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Dr. Heinz Fischer was President of Austria from 2004 to 2016. He served as Minister of Science of the Republic of Austria from 1983 to 1987 and as President of the Austrian Parliament from 1990 to 2002. During his political career, Dr. Fischer was a strong advocate for women’s rights.

Together with former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon he holds the position as co-chairman of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens since 2017, working tirelessly for the empowerment of women in the realm of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Helen TODD

Helen Todd is Co-founder and CEO of Sociality Squared, a social media agency established in 2010 in New York City who understands the magic of people coming together around what they value and love. Helen is an award-winning marketer, international speaker, and also an advisor and speaker for SXSW Interactive. She graduated from Xavier University and holds a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Emerson College.

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Christian BERGER

Christian Berger works as a consultant in the field of economics at the Vienna Chamber of Labor and is a lecturer at the Department of Socio-Economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. In addition, Christian Berger advises and accompanies organizations and companies in the areas of social innovation, gender equality & diversity management. Among other things, he was an expert on the European Parliament's "Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality". His main work and research interests are social theory and feminist political economy, in particular structural change and social reproduction as well as the principles of equal treatment. He was also one of the spokespeople for the initiative "Frauen * Volksbegehren" (Women’s referendum).

Susanne RAAB

Susanne Raab became Austria’s Minister for Women and Integration in January 2020. Before that, she served as Head of Section VIII-Integration (2017-2019) and as Head of the Department for Coordination in Integration (2014-2017) in the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. From 2009-2013, she worked in different research and ministerial positions. Susanne Raab studied law and psychology.

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Wies Bratby is a top-lawyer-turned-HR-Director-turned-coach-slash-consultant, who recently returned to her native Netherlands, after working and living across the globe for nearly a decade. 

Through her coaching and consulting practice Women In Negotiation, she helps corporate career women realise their worth, communicate it and get them the positions and salaries they want through her online group coaching program WIN.

Wies is also a sough-after keynote speaker and workshop trainer, inspiring women to proactively negotiate for everything they want, need and deserve in their careers and lives.

Ambassador Desiree Schweitzer assumed the position of Director General, Directorate-General for Development Cooperation, Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in March 2018. Prior to that, she served as High-Level Liaison for the Austrian 2017 OSCE Chairmanship in the Office of the OSCE Secretary General for one and a half years, and, since 2011, as Deputy Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities/Head of Environmental Activities, with responsibility for energy security matters.  A career diplomat, she was Deputy Head of the Austrian Permanent Mission to the OSCE as well as Deputy Head of Division in the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs for OSCE and Council of Europe Affairs from 2008. Prior to that, she was responsible for European Union (EU) enlargement issues. Her overseas postings have included Washington, D.C., New York and Islamabad. She holds a Doctor of Law degree from the University in Vienna is an alumna of the Austrian Diplomatic Academy. She is president of the Austrian UN Women National Committee.

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Sylvia Sperandio is Brigadier at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defense. She is also the first women to reach the rank of an “Offizier” (general) in the Austrian army, Ms. Sperandio holds a doctorate in medicine and psychotherapy as well as an MBA in in Health Care Management.


Bini Guttmann is President of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), the umbrella organization for Jewish student unions. EUJS is a pluralistic, inclusive and non-partisan organization that supports Jewish student unions across Europe and represents its members vis-à-vis European institutions, the OSCE and the UNHRC, as well as major Jewish organizations. Bini is focused on ensuring that EUJS has a loud, strong and democratic political voice to advocate for the interests of young Jews across Europe, while at the same time creating a positive foundation for Jewish identity and finding a common European-Jewish narrative. Bini comes from Vienna, Austria, where he studied law and political science at the University of Vienna and established and directed the Jewish Austrian University Students (JöH) for three years.

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Laura Wimmer studied political science at the University of Vienna and has been working in the city of Vienna since 2011.

Since 2019 she serves as the deputy head of the department “Women's Service Vienna” and is the head of the Groundwork Department.

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Birgit SAUER

Birgit Sauer is a professor of Political Science at the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna. She was a member of several international research co-operations and projects on gender, migration, racism, and right-wing populism. Recently she conducted two research projects on state transformation and affective governmentality. She was director of the graduate school „Gender, Violence, and Agency in the Era of Globalisation“ (GIK) at the University of Vienna. Her research fields include gender and governance, gender and politics, feminist state and democratic theory, politics, affects and emotions, right-wing populism. 

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Julia Günther is a sociologist and university lecturer specializing in developing countries, gender and women's studies, and postcolonial theories. She has completed several stays for research in India. She is an active WIDE member, head of the WIDE Working Group on International Women's Rights, and has participated several times as an NGO expert at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).


