Austrian Study Group Visits the Embassy

Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner welcomes students and faculty from Danube University Krems. Photo: Embassy of Austria

A study group from Danube University in Krems, Austria under direction of Austrian political scientist Peter Filzmaier visited the Embassy for briefings regarding the U.S. Presidential election on November 6 and 8, 2016.  The group, graduate students in political communication, spent two weeks in Washington, D.C. as part of their curriculum.

Innovative inauguration of “Open Austria” in Silicon Valley

On Tuesday, October 4, over 130 guests including Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner, Consul General Ulrike Ritzinger and Trade Commissioner Rudolf Thaler joined co-directors Martin Rauchbauer and Georg Fürlinger for a celebratory opening of their new office with pastries by Austrian-born pastry chef Albert Kutternig. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, U.S. Ambassador to Austria Alexa Wesner, and the Vice President of the Austrian Chamber for the Economy (WKO), Jürgen Roth participated live from their respective offices in Vienna via a Google Hangout broadcast. 

All participants were delighted by the opportunities that this new presence in the West Coast’s entrepreneurial hub presents to Austria. “Silicon Valley, with companies such as Apple or Uber and a third of the world’s venture capital is one of the most innovative regions in the world” said Foreign Minister Kurz. “With this new office, we want to build a bridge to better connect Austrian entrepreneurs with this region and grow their networks and potentials.”

Ambassador Waldner concurred, underlining the growing Austrian network in the U.S.: “I’m delighted to see our excellent network in the U.S. grow even further with this new office in San Francisco, making Open Austria the door opener to Silicon Valley for Austrian start-ups.”

Ambassador Wesner underlined the importance of California and the U.S. in general for the global IT sector: "The U.S. has a vital role in supporting and assisting entrepreneurship worldwide because of our experience, our diversity, and our entrepreneurial culture." Vice President Roth weighed in by stating that “this initiative presents a unique opportunity for Austrian businesses and adds to our existing network of opportunities”.

With the Open Austria initiative, Austria is sending a strong signal to the world’s most innovative and future-minded region. Its mission is to connect Austrian entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists and creative minds to the Valley and provide those who are already here with a home base. Another goal is to shed light on the vast creative and innovative potential of Austria. As a high-tech nation of “hidden champions” in the heart of Europe, Austria deserves to be recognized well beyond its world-famous artistic and cultural traditions. 

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Ambassador Waldner at the Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association

Ambassador Waldner at the Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association

Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner attended the 40th Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association (GSA), which was held in San Diego, CA, from September 29 – October 2, 2016. The GSA is the premier- multi- and interdisciplinary assocoation of scholars focused on German, Austrian, and Swiss history, literature, cultural studies, political science and economics. The 2016 conference brought together over 1,000 scholars.

Ambassador Waldner participated in a roundtable entitled "Austria and Migration: The Current Refugee Crisis in Historical Context," chaired by Professor Günter Bischof (The University of New Orleans) with fellow discussants Professor Dirk Rupnow (University of Innsbruck) and Dr. Christiane Hintermann (University of Vienna). 

Innovation Minister Leichtfried Visits U.S.

MinisterJörg Leichtfried at the welcome reception of the Austria Connect North America 2016: Left to right: Jürgen Roth, Vice President WKO, Michael Friedl Advantage Austria NY, MinisterJörg Leichtfried. Photo: BMVIT / Johannes Zinner

MinisterJörg Leichtfried at the welcome reception of the Austria Connect North America 2016: Left to right: Jürgen Roth, Vice President WKO, Michael Friedl Advantage Austria NY, MinisterJörg Leichtfried. Photo: BMVIT / Johannes Zinner

Austrian Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology Jörg Leichtfried travelled to the United States in September.

Visit to Silicon Valley

Leichtfried visited the Bay Area with a focus on the future of mobility and Austria as an E-mobility hub. Besides inspecting the brand new Transportation Center of the “smart city” San José, Minister Leichtfried met with Professors from Stanford and UC Berkeley, start-ups, representatives of GoogleX, Tesla and BMW Technologies, as well as Austrian-born Vice President of Security & Privacy Engineering at Google, Gerhard Eschelbeck.

Austria Connect North America in Atlanta

Minister Leichtfried went on to attend the Austria Connect North America conference in Atlanta from 22nd to 24th of September 2016, organized by the Austrian Trade Representatives in the USA. This year, Austria Connect attracted an unprecedented number of more than 110 representatives of Austrian companies. Besides Leichtfried, who gave a keynote on “The Future of Innovation from an Austrian Perspective,” the wide range of speakers comprised renowned experts in the field of computer science, engineering and financial technology, who gave their insights into the future of innovation and manufacturing in the USA and in the world: Austria Connect thus positioned itself anew as a not-to-be-missed event for Austrian companies interested in doing business in North America.

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Federal Chancellor and Ministers at the 71st UNGA in New York

Chancellor Christian Kern, UN-SG Ban Ki Moon, and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Dragan Tatic

Chancellor Christian Kern, UN-SG Ban Ki Moon, and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Dragan Tatic

Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and Minister for Justice Wolfgang Brandstetter were in New York to attend meetings on the occasion of the so-called “leader’s week” of the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) end of September.

Chancellor Kern attended the Leader’s Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis hosted by President Obama on Tuesday, September 20. He also met UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon together with Foreign Minister Kurz. Both had represented Austria the day before at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants and held a joint press conference for Austrian and international media. Chancellor Kern also attended a reception on the invitation of Ronald Lauder at the Neue Gallerie and held bilateral meetings with H.M. the King of Jordan Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, the President of Egyt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. 

Foreign Minister Kurz delivered the official Austrian statement at the 71st UNGA on September 21.

Apart from his meetings together with Chancellor Kern, Foreign Minister Kurz met with human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Nadia Murad Basee Taha, had a working lunch with the Foreign Ministers of the Western Balkan countries, attended the EU Foreign Minister’s Transatlantic Dinner with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Libya, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Minister Kurz also met with the UN Special Envoys for Syria and Libya as well as representatives of Jewish Organizations (AJC, ADL, and B'nai B'rith), opened an Austrian design exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York and also attended the “Austrian-American Day” reception at the Austrian Consulate-General.

Austrian Minister for Justice Wolfgang Brandstetter attended a side event hosted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on equal access to an independent justice worldwide. He also discussed the Agenda 2030 with high-level government representatives, including the Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Pavlo Petrenko.

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