Australian Film Festival
Photo (l-r): Gaia Puleston, First Secretary and Grigorij Meseznikov, President, IVO Institute. Copyright: Peter Prochazka.
The inaugural “Aussie Film Fest” was held in Bratislava, 4-6 December. The festival showcased Australia’s creative filmmaking through five contemporary Australian films: "Last Cab to Darwin", "Paper Planes", "The Daughter", "The Babadook" and "The Little Death". The films were selected to showcase contemporary Australia, beyond the stereotypes of "Crocodile Dundee" or "Mad Max."
The Embassy (First Secretary Gaia Puleston) helped open the festival to a sell-out audience, who enthusiastically received the opening film: "Last Cab to Darwin".
Australia’s statement to the OSCE Ministerial Council
On 4 December, Ambassador David Stuart delivered Australia's statement to the 22nd Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade, Serbia. Ambassador Stuart expressed concern at the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine, and urged Russia to abide by its international obligations, including respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He said Australia wanted to ensure those responsible for the downing of MH17 were held accountable. Ambassador Stuart said that Australia would further strengthen its engagement and cooperation with international partners against terrorist threats. He said a priority Australia shared with the OSCE was to advance security and stability in Afghanistan. He said Australia looked to the OSCE to promote gender equality and recognising that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence during times of conflict. Read the full statement here.
Remembrance Day 2015
Photo (l-r): New Zealand Ambassador Ms Deborah Geels and Australian Ambassador Mr David Stuart attended the Remembrance Day service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Klagenfurt on 11 November. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
Photo (l-r): Ambassador David Stuart attended the Remembrance Day service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Solymár on 8 November. Copyright: British Embassy, Budapest.
Photo (l-r): Ambassador David Stuart visited the Peace Monument dedicated to the victims of the Second World War at Pogrebno podjetje Maribor cemetery in October 2015. Copyright: Pogrebno podjetje Maribor cemetery.
Our post in Vienna is accredited to six countries, two of which have Commonwealth War Graves where Australian servicemen rest: the cemetery at Klagenfurt in southern Austria, and the cemetery at Solymár a short drive to the north of Budapest in Hungary. There is a third cemetery at Maribor in central Slovenia where many Allied servicemen are buried which has no marked graves for Australians, but a large section with graves of unidentified soldiers.
Ambassador David Stuart attended remembrance ceremonies at Solymár on 8 November, and at Klagenfurt on 11 November. The Embassy was also represented by DHOM (David Lewis) at the UK Embassy service in Vienna on Remembrance Sunday on 8 November. For many years through our Embassy in Budapest, and in the last two years through our post in Vienna, we have had an official presence at the Solymár service, in a beautifully cared for site in a rural valley on the fringe of Budapest. There are 13 Graves of Australian servicemen at Solymár.
Pictured below is the Ambassador with Mr Josef Apro, a veteran with service in both the Hungarian and Australian armed forces. Mr Apro, who as a pilot and officer in the Hungarian Air Force took part in the October 1956 uprising against communist rule, resettled as a refugee in Australia. Over thirty years later, after the end of the Cold War, the first post-communist government invited him to return to Hungary, where he was honoured for his actions in 1956 and promoted to the rank of Major-General. His participation in the 1956 uprising is commemorated in one of the displays in the Military History museum on the castle hill in Budapest. Mr Apro, who attended the service on 8 November with his daughter, Mrs Erika Svak, told us how he had visited Solymár when he returned in the early 1990s to find it overgrown, with grass higher than many of the gravestones. He is proud of his role in restoring the site since then.
Photo (l-r): Ambassador David Stuart and Mr Josef Apro at the Remembrance Day service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Solymár, Hungary. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
We have also regularly attended the ceremony held for Remembrance Day at Klagenfurt where 30 Australian servicemen lie in marked graves. The cemetery is kept impeccably. Like the ceremony at Solymár, Remembrance Day is organized by the British Embassy. Most of the Australians buried at Klagenfurt served in the air force although there are also some graves from those who were prisoners of war at the nearby camp at Wolfsberg.
