York, Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy Bonn, President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy; SPD MP to the Bundestag, chairman of the environmental committee, head of the California environmental college in Santa Barbara and honorary professor at the University of Freiburg. From 2012 to 2018 he was co-president of the Club of Rome. He was part of the top bodies at the German Protestant church, the United Nations and the World Future Council.

Norbert Zimmermann (*1947) built up – after a management buyout from 1988 – the Lower Austrian industrial holding Berndorf AG, with around 60 companies, 3,300 employees and an annual turnover of more than 700 million euros. He is one of the leading industrialists in the country and involved in education and development issues. From 2004-2007 he was President of the Association of Industrialists in Lower Austria and is today Chairman of the Berndorf Private Foundation, the MEGA Education Foundation and member of the Board of several other foundations.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email