From DLG to the Diplomatic Service

DA alumna Lucia Kronsteiner on her career since graduating from DLG 36 in 2000


International relations and foreign policy have always intrigued me - as a kid, I used to grab my parents’ newspaper and avidly read the foreign policy pages before reading anything else. That did not stop as I grew up. After finishing my studies of interpretation (which was a first attempt to approach the area – I imagined myself interpreting in the UN Security Council… little did I know about real life), I decided to give it a try and apply for the Diplomatische Akademie Wien’s Diploma Programme – and to my great surprise, I was admitted.

I can’t stress enough just how much I enjoyed this year at the Diplomatic Academy: listening to renowned speakers and lecturers, travelling to Brussels, Strasbourg and other places, learning new languages (well, at least I tried) … and eventually I passed the “prealable” and joined the Austrian Foreign Ministry. For me it is very clear that having studied at the Diplomatic Academy made the big difference: the quality of the candidates at the prealable was extraordinary. It definitely would have been impossible to compete with all these brilliant minds hadn’t it been for the thorough preparation I had received at the Diplomatische Akademie.

Now, after some years in the Austrian Foreign Ministry, with stops in Caracas, Paris and (mainly) Brussels, I am back in Vienna, heading the directorate for Common Foreign and Security Policy and working closely with the Political Director. My job is sometimes tiring and intense, sometimes technical and boring, but most of the time it is interesting and colourful. I am still as fascinated by the field of international relations as I was when I was a kid. It is an ever changing area and it is not becoming easier or less challenging – on the contrary: the international climate is increasingly tense and Austria’s positions today are less mainstream and more self-confident than they used to be. Taking on new postings in new countries, leaving the comfort zone, adapting to new environments and jumping into new areas of work is difficult but it also broadens one’s horizon and keeps the mind awake. I have never regretted my professional choice and I would certainly go for it again, if I was to choose now.

[April 2021]