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Alpbach 2013: A Meeting of Minds

Alpbach 2013:  A Meeting of Minds

Slate-grey, dramatic storm clouds frame the ragged mountain backdrop. They fill the horizon and are also reflected in the funnel-shaped, ceiling-to-floor glass wall that plunges below a wide, paved terrace, where scores of smartly-dressed people mingle in the lively murmur of conversation between two sessions of the European Forum Alpbach (EFA).  Now in its 68th year, the […]

How Isotype Almost Conquered The World

How Isotype Almost Conquered The World

Through the red-brick portal and dark green doors of the Austrian Museum for Social and Economic Affairs, there’s a Kaffeehaus. Or is it a Beisl? It’s not staged for tourists – just a pleasantly worn, friendly Lokal for sharing table and talk. Perfect for a museum whose daily bread is communication. Tucked away in a […]

Reinventing Roma

Reinventing Roma

“When I was a child, ‘Zigeuner’ was my name, my origin and my job description,” remembered Rudolf Sarközi. The 69-year-old chairman of the Kulturverein Österreichischer Roma (Cultural Association for Austrian Roma) grew up in southern Burgenland, an area where Austria’s indigenous Roma still live. Sarközi rejects the label Zigeuner (gypsy) with its racist and stereotypical […]

Austrians Keep Their Secrets

Austrians Keep Their Secrets

Changing banking laws is tricky, wherever it’s done. It affects nations, businesses and citizens – in fact, everything. In Austria, the last big change was made in 1996, when it was decided that Austrian savings accounts (Sparbücher) could no longer be anonymous. By 2000, it was literally impossible to open a savings account without showing […]

Paul Gulda: Improvising A Life of Art And Activism

Paul Gulda: Improvising A Life of Art And Activism

The asylum law protesters had been camped out at the Votivkirche for a couple of weeks when pianist Paul Gulda visited them for the first time in mid January. He had been asked to contribute a message of solidarity for their website. But as he read more about the occupation, he decided he needed to […]

Daily gym class in schools

On 18 April, the initiative for more exercise for children and youth, called Tägliche Turnstunde (Daily Gym Class), brought to life by the Bundessportorganisation (BSO, Federal Sports Organisation), succeeded by gaining 150,844 signatures in favour of making a daily hour of physical exercise in schools mandatory. On 24 April, the Tägliche Turnstunde was already a […]

Gita Kaufman Retraces the Shadows From My Past

Gita Kaufman Retraces the Shadows From My Past

Gita Weinrauch Kaufman “can never forget, nor forgive, what happened.” She wanted us to know that right off, from the beginning, before trying to pull the many threads of place and memory together. The result became Shadows From My Past, a new documentary by Mrs. Kaufman and her late husband Curt that will be screened […]

The ‘Jazz Heart’ Transplant

The ‘Jazz Heart’ Transplant

On Ash Wednesday just past, the U.S. Embassy, the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Diplomatische Akademie Wien joined forces to celebrate the 175th anniversary of U.S.-Austrian diplomatic relations with a Gala Event which, not incidentally, featured music performed by the Jon Sass Group, a multi-national quartet led by American jazz tuba(!) exponent Jon Sass. Perhaps inspired […]

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