Salzburg Global President Celebrates Austrian National Day and Bids Farewell to Ambassador Waldner

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Oct 29, 2019
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Salzburg Global President Celebrates Austrian National Day and Bids Farewell to Ambassador Waldner

Salzburg Global Seminar President Stephen Salyer takes part in Austrian National Day celebrations in Washington, DC Stephen Salyer, Gudrun Faudon-Waldner, and Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC (Photo: Peter Alunans)

Salzburg Global Seminar President Stephen Salyer joined others to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to departing Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner at an event in Washington, DC, last week.

Salyer took part in early Austrian National Day celebrations at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, also designed to honor and bid farewell to Ambassador Waldner and his wife Gudrun, who are returning to Vienna after more than three years in Washington.  

As has been the custom for many years, the Austrian Ambassador to the United States and the American Ambassador to Austria serve ex officio as members of Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors.

More than 600 guests attended the event, held on October 24, including ambassadors, sponsors, expats, and friends of Austria.  

Ambassador Waldner, who has been head of mission since January 2016, will serve his final day in the Austrian Foreign Service on October 31.

During the event, Ambassador Waldner delivered an address which was followed by a toast by honorary guest Ambassador Philip T. Reeker, acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State. Ambassador Reeker also delivered a message from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Various “quintessential” dishes and drinks from Austria by Chef Mikko were served on the night. Guests also enjoyed performances from Chicago-born Soprano Nicole Butler and Austrian jazz trumpeter Franz Hackl & Friends.

Austrian National Day is celebrated each year on October 26 and is linked to political developments after the Second World War. On this day in 1955, the Austrian Parliament passed a constitutional law on permanent neutrality, which has been celebrated as the Austrian National Day since 1965.

Expressing thanks on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Salzburg Global, President Salyer said, “Wolfgang and Gudrun have admirably represented Austria in Washington. Among other contributions, they have hosted dinners and events for Salzburg Global Seminar, advancing the friendship between the two countries and the Seminar’s work around the world.  Wolfgang’s interest in our mission and willingness to introduce Salzburg Global to a wide range of people and institutions has made an indelible mark. We deeply appreciate all he has done and look forward to having the Walders as ongoing members of the Salzburg Global family.”

In a farewell message delivered this morning, Ambassador Waldner said, "Serving as Austrian Ambassador to this fascinating country has been deeply enriching both professionally and on a personal level. Having spent almost nineteen years of my diplomatic career in America, this posting was a fitting culmination of my deep affinity for the United States, and I am thankful for the opportunity to make a contribution to the Austrian-American friendship.

"Returning to Vienna, I leave this friendship in the caring hands of both my colleagues at the Austrian Embassy and my successor and good friend, Ambassador Martin Weiss, to whom I wish the very best and every success."

Read the farewell message in full here.