Many Australian servicemen who were captured following the Battle of Crete in 1946 were imprisoned in camps in southern Austria; some 800 were held in the camp at Wolfsberg and it is possible that there were also some in the related concentration camp in Maribor in Slovenia. The then HOM, Ambassador Michael Potts attended a service at the Pogrebno podjetje Maribor cemetery on 20 May 2011 together with colleagues from Embassies in Ljubljana and Vienna. Post has visited the cemetery in recent months, and observed that it is well kept. The New Zealand Ambassador in Vienna, who is accredited in Slovenia, visited the cemetery where two New Zealand soldiers are buried, this year.
"Harry Seidler – Painting toward architecture" exhibition opening, Budapest
Photo (l-r): Rita Mária Halasi, Acting Director, Ponton Gallery; Ambassador Stuart; Vladimir Belogolovsky, curator of the exhibition; Professor József Fülöp, Rector of MOME. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
On 5 November 2015, Ambassador David Stuart co-hosted the opening of the exhibition "Harry Seidler – Painting toward architecture" at the Ponton Gallery of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, MOME. The exhibition, curated by Vladimir Belogolovsky in co-operation with the Seidler family, followed on the exhibition held at the City of Vienna Planungswerkstatt in May 2015.
The exhibition opening provided a platform to promote Australia's creative reputation, and the strength of Australia’s multicultural society. Ambassador Stuart highlighted Australia's tradition of welcoming refugees, and the remarkable contribution Hungarian refugees and migrants have made to Australia's society. He also spoke about Seidler’s connections to Hungary, including the impact of Hungarian-born architects Marcel Breuer and Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy. Seidler visited Budapest in the 1980’s and in 2000.
Other speakers at the opening event were: Professor József Fülöp, Rector of MOME; Rita Mária Halasi, Ponton Gallery's Acting Director; and Vladimir Belogolovsky.
The event attracted positive attention from local media, including articles and interviews with Vladimir Belogolovsky in eight Hungarian architecture and contemporary art magazines. The Hungarian media recognised Harry Seidler as one of Australia's most important and innovative architects, and that he was the first architect to fully represent and adapt the "Bauhaus" style to the climate and geography of Australia.
IHRA, Debrecen Hungary 2-5 November 2015
Photo (l-r): Dr Andre Oboler, CEO, Online Hate Prevention Institute; Suzanne Hampel, OAM, Monash University; Kevin Playford, Director of the Human Rights and Indigenous Issues Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ambassador David Stuart; Pauline Rockman OAM, Co-President, Jewish Holocaust Centre; Donna-Lee Frieze and Dr Steven Cooke, Deakin University. Copyright: IHRA
Photo: Ambassador David Stuart (right) meets Mr András Heisler (middle), President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (Mazsihisz), and Mr Tamás Ács, President of the Budapest Jewish Community (left). Copyright: Mazsihisz
The Debrecen meeting was the first of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in which Australia participated since becoming an observer of IHRA in June 2015. Our delegation combined five experts, Pauline Rockman OAM (Co-President, Jewish Holocaust Centre), Dr Andre Oboler (CEO, Online Hate Prevention Institute), Suzanne Hampel OAM (Monash University) and Donna-Lee Frieze and Dr Steven Cooke (Deakin University) and two representatives of Government, David Stuart, who is our current Ambassador to Austria and resident representative to the United Nations in Vienna as well as being non-resident Ambassador to Hungary, and Kevin Playford, Director of the Human Rights and Indigenous Issues Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
IHRA was established in 1998 to promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research. It has 31 member countries, ten observer countries and seven Permanent International Partners. Membership is open to all UN Member States who are committed to the implementation of Holocaust initiatives. IHRA‘s objective of strengthening the promotion of education, remembrance and research about the Holocaust is one which Australia shares.
One of our main goals for the Debrecen meeting was to develop a better idea of how IHRA works and what contribution Australia might make. The meeting, under the Chair of Mr Szabolcs Takacs (State Secretary for EU Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office of Hungary), was divided into four major working groups, covering Education, Academic, Museums and Memorials, and Communications. Our experts participated in all these groups. In some cases, as observer country representatives, they were restricted to a listening role. In the working groups on Museums and Memorials and Education, we were able to play a broader role, including two of our experts who were asked to join the Steering Committees for future work.