Zoe Lefkofridi is University Professor for Politics & Gender, Diversity & Equality at the Department of Political Science at the University of Salzburg and the scientific director of gendup - the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Salzburg. Lefkofridi is affiliated with the Salzburg Center of European Union Studies of the University of Salzburg and the European Governance and Politics Program from the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Florence. She is chair and co-convenor of the Standing Group "Political Representation" of the European Consortium of Political Research. She researches and teaches about democracy, diversity, and equality, with a focus on the causes and consequences of unequal political participation and representation as well as on the influence of European integration on representative democracies.


Andrea Leitner studied sociology and economics at the University of Graz and the University of Vienna.  She is member of the scientific staff of the IHS since 1994, currently as senior researcher in the  research group in Equality and Education. Her main research interests are in structural inequalities and equality policies in education and  employment with focus on gender.


Antonella Mei-Pochtler worked in international strategy consulting for 30 years, covering various top management positions. She gained extensive experience especially in the media, technology and digital transformation areas, helping both global corporates and public institutions develop and execute innovative strategies.  In addition, the native Italian and mother of three is also involved in various charitable initiatives in the field of healthcare and education. She also serves on the board of various international public companies. Since March 2018, Dr. Mei-Pochtler acts as a Special Advisor to the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and Head of ThinkAustria, the Federal Chancellor's strategy and planning unit.


The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) is a pluralistic, inclusive and non-partisan organisation, representing its members in their respective communities as well as international institutions and organisations such as the UNHRC. After volunteering and working in the Jewish activism sphere for several years, Dana saw a gap between Jewish activism and Women’s activism, which led to the launch of the EUJS Women’s Network in April 2020. The goal of this network is to create a sustainable space of resilience and growth for self-identifying Jewish European women to fight for equality and women’s rights, embracing our differences for a just future. Dana is originally from Vienna, and has been living in the UK for almost 6 years. After studying Management and Marketing in Leeds, she worked for the Union of Jewish students UK and Ireland for 10 months. She has since completed a master’s degree in Culture and Society at the LSE, and works in PR and communications. 

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Mag.a Maria Rösslhumer, political scientist, managing director of the Association of Autonomous Austrian Women's Shelters, AÖF, head of the women's helpline against violence and online advice for female victims of violence. Before that also managing director of the European network WAVE Women Against Violence Europe. Deputy Chairwoman of the Austrian Women's Association, ÖFR and co-founder of the ONE BILLION RISING Austria association.

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Irene Giner-Reichl has been a member of the Austrian Diplomatic Service since 1982.  Her main area of expertise is economic and social development, women’s rights’ issues, environment, energy, and development cooperation. She has held numerous international bureau functions. From 1995 to 1998 she was the director of the international department of the Austrian Ministry for the Environment. From 1998 to
2001 she was Austria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, IAEA, UNIDO, and CTBTO in Vienna. Irene Giner-Reichl founded the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE) in 1999 as
a multi-stake-holder platform for dialogues on energy in the service of sustainable development and acted as Convenor for the GFSE’s global and regional meetings. Since 2013 she is Vice-President of the REN 21 Steering Committee.

Jennifer TUCKETT

Jennifer Tuckett is the Literary Director of Sphinx Theatre, the UK’s longest established women’s theatre company, Director of Art School, co-founder of London Writers’ Week, and an award-winning writer and academic. In her position at Sphinx, Jennifer has recently designed Sphinx 30, a pilot new writing programme for female playwrights run in partnership with 15 of the UK’s leading theatres. In her position at Art School, Jennifer runs University Women in the Arts  and The Student Guide to Writing series, amongst other projects. Jennifer has also recently been running the world’s first major mixed methods research project into how to improve the transition for women from studying the arts to working in the arts at the University of Cambridge and recently conducted a major year long research project into Women in Theatre with Sphinx Theatre. Jennifer holds an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama, a BA (Hons) in English from Cambridge University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded the first Distinction in the eight year history of the scriptwriting

strand of the course.

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Herbert CORDT

Before Herbert Cordt took over the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors at RHI Magnesita in 2017, he was Chairman of the Supervisory Board of RHI AG from 2010 until 2017, aswell as Vice-Chairman from 2007 to 2010. He is Managing Partner at Cordt & Partner GmbH, his international boutique corporate finance consultancy, which advises clients on corporate finance matters, and for a time was a member of the cabinet of the Austrian Federal Finance Minister. In the course of his career he has held a variety of senior executive and managing director positions in telecommunications and financial institutions in European firms, providing a wide range of business acumen and international experience. Herbert Cordt obtained a Doctorate in Law from University of Vienna, graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and received a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University Washington D.C.

