30th Anniversary of the UN Headquarters in Vienna
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Vienna International Center which, alongside with New York, Geneva and Nairobi, is one of four United Nations headquarters worldwide. The complex of buildings completed in 1979 accommodates fifteen UN sub organizations. As the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna has become a hub for dealing with the key security challenges of our time, including combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime as well as promoting nuclear safety and energy security.
Johannes Hahn Appointed EU Commissioner for Regional Policy
The current Austrian Federal Minister of Science and Research, Johannes Hahn, was appointed Austria’s new Commissioner to the European Union, responsible for Regional Policy. As Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger stated, “entrusting an Austrian with regional policy is an expression of recognition of Austria's role in the EU and for Johannes Hahn. Having previously held two important commissions - agriculture and foreign policy - Austria again receives a key portfolio in the Commission.”
Austrian Scientist and One of the Inventors of the Antiviral Drug Tamiflu
In 1990 Norbert Bischofberger, a highly regarded Austrian scientist, joined Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in antivirals, as head of the research team. In 1993 the team initiated work on influenza and was successful in developing the antiviral drug Tamiflu three years later in 1996. After clinical studies were carried out the drug was released on the U.S. market in 1999 as the first orally active, broad-spectrum anti-influenza agent for both treatment and prophylaxis of imfluenza infections. It is the main medication currently on the market used to inhibit the H1N1 virus or swine flu.
In 1999 the rights to market and develop Tamiflu were sold to Roche with Gilead retaining the intellectual property rights. Meanwhile, governments around the world have stockpiled Tamiflu. Today, Roche estimates that some 50 million people have been treated with Tamiflu, and the company is currently considering an increase in production. Bischofberger also helped develop the first HIV treatment manufactured by Gilead Sciences called Atripla, a once-a-day, single tablet regime that vastly simplified the treatment of AIDS. It was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006.
In an interview with Austrian Information, Dr. Bischofberger talked about the beginning of his scientific career, the development of Tamiflu, the threat that swine flu currently poses and the scientific innovation and entrepreneurial spirit which he found so attractive in the U.S.
Egon Schwarz: Adventurer and Scholar
by Peter Pabisch
Sometimes an exiled person is grateful that his fate allowed him to live far from his birth place because he recognized how dull his life might have been otherwise. Egon Schwarz, professor emeritus and one of the world’s leading university academicians in German Studies, Comparative Literature and Philology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, made this statement while taking me through his romantic garden last April, 2009, a horticultural miracle. We passed by certain plants, associating their geography with the multiple places, where he had lived during his exciting and eventful life. He mentioned three places Austria, South America and the United States, where he had acquired his perfect knowledge of German, Spanish and English, languages he uses for his research, lectures and writing of books and papers.
Professor Gary Cohen, Director of the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota for many years, was honored with the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art First Class for his indefatigable efforts in strengthening academic cooperation between Austria and the U.S.
Tradition of Scholarly Ambassadors of Austria in St. Louis
There is a strong link between St. Louis, Missouri and Austria which has existed for decades and can be attributed to significant academic contributions that have been made to scholarship at universities and other institutions in St. Louis. Austrian guest lecturers were invited by various universities and were provided the opportunity to offer their expertise to a receptive audience in the U.S.
Montclair – Graz
Sixty Years of Austria – U.S. Partnership
The City of Graz, Austria, and Montclair, New Jersey have shared an enduring “sister city” partnership since 1949 and have reaped invaluable benefits of cultural and academic exchange. At an anniversary celebration on November 3, 2009, hosted by Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole, the Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. Christian Prosl, distinguished Austrian representatives, members of the Board of Trustees of the University, Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried and the President of Montclair Overseas Neighbors Juliana Belcsak were all in attendance.
Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service
For more than fifteen years the Republic of Austria has had a unique program of international reconciliation called the Austrian Memorial Service (Gedenkdienst). Under this program young Austrians can serve - in lieu of military service - in organizations focused on Holocaust remembrance. In the United States, hundreds of young Austrians have served over the years at such distinguished institutions as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City, the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, the Houston Holocaust Museum and the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond.
Toni Sailer (1935 – 2009)
Austria's Sportsman of the 20th Century and His Role in the Development of North American Skiing
By Ian Scully
Austrian ski legend Toni Sailer passed away this year in Innsbruck at the age of 73. Sailer was the first skier to win gold medals in all three alpine skiing events, the downhill, slalom, and giant slalom at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Austrian President Heinz Fischer paid tribute to Sailer as a “top athlete who had already became a legend during his lifetime.” He is considered to be among the best the sport of skiing has ever produced.
Emo Henrich (1922 – 2009)
(1941 – 2009)
Dr. Otmar Kolber, former Honorary Consul General of Austria for Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas and Dean of the Consular Corps, passed away in Houston on September 21, 2009.
Otmar Kolber was born on August 7, 1941 in Vienna, Austria, and received a Jesuit education before attending the University of Vienna where he studied law and international business. Following his studies he left for the United States in the mid-1960s, where he studied comparative law at the University of Houston, graduating with a doctorate in law.