New Austrian Federal Government Inaugurated
On December 2, 2008, the new Austrian Federal government was sworn in by President Heinz Fischer. Following the new elections of September 28 to the National Council, the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) agreed on a new coalition government.
Austria Elected Non-Permanent Member of the Security Council 2009-2010
On October 17, 2008, Austria was elected as a Non-Permanent Member of the Security Council for the period of 2009-2010. "Austria's election to the Security Council is a strong expression of the faith other nations have in Austria as a reliable and active partner within the global community," Foreign Minister Plassnik stated after the election by the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Republic of Austria
This year marks the 90th Anniversary of the Republic of Austria. On November 12, 1918, in front of the Houses of Parliament, Austria’s first State Chancellor Karl Renner proclaimed the birth of the Republic. This followed a long and laborious process of political peace efforts. After the armistice agreement between Austria-Hungary and the Allied Forces was signed on November 3, one week later, on November 11, 1918, Germany and the Entente Powers signed an armistice agreement. This marked the official end of WWI. On the same day, Habsburg Emperor Karl I relinquished his throne and renounced all participation in the affairs of state.
Commemorating “Ninety Years of the Republic of Austria” in New Mexico
On November 12, 2008, the International Studies Institute (ISI) and other programs at the University of New Mexico, in cooperation with the official New Mexican non-profit organizations, “The Atlantic Bridge on the Camino Real” and the “Austrian-American Council of New Mexico,” commemorated “Ninety Years of the Republic of Austria” with generous book donations given to the University of New Mexico.
Ecopreneur Horst Rechelbacher, Founder of Aveda
“Changing the World by Changing the Way the World Does Business”
Horst M. Rechelbacher, a native-born Austrian and founder of Aveda (1978), a worldwide cosmetic company known for its natural plant-based products, has established a reputation as an environmentally concerned business leader, author and artist. After the sale of Aveda to Estee Lauder in 1997, he created Intelligent Nutrients, a company producing organic beauty and cosmetic products. Voted by the Austrian press as one of the most notable Austrians currently living in the United States, Horst Rechelbacher has won many awards. During his career he has made a significant contribution to the ‘wellness’ industry which has been driven by his concern for the global environment.
“Silent Night! Stille Nacht!”
This year we commemorate the 190th Anniversary of the Christmas carol “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” The song was first performed on Christmas Eve, 1818, in a small parish in Salzburg. Today it is part of the traditional Christmas repertoire around the globe. The original lyrics of the song “Stille Nacht” were written in German by the Austrian priest, Father Josef Mohr, and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster, Franz Xaver Gruber.
Dean of the Alternate Executive Directors of the IMF Hans Prader Honored
For more than 20 years Dr. Hans Prader, Dean of the Alternate Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D.C., has represented Austria and other ten member states of the Constituency on the IMF Executive Board. In recognition of his high degree of commitment and successful achievements Dr. Prader was recently honored with two outstanding decorations: On July 11, 2008 Austrian Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance Wilhelm Molterer presented him with the Grand Decoration of Honor in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria. Recently he was awarded the title “Commandeur” of the “Ordre de Mérite” by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and was presented this award by Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Jean Claude Junker on October 13 in Washington, D.C.
Austrian Monks’ Recording of Gregorian Chant Receives International Acclaim
After accepting a contract with Universal Music (London) to record an album of Gregorian chants in March of this year, the Cistercian monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey have received worldwide recognition for their recording of, “Chant – Music for Paradise,” released in the U.S. under the title, “Chant – Music for the Soul.” Since its international release, the CD has sold over 800,000 copies and has achieved success throughout Europe and in the United States, topping musical charts around the globe. Noting the monks’ achievement, monastery spokesman Father Karl Wallner described it as a “very serious and positive thing for us because Gregorian chant is the expression of our spirituality; it is how we pray, and the abbey is grateful for the opportunity to bring its devotion to a much wider audience.” Proceeds from the CD will be used for the training of Cistercian monks of Vietnam and seminarians from the Third World.
It began in February of 2008 when the monks discovered Universal Music’s search for masters of old sacred music and provided them with a link to their monastery website and a YouTube clip recorded the day of the competition’s deadline.
Alois Mock counts as one of the political icons of the Austrian Second Republic. His name stands alongside Leopold Figl, Julius Raab and Bruno Kreisky. Through his tough advocacy for Austria’s membership into the EU, he writes a piece of Austrian history. When in March 1994 negotiations with Brussels over Austria’s entry ended successfully, he advanced ultimately in the eyes of the public to “Mr. Europe.”