COVID-19: An Update from Salzburg Global President & CEO Stephen Salyer




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Apr 09, 2020
by Stephen L. Salyer
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COVID-19: An Update from Salzburg Global President & CEO Stephen Salyer

"Let's remember that although we are separated physically, we are together in spirit and purpose."

Dear Friends,

Openness, hospitality, and innovation lie at the center of everything we do at Salzburg Global Seminar. It is perhaps important to remember, however, that terrible adversity and renewal are also key themes intertwined across our organization's 73-year history. After all, Salzburg Global was born in the aftermath of World War II, when Europe remained divided and in the throes of economic and social crises.

COVID-19 presents challenges on a scale and timeline that, at times, feel overwhelming. But we are finding comfort and hope in the actions we are taking as a community – of Fellows, of colleagues, of families and friends – to persevere.

Many of you have asked how Salzburg Global is faring during this period of quarantine and travel restriction. As you may know, the Austrian government closed all Salzburg hotels, including Schloss Leopoldskron, on March 16. We expect to reopen gradually later in the spring, under strict conditions protecting the health of staff and visitors. We have postponed all in-person program convening through June 2020, and are working with our partners to reschedule activities for the balance of 2020 and 2021. In the meantime, we have put in motion extensive programs of digital convening and collaboration. Watch for details, and please plan to participate.

We are fortunate that the Austrian and United States governments have both offered programs of support. Last month, 51 colleagues in Salzburg moved into a temporary employment support program that allows them to work reduced hours while the Austrian government subsidizes the payment of salaries through June. We have also applied through the US CARES Act for a low-interest, forgivable loan equal to eight weeks of US wages and some benefits. Our Washington staff have accepted reduced benefits during this period, and senior staff have taken voluntary salary cuts.

Despite these measures and across-the-board spending reductions, we face a substantial deficit this year produced by falling program and hotel income. Our staff understand this is an unprecedented crisis. Each one of them is doing everything in their power to see us through. It is gratifying that Fellows and friends and supporters are rallying to make gifts at levels they can afford.

The response by everyone across the Salzburg Global community inspires our efforts to shape a better future, and our daily actions to support transformative thinking and action across the world. I am confident that together we can weather this storm and emerge stronger in many ways.

So let's keep our ideas flowing. Let's remember that although we are separated physically, we are together in spirit and purpose. Let's be kind to our neighbors and to each other. Let's share the belief that our proudest days are ahead not behind, and that we will shape the future together.

My best wishes to each of you, your families, and friends for a safe and healthy few weeks to come.


Stephen L. Salyer
President & CEO, Salzburg Global Seminar