The delegation took part in the IHRA Chair’s meeting with all observers, and was active in the extensive networking that characterised the meeting. Ambassador Stuart and Kevin Playford were also able to sit in on the Delegation Heads meeting that considered Working Group recommendations, and the delegation also observed the plenary meeting that considered progress reports from six partner countries on their efforts to advance the goals of the Alliance.
While it was the first opportunity to observe IHRA in action as a participant, overall impressions were generally positive. The informed, constructive level of discussion and serious input by many delegates on a wide range of current issues were notable; given the IHRA membership, most issues addressed involved the plans and challenges of European governments although the US and Canada also contributed strongly. Many issues, including on managing museums and memorials, education and effective communication about the Holocaust, were relevant to Australia. The strength and diversity of our expert representation in Debrecen augurs well for our capacity to support the ongoing work of the Alliance.
Debrecen bilateral meetings
Photo (l-r): Ambassador David Stuart met with Dr László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen, at the Old City Hall of Debrecen on 4 November. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
Photo (l-r): Ambassador David Stuart at Lajos Kossuth’s desk in the Old City Hall of Debrecen. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
Photo: Ambassador David Stuart with students of the English and American Studies Institute at the University of Debrecen. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
As part of Post’s visit to Debrecen, Ambassador Stuart called on the Mayor of Debrecen Dr László Papp. Debrecen is the second biggest city in Hungary, and a long-standing centre for agriculture. As well as discussing the city’s history and economic prospects, the Mayor told us about its close links with Lajos Kossuth, a political reformer who proclaimed the independence of Hungary from the Austrian Empire on 13 April 1849. Debrecen was also the temporary capital city of Hungary during the revolution in 1849.
According to "The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins", about 100 former Hungarian revolutionaries came to Australia between 1851 and 1867 following the fall of the Lajos Kossuth-led revolution. This was the first sizeable refugee movement of Hungarians to reach Australia. The majority of these migrants were of good education, with quite a number of professional army officers, solicitors, doctors and engineers among them.
On 3 November, the Ambassador met with Professor Dr László Csernoch, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, and Dr Gabriella Espák at the Institute of English and American Studies, University of Debrecen, as well as students doing Australian Studies courses at the university.
Visit of Australian Embassy to “EDUS-Education for All” in Sarajevo
Ambassador David Stuart visiting EDUS; Photo bottom right: Ambassador David Stuart with Ms Stanislava Majušević, EDUS Head Program Coordinator, and Ms Sanela Lindsay, EDUS General Secretary.
Copyright for photos top and bottom left: Senad Gubelić, “Oslobodjenje”; Photo bottom right: Australian Embassy.
Ambassador David Stuart visited a Sarajevo-based NGO “EDUS-Education for All”, which has been supported by the Australian Government since 2012, through the Direct Aid Program (DAP).
Read full article here.
Gallipoli Exhibition at Museum of Military History
Photo (top): Australian Ambassador David Stuart
Photo (bottom left, from left to right): Director of Military History Museum Dr Christian Ortner, Australian Ambassador David Stuart, New Zealand Ambassador Deborah Geels and Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Hasan Göğüş
Photo (bottom right, from left to right): Brigardier Bill Sowry and Vice-Director of Military History Museum Dr Christoph Hatschek
Copyright for photos top and bottom left: ÖBH/Hartl; Copyright for photo bottom right: Australian Embassy
On 22 September, Australian Ambassador David Stuart, New Zealand Ambassador Deborah Geels and Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Hasan Göğüş opened the joint exhibition “Çanakkale/Gallipoli 1915-2015 - Road from War to Peace” at the Museum of Military History (HGM) in Vienna.
Held on the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, the exhibition brings together photographs taken by soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey. The exhibition is testament to the courage, comradeship and compassion of the ANZAC troops and the respect they developed for their Turkish enemies.
Read Ambassador Stuart’s speech here.
Australia's Statement to the 59th IAEA General Conference
On 16 September 2015, Australia's head of delegation, Ambassador David Stuart, Governor and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), delivered Australia's statement to the 59th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference. Read the statement here.
