DA alumnus Gerhard Reiweger on his career since graduating from DLG 20 in 1985

Gerhard ReiwegerFor me, the Diplomatische Akademie Wien provided the entry into the fascinating world of diplomacy. Having graduated from the University of Vienna with a degree in languages and literature, the DA gave me an opportunity to complement my education in many fields relevant for the pursuit of an international career – and in particular for the entry exam to the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the 1980s, the atmosphere at the Academy was much different from today. The Diploma Programme (DLG) was a two-year course and there were only two classes of about 20 people each in the house. Later in my career I was privileged to be part of the team that, starting in 1997, implemented a major reform project that turned the Academy into the thriving institution it is today.

Before taking the position of Deputy Director at the DA I had been abroad for eight years, on postings first to the Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C. and then to our Embassy in Stockholm. Those were the years when the Iron Curtain fell, the Soviet Union disintegrated, the wars in Yugoslavia started and Austria, alongside with Sweden and Finland, negotiated their accession to the EU. It was also a time when Donald Trump was just a young socialite with dubious reputation and the International Panel on Climate Change was known only to the select few.

As of 2010 I had the pleasure and the privilege to serve as Austrian Ambassador to Bulgaria and later to Romania and the Republic of Moldova. I greatly enjoyed working on the wide array of issues that you are confronted with at a bilateral mission where the measure of your success will be not only the quality of your political reporting but also – and probably even more so – the number of initiatives you take in the fields of culture, education and science, your contacts to civil society and the support you provide to business.

Since retiring from active service I have pursued my interest in Public Diplomacy, which I teach at different education institutions in Europe.

[March 2021]