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Training future leaders in Vienna's Diplomatic Academy

D&T
October 18, 2015

Diplomatic Academy's graduates, among them Hungarians, serve not only on foreign missions but work in leading positions in international organizations, multinational companies.

In 1754 the Empress Maria Theresa founded the Oriental Academy to train young men for the diplomatic service of the Habsburg monarchy. Out of the Oriental Academy evolved first the Consular Academy and in 1964 the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, which in 1996 was granted the status of an independent public training institution. The Academy is one of the oldest of its kind worldwide.

Since 1964, more than 1,800 students from 115 different countries have graduated from this academy. Many DA alumni have become diplomats but even more have chosen different careers, particularly in the public administration of their countries, in EU institutions, international organizations, and private businesses.

"We are proud that some of our alumni - at different international organizations, based in Vienna - helped in finding a common European solution during the initial phase of the current crisis in Ukraine. We welcome Hungarian students here, currently there are four people in diffrent courses and we hope they will also find a proper place either in foreign service or at an international organization", Deputy director Gerhard Sailler said to Diplomacy&Trade in late September, just before a workshop on Hungarian foreign policy at the academy.

"It is a great pleasure to give the necessary required knowledge and skills to our students but the academic program is not the only part of our activities. Since only one third of DA's budget comes from public sources we have to find other ways to fund our work. Apart from the tuition fee, we organize top-class conferences, special executive courses each year and have found private foundations, companies and individuals to sponsor our activity", he added.

Asked about the role of diplomats and international experts in finding solutions to the current migrant crisis the deputy director said: "We revise our curricula regularly. DA is always attuned to the latest political and economic developments and constantly adopts its programs accordingly".

Numerous DA alumni have reached influential positions. To honor their achievements, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna introduced its DA Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010. Some of its members are:

- Michael Zimmermann (Ambassador of Austria in Budapest, Cabinet Director in the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austria)

- Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (President of the Republic of Croatia and former NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy)

- Valentin Inzko (U.N. High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina)

- Celso L.N. Amorim (Minister of Defense and former Minister of External Relations of Brazil)

- Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer (former Managing Director of the Austrian Development Agency and now Austrian Ambassador to South Africa)

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