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Our Founders

Otto Molden (1918-2002)

Otto Molden was born in 1918 as the first child of Ernst Molden (who later became the publisher of the Austrian daily “Die Presse”) and Paula von Preradovic (who wrote the lyrics to the Austrian national anthem and the “Alpbacher Elegie” or “Alpbach elegy”) in Vienna. He became involved in politics at a very early age in a youth movement, and just like his younger brother Fritz, he was active in the resistance movement against national socialism.

In 1945, he founded the ‘International Summer Seminar of the Austrian College Society’ together with Simon Moser, from which the European Forum Alpbach originates (the official name was changed in 1949). From 1945 to 1960 and from 1971 to 1992, he was President of the Austrian College Society, which was responsible for organising the European Forum Alpbach. Molden’s work in this role was fundamental. Most of all, he contributed to developing the International Summer Seminar into a forum of discussion with a wide scope, including academia, politics, the economy and the arts. One of Molden’s primary goals was the European unification process, which he wanted to promote by founding the European Federalist Party, or European Federalist International, in 1960.

Otto Molden passed away in 2002 in Paphos (Cyprus). He wrote several books during his life; two in which he writes about Alpbach  are “Der andere Zauberberg. Das Phänomen Alpbach” (The Other Magic Mountain. The Alpbach Phenomenon, 1981) and “Odyssee meines Lebens und die Gründung Europas in Alpbach” (The Great Journey of My Life and Founding Europe in Alpbach, 2001).

Simon Moser (1901-1988)

Simon Moser was born in Jenbach (Tyrol) in 1901. He read law and philosophy in Innsbruck as well as philosophy, political economy, classical philology and mathematics in Berlin, Marburg and Freiburg. After his ‘Habilitation’ (qualification as a university lecturer) in history of philosophy, he lectured in Innsbruck and Vienna, where he was suspended from office in 1938, but was allowed to teach again in 1940. After 1945, he lectured at the University of Innsbruck. In 1952, he went to Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where he held a professorship from 1962 onwards.

Together with Otto Molden, he founded the International Summer Seminar in Alpbach – the later European Forum Alpbach – in 1945. While Moser wanted to establish a “conference for intellectuals” including science, politics, the economy and the arts, Moser pushed for a more academic and scientific focus of the European Forum Alpbach. Between 1945 and 1974, he was the main scientific advisor of the European Forum Alpbach and Vice President of the Supporting Association until 1971. He retired from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 1968 and passed away in Mils bei Solbad Hall (Tyrol) in 1988.