Wolfgang Petritsch

President, Austrian Institute of International Affairs

Wolfgang Petritsch is the President of the Austrian Institute of International Affairs and of the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation as well as Chair of the Herbert C. Kelman Institute for Interactive Conflict Transformation, Vienna-Jerusalem. In 2016 Mr. Petritsch was a visiting professor at the universities of Vienna and UC Berkeley; 2013/14 he was the Joseph A. Schumpeter Fellow at Harvard University where he conducted research on “humanitarian intervention”. Mr. Petritsch received his PhD in Southeastern European history from the University of Vienna. He was a post-Doc Fulbright scholar at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. From 1977 to 1983 Mr. Petritsch was press secretary and deputy chief of cabinet, respectively, to Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria whose best-selling biography he published in 2010. In the 1980s he was director of the Austrian Press and Information Service in New York and diplomatic Councilor at his country’s UN Mission.  From 1993 to 1995 Mr. Petritsch was charged by his government with the information campaign for Austria’s accession to the European Union. After a stint as Director for International Relations of the City of Vienna, Mr. Petritsch was appointed Ambassador to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1997.

1998/99 Ambassador Petritsch was the European Union’s Special Envoy and Chief Negotiator at the Kosovo peace talks in Rambouillet and Paris.
From 1999 to 2001 Mr. Petritsch chaired the International Succession Commission in charge of the distribution of the public assets and liabilities among the successor states to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, resulting in the Vienna Agreement. Between 1999 and 2002 Mr. Petritsch was the International Community’s High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina in charge of the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war. From 2002-2008 he was Austria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, the WTO, and the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. As president of the UN Mine Ban Treaty from 2004 to 2006, Mr. Petritsch chaired the 2005 Nairobi Summit for a Mine Free World. He co-negotiated the UN Cluster Munitions Ban Treaty 2007/08. From 2008 to 2013 Ambassador Petritsch represented Austria at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Mr. Petritsch has extensively published in domestic and international media. He is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, with an emphasis on the post-conflict region of Southeastern Europe, the EU and on humanitarian intervention. His book Epochenwechsel. Unser digital-autoritäres Jahrhundert deals with the fundamental changes in the global order. It is currently being translated into Serbian and Albanian. In 2023 he co-edited Sarajevo Singular Plural. His upcoming book Diplomatic Interventions in Times of Unpeace is a collection of recent essays, op-eds and analyses and will be published in early 2024 by NOMOS. From 2008-2013 Mr. Petritsch was the Chair of the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), Amsterdam. Mr. Petritsch is i.a. the recipient of the European Award for Human Rights, Strasbourg 2007.

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