Melanie SULLY

Professor Melanie Sully was visiting professor in political science at the Universities of Innsbruck and Vienna before coming to the Diplomatic Academy by way of the Austrian Foreign Ministry. She is the head of the Institute for Go-Governance which looks at governance issues. Dr Sully's own research is concerned with Austrian politics and she wrote her first book on the subject which came out in 1980. She has also contributed with talks, publications, expert opinions and interviews on the subject of UK politics and Brexit. In addition Dr Sully has worked as a consultant with the OSCE, the UK House of Commons and the Council of Europe on gender issues, parliamentary affairs and political parties. 

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Ursula BAUER

Ursula Bauer studied geography with a focus on urban and regional planning in Vienna and  Paris.

From 1992 to 2005 she is working for Municipal Department 57 – Promotion and Coordination of Women’s Issues of the City of Vienna. In October 2005 she is nominated as project director for the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the Vienna City Administration, in April 2012 she is also appointed deputy head of the controlling instruments group. Since 1990 she is lecturing at universities and universities of applied sciences.

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Marita HAAS

Marita Haas is a Gender Expert and Consultant focussing on Strategic advice to Executive boards and management teams. She holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences and is teaching students on Gender Equality issues. After 14 years of research in the sector of Gender and Organization, she founded her own company focusing on the topics of Gender, Diversity and Organizational Development. She challenges organizations to break with women*-only programs and supports them to build up a Gender-inclusive Culture and Leadership team. Her main areas of work are Gender audits and Gender analysis with a focus on the improvement of structures and processes. 


Elisabeth Holzleithner, is a Professor of Legal Philosophy and Legal Gender Studies and the Speaker of the interdisciplinary Research Platform GAIN – Gender: Ambivalent In_Visibilities at the University of Vienna. She serves as Head of the Department of Legal Philosophy, as Vice Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Law, and she is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Doctoral School Advanced Research School in Law and Jurisprudence (ARS Iuris). She is also a member of the Board of editors of the Journals “Gender”, “Rechtsphilosophie. Zeitschrift für Grundlagen des Rechts“ (Legal Philosophy. Journal for Foundations of the Law) and “Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte” (Journal for Human Rights).

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Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger is a computer scientist and an experienced researcher. Since 2002 she is full professor for "gender and diversity in organizations" at WU Vienna. She was at various national and international research institutions guest researcher (e.g. 2011 at LSE, 2014 at McGill University) and her work was awarded several times. 

Prof. Hanappi-Egger is an expert on organization studies and gender topics. She has published more than 350 articles, books and book chapters on gender and diversity, organization studies. Since October 2015, she is the rector of WU Vienna. 

Gerhard WAGNER

Gerhard Wagner is founder and co-president of HeForShe Vienna, an organisation dedicated to promote gender equality in support of the UN Women HeForShe campaign. He not only advocates for gender equality in his manifold voluntary engagements, but also professionally. As Social Innovation consultant at a global consulting firm Gerhard Wagner advises companies focusing on the topics gender equality, diversity and 


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Katharina MADER

Katharina Mader is assistant professor at the Institute for Heterodox Economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Her research interests are feminist economics, care economics and unpaid work as well as gender budgeting and gender-equitable economic policy. She has received numerous prizes for her research, including the Gabriele Possanner Prize, the 16th Vienna Women's Prize and the Käthe Leichter Prize.


Neha is the Founder and CEO of FemTech Partners, a consulting firm focused on the Financial Inclusion of women, which is winner of the Britcham Singapore Award 2020. Neha is a legal and finance professional with 12 years of experience in Asia and Europe. Neha is a Global Future Fintech Leader 2020, Singapore Women in Tech 100 and has been featured in the FinTech50 2019 and 2020. She holds a double-degree in Law and Commerce from the University of Delhi and has attended King’s College, London as a Chevening Financial Services Fellow. Neha is also the Team Leader for the £1.2 billion Prosperity Fund (PF) for the SEA region, administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) of the UK government.

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Irmtraud FISCHER 

Since 2004, Irmtraud Fischer is Professor for Old Testament studies at the University of Graz and was 2007–2011 Vice rector for research and continuing education at this University. 2017 Dr.h.c. phil of the University Gießen, Germany.

1988 Dissertation, 1993 Habilitation. Visiting professorships in Marburg/Lahn (1993), Vienna (1995), Bamberg (1995/96), Jerusalem (2001), and Rome (2011). 1997–2004 full professorship (C4) for Old Testament and women studies in theology. 

General editor of the international multilingual project “Bible and women” 

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Brigitta BLAHA

Brigitta Blaha is an Austrian diplomat with a long and distinguished career. She served in Washington, Bangkok, Rome, Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York. Her last posting was ambassador in Islamabad, covering Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has been involved with Women's issues and related projects in various fields.

