Why did you decide to become President of the Alumni Association of the University of Vienna?
It was a spontaneous decision. I was asked and immediately said yes: I know from my US university how alumni networks work in the US and have always thought that this would also do Austria good. My goal is to establish even a fraction of this feeling of togetherness (“we studied at the same university, we have something in common”) and of this network idea at the University of Vienna.
How do you see the relationship between science and society? Especially in these difficult pandemic times and with the Ukraine war in Europe, a lot has changed.
Actually, it is incomprehensible to me that in our enlightened times, frizzy ideas and conspiracy theories are so popular. But we see it everywhere: at demonstrations – the main thing is to demonstrate against something – or among supporters of various abstruse anti-mainstream ideas. We live in a world where people are flooded with information and often don’t know how to distinguish between well-founded knowledge and brash assertions. Science, I think, must try to get closer to the people – not limit itself to high-level discussions among like-minded people.
What remains from your long time as an ORF presenter?
For me, being a journalist and presenter is one of the most beautiful professions there is. As a correspondent in the Far East and the USA, I had the opportunity to see the world from other perspectives, to analyse it and to sharpen the viewers’ and listeners’ eyes beyond the end of their noses. As a presenter, you are in the spotlight and “sell” the news, which is also a very gratifying and rewarding job. On top of that, I like working very much – and best of all – under pressure and don’t like working on long-term projects: that involves focusing on the essentials. All this helps me in my current job as a moderator for events and discussions, and I think I can also pass it on in media training.
Fotocredit: Teresa Maier-Zötl, Detailsinn
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