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Plenary / Opening
German and English language

”The world has its own life, and as an author, you do not only write about what is happening on a daily basis but about all those things that are much bigger. And those things also last longer.” The American writer, Pulitzer prize recipient and Nestroy award-winner Ayad Akhtar has written the piece ‘Jasinder, Naveed, Tariq’ for the Political Symposium. He enters into a poetic dialogue with society and the world. Experts from political theory and practice will complement his contribution by reflecting on the changing nature and structure of global power relations.

Former Secretary-General, United Nations; Chairman, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Vienna Welcome
President, European Forum Alpbach, Vienna Welcome
Federal President, Republic of Austria, Vienna Welcome
Playwright and Novelist, New York Art
Actor, Burgtheater, Vienna Art
Research Fellow, ISD - Institute for Strategic Dialogue, London Key Note
Television Journalist, Berlin Chair

BA MA Ki-moon BAN

Former Secretary-General, United Nations; Chairman, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Vienna

 Ban Ki-moon has had an extensive career as a senior representative, policy maker and diplomat of the Republic of Korea. Following a stint as ambassador to Austria, Ban returned to Seoul as vice-minister of foreign affairs In 2003 he became foreign policy adviser to the new president, Roh Moo Hyun. As minister of foreign affairs and trade from 2004 to 2006, Ban played a key role in the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea. The Harvard University Alumni was elected as United Nations Secretary General in 2006 and held this position form 2007 to 2016. He currently holds more than a dozen prestigious Chairmanships inter alia at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and at the Boao Forum for Asia.

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Franz FISCHLER

President, European Forum Alpbach, Vienna

1973-1979 Research Assistant, Institute for Agricultural Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
1978 Doctorate, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
1979-1984 Executive Assistant, Provincial Chamber of Agriculture of Tyrol, Innsbruck
1985-1989 Director, Provincial Chamber of Agriculture of Tyrol, Innsbruck
1989-1994 Austrian Federal Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Vienna
1995-2004 European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Brussels
2005-2011 Chairman, Ecosocial Forum Europe, Vienna
2005-2015 Chairman, RISE-Foundation, Brussels
2014-2015 Chairman of the Steering Committee of the EU scientific programme for Expo Milano 2015
since 2012 President, European Forum Alpbach, Vienna
since 2016 President, Board of Trustees to the Austrian Institute of Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna

Dr. Alexander VAN DER BELLEN

Federal President, Republic of Austria, Vienna

1962-1970 Studies of Economics, University of Innsbruck
1966 Diploma, Economics, University of Innsbruck
1970 PhD, Economics, University of Innsbruck
1968-1975 Scientific Assistant, Department of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck
1972-1974 Research Fellow, WZB - Berlin Social Science Center
1975 Habilitation, University of Innsbruck
1976-1980 Non-Tenured Professor, University of Innsbruck
1977-1980 Federal Administration Acadamy, Vienna
1980-2009 Tenured Professor of Economics, University of Vienna
1990-1994 Dean, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics, University of Vienna
1994-2012 Deputy, National Council, Vienna
1997-2008 Federal Spokesman, The Austrian Greens, Vienna
1999-2008 Chairman, National Council, Vienna
2012-2015 Deputy of State Parliament, Member of Municipal Council, Vienna
since 2017 Federal President, Republic of Austria, Vienna


Playwright and Novelist, New York

 Ayad Akhtar. Playwright, novelist, screenwriter. Plays: Disgraced(Pulitzer, Obie, Nestroy, Tony nomination for Best Play); Junk(Kennedy Award for Drama, Tony nomination for Best Play); The Invisible Hand (Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Evening Standard and Olivier nominations); The Who & The What. Fiction: American Dervish (published in over 20 languages worldwide, Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, 'O' Magazine, Toronto's Globe and Mail). Screenwriting: The War Within (Independent Spirit nomination for Best Screenplay); Promised Land (HBO); Dream Machine (FX/Scott Rudin). He is the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the 2017 Steinberg Playwriting Award. Akhtar has received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is also a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop.

Philipp HAUSS

Actor, Burgtheater, Vienna

 Philipp Hauss, born in Germany in 1980, is an actor, director and researcher. He has been with the Burgtheater Vienna since 2002 and worked with major contemporary directors like Luc Bondy, Andrea Breth, Martin Kušej, Nicolas Stemann, Johan Simons and Peter Zadek. He also appeared at the Salzburger Festspiele, the Hamburger Schauspielhaus and the Staatsoper Berlin. Since 2017 Hauss holds a doctorate in philosophy with a thesis on self-management and control fantasies in Wellness.