She graduated with a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna and received a postgraduate diploma from the Diplomatic Academy. She is now serving on the board of the alumni association of the Diplomatic Academy and is the president of the Austria Pakistan Society. She has been an active member of different mentoring programs in Austria and abroad, currently she participates in the Alma mentoring program of the University of Vienna.


Margit Schratzenstaller is Senior Economist at WIFO and has been working in the Research Group "Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy" since 2003. She spent research stays at the German Institute for Economic Research Berlin, the Free University Berlin, and the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Her areas of expertise include (European) tax and budget policy, EU budget, tax competition and harmonisation, fiscal federalism as well as family policy and gender budgeting. 

Franziska RYSER

Franziska Ryser is a politician and was elected to National Council in Switzerland in 2019. As one of the youngest members of parliament, she represents the concerns of the younger generation and actively campaigns for equality and better representation of women and minorities in decision-making bodies. She holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland, where she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. 


After several years of experience in the art world, Sophia Vonier opened her gallery space in the heart of Salzburg in Spring 2019. Focussing on Austrian and international contemporary art, Galerie Sophia Vonier hosts exhibitions of emerging and mid-career artists, wishing to ideally implement a sustainable structure as well as comprehensive support, especially for female artists. The gallery's program aims at addressing a heterogeneous, though preferable also a young audience of art enthusiasts and collectors through stimulating exhibitions and a variety of accompanying events.

Christina DALETSKA

Christina Daletska is one of the most outstanding singers of her generation. She is a human rights activist and the official ambassador for Amnesty International Switzerland & Art for Amnesty.

The artist regularly appears with the most prestigious ensembles & orchestras - Ensemble Intercontemporain, Arditti Quartet, Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Klangforum Wien, Collegium Novum, Balthasar-Neumann, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz to name only a few. Venues include Philharmonie Berlin, Wiener Konzerthaus, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Zürich Opera, Salzburger Festspiele, Palais de Chaillot, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Opera Comique, Teatro La Fenice, Barbican London, Opéra national du Rhin, Ruhrtriennale, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and Luzern Festival.

Christina is a musician with a wide range of interests outside of music –she speaks seven languages and fights food waste.

Stefanie MAYER

Stefanie Mayer, a political scientist, teaches mainly at the FH Campus Wien. Her research focuses on feminist movements and theory building as well as right-wing extremism and populism. Here are some selected publications: “Politics of Differences. Ethnisation, racism and anti-racism in white feminist activism in Vienna ”(2018, Verlag Barbara Budrich), “Man, Woman, Family. Gender and the Limited Modernization of Right-Wing Extremism in Austria” (2020, with Edma Ajanovic and Birgit Sauer, article in "Right-Wing Populism and Gender" edited by Gabriele Dietze and Julia Roth).


Vera Strobachova-Budway joined the OSCE in January 2019 as Senior Co-ordination Adviser for Gender Issues.

Prior to that, Vera spent 12 years as Chief Diversity Officer in Erste Group Bank AG in where she established and developed the company’s first comprehensive Diversity & Inclusion Program; initially in Erste’s in  subsidiary in the Czech Republic and then for the entire organization with 46,000 employees in 7 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. 

Vera began her career in international affairs, serving as Senior Political Advisor on economic development, democratization and cross-border cooperation at the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in Vienna and Brussels. She is US national and received her Master Degree in Political Science and International Relations from Georgetown University (Washington, DC).

She is active in Rotary Vienna Maria Theresia and is a founding member of the Austrian Chapter of the International Women's Forum (IWF). 

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Ana Karen Ramírez is a famous Latina influencer, entrepreneur, maker and STEM vlogger. Founder of Epic Queen - a social enterprise that inspires girls and women to be curious and brave through STEM education.
Ana Karen is passionate about closing the gender gap in the field of science and technology and all her efforts go around improving the education of girls and women. In 2019, she was part of the First Women's Parliament of Mexico City, where she fought to improve laws that concern women. She studied at Singularity University on the NASA campus, awarded a 100% scholarship by Google. She is a member of the World Economic Forum community, Global Shapers. 


Liselotte ABID

Liselotte Abid, born in Lower Austria, has studied Communication Science and Oriental Studies/Near-Eastern Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. Since 1993 she has been a Freelance journalist (mainly in broadcasting). Since 2002 Lecturer at the University of Vienna (Gender Studies on the Muslim World; Islam and Human Rights; Inter-cultural Pedagogy; Media Studies, Islamic culture …). She has given guest lectures at Universities in Austria, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran. Her research interests are women’s & gender studies, women’s rights/human rights; inter-cultural communication/inter-religious dialogue; Islamic studies, Islam and human rights, Islam and democracy.

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