Dear Friends of Austria

Dear Friends of Austria,

As I take up my duties in Washington, D.C., I wish you all a Happy New Year and a successful 2016!

I am looking forward to my upcoming tasks, especially to be part of the successful bilateral relationship our two countries share. It will be my honor to further strengthen the political, economic, and cultural bonds between the United States and Austria over the course of the next four years.

This posting also gives me the opportunity to reconnect with old friends in the U.S., building on my experiences as Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Washington and New York. In my 15 years on the East Coast in the 1980ies and 90ies, I could witness the appreciation of Austrian culture in the U.S. It makes me proud that, today, the Austrian cultural institutions in New York and Washington, D.C. are important benchmarks in Austrian cultural diplomacy.

At this point, I also want to thank my predecessor, Ambassador Hans Peter Manz for his outstanding work here in the US. I will do my very best to build on his accomplishments and will, together with my team at the Embassy, strive to further the relations between Austria and the U.S. in a variety of areas: From the international efforts to counter terrorism, where Austria has been and will remain an active part of the U.S. led efforts against ISIL; the important consular work for the Austrian community in the U.S.; the continuous promotion of economic ties between our two countries with the U.S. constituting Austriaโ€™s second largest trading partner in 2015; our research and technology development, increasing the visibility of excellent research and innovation made in Austria; to the Embassyโ€™s fruitful relationship with the Jewish Community in the U.S., I will continue the hard work and am looking forward to cooperating with many of you.

Last but not least, I want to extend my gratitude to my excellent colleagues at the Embassy in Washington, as well as at the Consulates General in New York and Los Angeles, the Cultural Fora and our many Honorary Consulates in the United States. Without them, the work of any Austrian Ambassador would not be possible.

I look forward to meeting you soon here in Washington or elsewhere around the country!

All the best,

Wolfgang Waldner