Research Fellow, ISD - Institute for Strategic Dialogue, London

 Julia Ebner is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and author of the bestselling book "The Rage: The Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far-Right Extremism". She leads ISD’s research on cumulative extremism and coordinates the Online Civil Courage Initiative in cooperation with Facebook Germany. Julia spent two years working for the world’s first counter-extremism organisation, Quilliam, where she carried out research projects on terrorism prevention for the European Commission and the Kofi Annan Foundation and gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on far-right extremism. In her role as the coordinator of the pan-European network Families Against Terrorism and Extremism (FATE), she led radicalization-prevention projects across Europe and North Africa. On the basis of her research, Julia advises parliamentary working groups, frontline workers and tech firms; speaks at international conferences; and delivers workshops in schools and universities. She regularly writes for The Guardian and The Independent and gives interviews in English, German and French on the BBC, CNN, ZDF, ARD, France24, Al Jazeera, LBC and others.


Television Journalist, Berlin

1982-1984 Volunteer, Aktion Sühnezeichen, World Information on Energy, Amsterdam
1984-1987 School voor de Journalistiek, Utrecht
1987-1989 Correspondent, Dutch Media - Avro Radio en Persdienst GPD, Cologne
1989-1990 Trainee program, TV en radio, WDR - Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne
1990-2002 Editor in Charge, Anchor, several positions, WDR - Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne
1993 Arthur Burns Fellowship, NBC, Denver
2002-2004 Political Correspondent, Phoenix, Berlin
2004-2010 Anchor, daily political talkshow "Phoenix Runde", Berlin
2010-2013 Political TV correspondent, WDR - Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Berlin
since 2013 Self-employed anchor, WDR - Westdeutscher Rundfunk and ARD Morgenmagazin, Berlin
2013-2014 Consultant, MeinesHolla&Partners, The Hague
since 2015 Anchor, daily political talkshow "Phoenix Runde", Berlin

Political Symposium

show timetable


11:30 - 14:30My Europe – My StoryPartner
15:00 - 16:30OpeningPlenary
17:00 - 18:30New perspectives on EU enlargementPlenary
19:30 - 21:30Drink receptionSocial


06:30 - 07:30DER STANDARD Morning BriefingPlenary
06:30 - 07:30POLITICO Morning BriefingPlenary
07:00 - 10:00Alpbach Hikes: Hiking with pioneers – Mindfulness in educationPartner
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 01: Whoever has the money has the power? The future financing of the EUBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 02: EU-Russia relations: Attempting a cool-headed analysisBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 03: Citizens don’t bite: Experiences and learnings from successful participation projects in EuropeBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 04: European security and the Mediterranean: A simulationBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 05: A world without nukes? The impact of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear WeaponsBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 06: Women and youth empowerment: The Sustainable Development Goals in practiceBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 07: Democracies under pressure: Civil society and populismBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 08: Implementing the SDGs: The challenges countries face and the solutions they offerBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 09: European security in the age of hybrid threats: Rethinking military and civilian cooperation?Breakout
13:00 - 14:15Sovereignty in the EU: Who decides?Plenary
15:00 - 16:15Democracies under pressurePlenary
16:30 - 18:30Green Finance: Private capital against climate changePartner
16:30 - 18:30Lessons from the best: What we can learn from Europe’s most sustainable regionsPartner
16:45 - 18:15The subsidiarity principle under scrutinyPlenary
18:00 - 20:00European-Israeli DinnerSocial
18:15 - 19:00POLITICO Happy HourSocial


06:30 - 07:30DER STANDARD Morning BriefingPlenary
06:30 - 07:30POLITICO Morning BriefingPlenary
07:00 - 10:00Alpbach Hikes: Hiking with pioneers – Mindfulness in politicsPartner
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 10: Living the Swiss militia principle: Ensuring resilience through involvementBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 11: Israel: Can democracy exist without peace?Breakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 12: Defending democracy in the digital age: From theory to practiceBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 13: The end of oil: Global systems in transitionBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 14: Are you acting or reacting? Countering climate change through new partnershipsBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 15: Culture and identity: What level of adaptation is required for successful integration?Breakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 16: Promoting sustainable developmentBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 17: Democracies under pressure: The media and populismBreakout
11:00 - 12:45From grey to green: Green infrastructure as a way out of the biodiversity crisisPartner
12:30 - 13:45Global power shifts: Implications for Europe and AsiaPlenary
14:15 - 15:45European Union – Russia: What to do?Plenary
16:15 - 17:15The future of the EU: Priorities of the Austrian EU Council PresidencyPlenary


07:00 - 10:00Alpbach Hikes: Hiking with pioneers – Mindfulness in businessPartner
07:30 - 08:30The rule of law under scrutinyPlenary
09:00 - 10:30Reconciling (bio)diversity protection and efforts to mitigate climate changePlenary