Australian flora on show at Garten Tulln
Copyright: Australian Embassy
Garten Tulln is presenting an exhibition of Australian flora, drawing from the impressive collection of the Austrian Federal Gardens. The exhibition, which includes including banksias, a wollemi pine, epacris and ferns, underlines the long-standing botanic contacts between Austria and Australia. First Secretary Gaia Puleston helped open the exhibition on 25 August. Read more here
Australia’s support for "100 Stories of Youth" in Srebrenica
Copyright: Silver Media
The Australian Embassy has been pleased to support the project “100 Stories of Youth” (100 priča mladih) in Srebrenica, conducted by Silver Media. The project presented candid video interviews of 100 young people living in Srebrenica and surrounding areas, discussing their everyday life, needs and hopes. This innovative project was an effort to give voice to the post-war generation of Srebrenica, and to spur positive activism among young population via the online platform. Watch the interviews at http://vlog.esrebrenica.ba/ (in Bosnian).
20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide
Copyright: Australian Embassy
Photo top left: Maree Fay (Consul) and Nada Muster (Bilateral Affairs Officer) at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery.
Photo top right: Maree Fay and Nada Muster at the former UN base in Potocari.
Photo bottom: View of a section of the Srebrenica – Potocari Memorial and Cemetery.
The Australian Government was represented at the commemoration on 11 July 2015 marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica by Maree Fay (Consul) and Nada Muster (Bilateral Affairs Officer). The Hon Michael Danby, MP (Federal Member for Melbourne Ports) travelled from Australia for the commemoration. An estimated 70,000 people, including members of close to 90 foreign delegations, and a large number of international and local media representatives attended.
11 July is the single worst massacre in Europe since the end of the Second World War. Srebrenica, a United Nations “safe haven” established after the former Yugoslavia erupted into civil war, was overrun. In the act of genocide perpetrated in Srebrenica, more than 8,000 men and boys were murdered.
Former US President Clinton; one of the speakers at the commemoration, said: “I grieve that it took us so long to unify all of our friends behind using the amount of force that was necessary to stop this violence. And I’m thrilled that the peace has been maintained. … On behalf of my country and from the bottom of my heart – I love this place. I never want to see a killing field like this within thousands of miles of here”. Dutch Foreign Minister, Koenders, said that “we always remember the horrific murder of thousands of innocent men and boys” after the fall of Srebrenica. “The genocide committed here is a dark chapter in our European history. The atrocity that occurred here must never be forgotten”.
Visit to Diamond Aircraft Group
Copyright: Australian Embassy
Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Group has been supplying Australian flight training centres with innovative aircraft for the training of future Australian pilots. Among their customers are Port Macquarie’s Australian International Aviation College (AIAC) and Flight Training Adelaide. Ambassador David Stuart saw the company’s carbon-fibre technology first hand when he recently paid a visit to Diamond Aircraft headquarters in Wiener Neustadt.
Prime Minister's statements on the anniversary of the downing of MH17
Read the Prime Minister's media release on the anniversary of the downing of MH17 here and his address to the MH17 National Memorial Service here.
Australia on show at Budapest Zoo
Copyright: Budapest Zoo
The Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden has displayed Australian animals since it opened almost 150 years ago. Deputy Head of Mission David Lewis recently had a chance to visit the zoo together with Zoltan Molnar, curator of the Australia Exhibit, including the newly opened Koala Exhibit, which reflects the warm ties that exist between Australia and Hungary. Read more here #KoalaDiplomacy
Joint Statement on Budapest Pride Festival 2015
On the occasion of the 20th Budapest Pride Festival, Australia joined 24 other Embassies in Budapest to convey our support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Hungary and their right to express themselves peacefully and lawfully. Read the joint statement here.
New Australian Sports Diplomacy Strategy
On 25 June, Australia’s Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, and Sports Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, launched the “Australian Sports Diplomacy Strategy 2015-18”. Australia has an incredibly successful sporting story to tell – and it is not just about gold medals; sport is about inspiring people, building communities, and helping people to lead better lives. It helps build trust between countries and bring people together. For Minister Bishop’s, Minister Robb’s, and Minister Ley’s media release, please refer here.
Work and holiday arrangements signed with Slovak Republic and Slovenia
Australia recently signed reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangements with Slovakia and Slovenia. Under the arrangements, young Australians will be able to explore and work in Slovakia and Slovenia, and young Slovaks and Slovenians will be able to do the same in Australia. The arrangements were signed during Ministerial visits to Australia. For more information, see here on the arrangement with Slovakia, and here on the arrangement with Slovenia.
