Salzburg Global Chronicle 2015 » Introduction

Letter from the President

Can individuals drive events, or do forces much larger than ourselves determine our fate? As we face enormous planetary challenges, the question resonates powerfully today. 

We know that three young men at Harvard University believed they could make a difference and launched a “Marshall Plan of the Mind” that became Salzburg Global Seminar. We know that Helene Thimig – the widow of Max Reinhardt, who lovingly restored the Austrian palace of Schloss Leopoldskron – offered its use without charge for an improbable seminar in 1947. We know that a member of that first seminar’s faculty, the anthropologist Margaret Mead, famously said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” We know Salzburg Global’s Austrian co-founder, Clemens Heller, said on its 50th Anniversary: “Behind the idea of the Salzburg Seminar was a whole conception of human responsibility. And for me…the great experience above all was that suddenly you learned you had responsibility, you could do things.” We know Salzburg Global Seminar has evolved – from post-War dialogue to Cold War meeting ground, from a bridge between North and South to a truly global place – inspiring innovative thought and action.

Like their forerunners, today’s Salzburg Global Fellows are determined to act responsibly and change the world. They are making a difference in places where resistance and obstacles are great. We salute their courage and extend deepest thanks to those across the world who support our work and theirs.

Stephen L. Salyer,
President & CEO, Salzburg Global Seminar


Presidential Picks

1814 Commemorated

Our 2014 program opened with a lecture entitled Europe’s future: 1814, 1914 – or something completely different? Why 1814? Most people could tell you the significance of 1914 – the outbreak of World War One – but fewer are aware of the significance of 1814: the opening of the Congress of Vienna. Europe’s leaders of 1914 have famously been described as sleepwalkers, stumbling into war. Their counterparts 100 years previous were considered to be architects, building a new international system after the Napoleonic Wars. How will history view today’s leaders in face of such diverse threats as ISIS and climate change? In August we convened politicians, diplomats, historians, and artists to consider not only the “Lessons from the Past” but also “Visions for the Future” in a joint program with the International Peace Institute. You can read more about 1814, 1914, 2014: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future here.

200 Scholarships Awarded

Building visions for the future means working not only with today’s leaders but also with those who will succeed them. Alongside convening current leaders from government, business, academe, civil society, and the arts, we bring to every session exceptional innovators and rising leaders still at an early stage in their careers. In 2014, of the 1041 Salzburg Global Fellows and faculty who came to Schloss Leopoldskron, 200 received scholarships, covering their fees, accommodation and travel. You can read more about the Salzburg Global Scholarship Program and some of our remarkable young leaders’ reflections on their experiences here. In addition, Salzburg Global offers Academies for those still in university. Alumni of our Global Citizenship Program, Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, and Cutler Law Fellows Program are encouraged to apply to become resident interns and, later, Salzburg Global Fellows.

55 Bedrooms Renovated

Since 1947, we have had the good fortune to hold our programs at Schloss Leopoldskron, and we take our role as stewards of this historic jewel very seriously – preserving and renovating the palace, the accompanying Meierhof and surrounding park to conserve a rich heritage while equipping the facility to meet 21st century requirements. After restoring dozens of statues in the Schloss Park in 2012, and launching an ongoing art conservation project in 2013, 2014 started with the completion of our renovation of the Meierhof – all 55 bedrooms, hallways, reception area and café – preserving the 17th century building’s character while enhancing comfort and versatility. The year ended with Chanel choosing Schloss Leopoldskron for a star-studded fashion show. You can read more about our stewardship of the Schloss, the opening of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, and how we reconcile heritage with a profitable working facility here.

1,240,904 Dollars Donated

Of course, none of our work today or in the future would be possible without the support of the foundations, corporations, governments, and individuals who donate to and invest in Salzburg Global. In 2014, we raised $1,240,904 from 348 generous individuals who made gifts to Salzburg Global. These funds, together with revenue from Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, support from more than 60 non-governmental organizations, government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and higher education institutions, tuition fees, and returns from endowed funds, allow us to create cutting edge programs, provide scholarships to exceptional young leaders, and maintain our historic campus. We are truly grateful for all the support we receive – in gifts and in-kind – and extend our heartfelt thanks to each and every donor. You can see a list of all our individual, and institutional donors and partners here.

Stephen L. Salyer, President & CEO, Salzburg Global Seminar
Salyer with Rhodes Scholar and Salzburg Global Fellow Sebabatso Manoeli at session <i>1814, 1914, 2014: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future</i>