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.


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.


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.




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”.


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.



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.

Julia von Hut (*1991) is a carpenter, studies “transformative education” at the University of Klagenfurt and is active in a wide range of voluntary work: e.a. with civil society associations and climate justice movements like Fridays For Future, Extinction Rebellion or the Villach group “Responsibility Earth”. In her studies she mainly deals with participation in sociopolitical processes. Together with other experts, she is working on ways in which educational institutions can support and advance the necessary transformation.


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.


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”.



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”.



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.


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).


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.

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.


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.


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 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 worked as a lecturer at the Vienna University of Applied Sciences. Her literary work includes novels, short stories, short prose and essays. For this, she received grants in Bad Vöslau, Northern Germany and South Tyrol and several awards. In 2019 she goto the Linz Award of the magazine “Die Rampe”.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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.

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