Hannes Richter

Welcome Mr. Ambassador

Hannes Richter

Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. Hans Peter Manz presented his credentials to President Obama at the White House on January 18, 2012 Photo: The White House

Change is the only constant thing in our lives, especially in the Foreign Service. On December 1, 2011 I had the privilege to take over the Austrian Embassy in Washington. My distinguished predecessor and old friend Ambassador Christian Prosl has finished his exceptional career. For anyone who knows him it is still hard to believe that this dynamic and always cheerful man has actually reached the mandatory retirement age.We all wish him the best in his future activities. I am certain that he will be as busy as ever.

I am no stranger to the United States, having served as Deputy Chief at our Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York between 1994 and 1999. After that I acted as Diplomatic Advisor to the Federal Chancellor for close on seven years which brought me to Washington a couple of times. In 2007 I was appointed Ambassador to Switzerland.

I am delighted to be back in the United States, not least it will give me the opportunity to see many of the things I missed the first time around. Although it will be anything but easy to follow Christian Prosl’s class act, I am excited at the prospect of representing Austria in this great country. It is no secret that I have always been an advocate for the strongest possible transatlantic relationship.

Call me old-fashioned, but I firmly believe that Europe and the United States have too many common interests not to further strengthen the cooperation that has allowed us to overcome the perils of the 20th century. New challenges have arisen that need to be addressed and we can ill afford not to tackle them together. In today’s interdependent world no country, big or small, can remain unaffected by current events – and more importantly, any pursuit of a purely national path will ultimately do more harm than good.

In many respects 2012 will be a crucial year. I am confident that we will see positive developments, particularly in the economic environment. As a professional observer of political events I am, of course, very much looking forward to the presidential elections here in the U.S.. From the twists and turns of the upcoming primaries until November we will follow what promises to be a hard-fought campaign. But I also look forward to working with the great team here at the Embassy as well as with all the other Austrian representations across the country. Preparations are well underway for many exciting projects. It is my sincere hope that you will continue to give us your valuable support.

Wishing you all a successful and happy New Year, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at one of our events.

With kind regards,
Ambassador Hans Peter Manz