Interview with Australian football player James Holland
After three and a half years, Australian football player James Holland (pictured above, right, with Australian Ambassador David Stuart) bids farewell to FK Austria Wien. Read the interview the Embassy team conducted with the 26-year old midfielder here.
Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture
Image (l-r): Vladimir Belogolovsky, Curator; Penelope Seidler, Harry Seidler & Associates; Angelika Winkler, City of Vienna; David Lewis, Charge d'Affaires. Copyright: Australian Embassy.
The Australian Embassy was pleased to welcome Penelope Seidler back to Vienna on 13 May for the opening of an exhibition marking the work of Harry Seidler. Harry Seidler, the internationally acclaimed Australian architect born in Vienna, was one of Australia’s most prominent architects of the 20th century. The “Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture” travelling exhibition examines his distinctive place and hand within, and beyond, modernist design methodology.
Read comments by Charge d’Affaires, David Lewis, at the opening of the exhibition here. The exhibition runs until 3 July at the Wiener Planungswerkstatt (Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 9, 1082 Vienna).
Anita Heiss, author of Aboriginal literature, visits Vienna
The Australian Embassy was pleased to welcome Dr Anita Heiss, a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales and one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors of Aboriginal literature, back to Vienna this May. On 6 May, she read from her memoir “Am I Black Enough” at the “Aboriginal Art” exhibition being shown in the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg. One day later, she held a lecture on “Aboriginal Literature for Children and Young Adults“ at a seminar at the University of Vienna. In her work Anita Heiss focusses on questions of identity and cultural heritage. Anita Heiss also has Austrian heritage.
Australia's statement to the NPT Review Conference
Australia is a firm and consistent supporter of the Treaty on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is the cornerstone of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation and has enabled the international community to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. On 28 April, H.E. Gillian Bird, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations in New York, delivered Australia's statement to the NPT Review Conference. Read the full statement here.
2016 Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships round
Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are internationally competitive, merit-based scholarships provided by the Australian Government that support citizens around the world to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and for Australians to do the same overseas. Applications for the 2016 round are now open. See here for further information.
2015 Anzac Centenary Dawn Service
On 25 April, approximately 300 people joined the dawn service held by the Australian and New Zealand Embassies in front of Karlskirche to commemorate the Anzac Centenary. Wreaths were laid by the Australian and New Zealand Embassies and representatives of the UK, Canada, France, Turkey and the United States.
Senator Nash addresses 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna
On 9 March, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, delivered Australia's statement at the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Senator Nash said Australia’s policy focus for CND58 would be on health and law enforcement collaboration, medical access to internationally controlled medicines; and building on the previous work of the Commission on new psychoactive substances to incorporate broader trends in synthetic drugs, including methamphetamines such as ice.
For Senator Nash’s intervention on addressing emerging issues including new psychoactive substances, precursors and the misuse of the internet on 10 March, please refer here.
For Senator Nash’s intervention on ensuring the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion on 10 March, please refer here.
Image: Senator the Hon Fiona Nash at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, with Ambassador David Stuart (right) and Mr Nathan Smyth, First Assistant Secretary, Population Health Division, Department of Health (left).
IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, March 2015
To read Australia's statements on nuclear safety, nuclear technology, Iran, Syria, the DPRK, and the conclusion of new safeguards agreements, delivered at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting (2-5 March) see here.
Aboriginal Art Exhibition Opening
On 29 January, Ambassador David Stuart and Karlheinz Essl co-hosted the opening of the "Aboriginal Art" exhibition at the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg. The Essl Museum holds one of the most important collections of Australian Aboriginal art in Europe. The exhibition presents about eighty works of some of Australia’s most renowned Indigenous artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Rover Julama Thomas, Clifford Possum Tjaplatljarri, Kathleen Petyarre, Paddy Bedford, Michael Nelson Jagamarra, Richard Bell and Destiny Deacon. The event was attended by approx. 500 people, including senior representatives from government, the diplomatic corps, business, culture and academia. The exhibition will be on display until mid-August. For further information, please refer here
Image above (l-r): Agnes and Karlheinz Essl, Ambassador David Stuart, and Ms Anne Marie Ribas, Spouse of Ambassador Stuart.