Our program in 2021 took off on January 13 with another conversation of the Feraru Conferences series, featuring Ambassador Emil Brix, Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna and influential Central European historian, whose visionary approach has shaped the doctrine and practice of modern public diplomacy. The famous diplomat and thinker was accompanied by Michael Haider, the head of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York and outgoing President of EUNIC New York, in a dialogue about the impact of European values in international cultural relations, the intellectual and practical equipment of the classical diplomat and the cultural diplomat in the technological age, and the role of Central Europe in a world of ebullient identities.
Austrian diplomat and historian EMIL BRIX has been the Director of the Diplomatische Akademie Wien since 2017. After joining the Austrian diplomatic service in 1982, he worked as Political Secretary for the parliamentary group of the Austrian People’s Party. In 1986, he was appointed Head of Cabinet at the Ministry of Science and Research. Between 1990 and 1995, he served as Austrian Consul General in Cracow, Poland. Subsequently, he was Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in London, a position he held for four years. In 2002, Emil Brix was appointed Director-General of Foreign Cultural Policy at the Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria. After serving five years as the Austrian Ambassador to the UK, in 2015 he became Ambassador to the Russian Federation. He holds a PhD from the University of Vienna and was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Drohobytsch, Ukraine, and by the University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He is an alumnus of the Diplomatische Akademie Wien and published numerous books and articles on the Austrian and European history of the 19th and 20th centuries.
MICHAEL HAIDER has been the Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York since October 2018 and was the 2020 President of EUNIC New York. Having joined the Austrian Foreign Service in 1999, he became an expert in restitution and Holocaust related issues. His previous assignments include positions in press and culture at the Austrian embassies in Belgrade (2001-2002) and Prague (2003-2007). Michael Haider was Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Tokyo (from 2007 to 2011) and co-founder of EUNIC Japan. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Vienna.