Concept & programme 2017

Since 2005, the “Geist & Gegenwart” Whitsun Dialogues have been taking place biennially at Seggau Castle. We reflect on challenges and problems concerning Europe and contribute to an enduring dialogue about the future with explanations and publications.

Through the six events to date, we have succeeded in establishing the Whitsun Dialogue as an institutionalised platform for fundamental debate that is fruitful, interdisciplinary and international, all set in the Styrian border region at the intersection of four cultural spheres in this EU future region.

General theme 2017:


Seventy years ago, US Secretary of State George C. Marshall initiated a plan for the economic reconstruction of Europe’s destroyed countries. Since then, the political and economic relations between the US and Europe have become closer than ever. Based on this backdrop, the 7th Whitsun Dialogue “Geist & Gegenwart” is dedicated to the theme of “Europe.USA.3.0”.

What is the relationship between the USA and the EU and its individual member states? What perspectives and interests are there with regard to the arenas of world politics – from the Middle East to the Ukraine/Russia to the Pacific rim? Where do Europe and the US stand with regard to their economies and innovative power? What is the role of the market power of companies such as Google and Facebook and what might Europe expect from the new US-Administration?

These and more burning questions regarding common values as well as differing interpretations and interests will be discussed by renowned personalities from the worlds of science and business at the Whitsun Dialogue in Seggau.


Seggau Castle

Seggau Castle, surrounded by its own meadows and woodland, it is a visible reminder of the regions long standing heritage. Resting on top of the Frauenberg the castle looks upon Leibnitz and the flood plains of the rivers Sulm and Mur. Our generous grounds include a 300 years old Episcopal wine-cellar and a boutique wine shop which sells the castles very own wines. Today the castle remains loyal to its commitment towards education and understanding serving as a convention centre open to the general public. Its refurbishment fuses modern design and architecture with a mediaeval setting allowing the castle to strive towards the future without losing its heritage.

Further information about Seggau Castle will be available on


TUE 30.05.17

10:00 till 18:00

Seminars for
scholarship holders

Transatlantic Seminar for Scholarship Holders
Christoph Bezemek, Wolfgang F. Danspeckgruber, Roberta Maierhofer, Manuel P. Neubauer, Klaus Poier, Barbara Ratzenböck, Hedwig Unger

WED 31.05.17

10:00 till 17:00

Seminars for
scholarship holders

Transatlantic Seminar for Scholarship Holders
Franz-Stefan Gady, Daniel S. Hamilton, Arnold H. Kammel, Manuel P. Neubauer, Marc R. Pacheco, Klaus Poier, Edward Rhodes, Jan Erik Surotchak


Welcome address and introduction to the general theme – Herwig Hösele
Statements u.a. Christopher Drexler, Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Wilhelm Krautwaschl, Hermann Miklas, Michael Schickhofer, Eugene Young
Opening – Hermann Schützenhöfer


Keynote speech

Daniel S. Hamilton


Reception by the federal state of Styria

THU 01.06.17


Politics Forum

USA-Europe: Conflict and/or Cooperation
Wolfgang F. Danspeckgruber, Christopher Drexler, Alfred Gusenbauer, Marc R. Pacheco, Edward Rhodes, Hannelore Veit
Presentation: Rainer Nowak


Marshall Plan Forum

A Success Story and its Perspectives
Daniel S. Hamilton, Michaela Hoenicke-Moore, Stephen A. Hubler, Wolfgang Petritsch
Presentation: Stefan Winkler

14:30 till 16:30

Insieme 1

Politics and Law: Rule of Law
Christoph Bezemek, Daniel S. Hamilton, Matthew Karnitschnig
Presentation: Otmar Lahodynsky

Insieme 2

International Politics & Security: Cooperation or Conflict?
Franz-Stefan Gady, Michaela Hoenicke-Moore, Robert Holzmann, Arnold H. Kammel, Christoph Robinson
Presentation: Manuel P. Neubauer

Insieme 3

Politics: Federalism and Government (E)
Christopher Drexler, Marc R. Pacheco, Edward Rhodes
Presentation: Michael Jungwirth

Insieme 4

Social Society
Fritz Fekete, Bernhard Kettemann, Manfred Prisching, Barbara Ratzenböck
Presentation: Rudolf Mitlöhner

Insieme 5

Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Michael Friedl, Michael G. Plummer, Alexander Tessmar-Pfohl, Helen Todd
Presentation: Ernst Sittinger

Insieme 6

Digitalization: Media & Society
Josef Mantl, Jeff McLaughlin, Elisabeth Hödl, Hannelore Veit
Presentation: Klaus Höfler

Insieme 7

Culture & Identity
Rod MacDonald, Roberta Maierhofer, Kurt Scholz, Jan Erik Surotchak, Lojze Wieser
Presentation: Norbert Mayer

Insieme 8

John L. Allen Jr., Christian Lagger, Hermann Miklas, Leopold Neuhold, Peter Rosegger
Presentation: Astrid Polz-Watzenig


Economics Forum

Global Economy, Quo Vadis?
Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Fritz Fekete, Michael Friedl, Robert Holzmann, Michael G. Plummer, Helen Todd
Presentation: Ernst Sittinger


Literary-culinary evening hosted by the Mayor of the City of Graz Siegfried Nagl
Accompaniment: Lojze Wieser


Concert in the wine cellar
Introduction: Kathryn List, Artist: Rod MacDonal

FRI 02.06.17


Keynote speech

Perspectives of Religion, particularly Catholicism, in Europe and the USA
John L. Allen Jr.


General Forum

Innovation and Leadership for the Future
Christopher Drexler, Matthew Karnitschnig, Eva Nowotny, Martin Rauchbauer, Klement Tockner
Presentation: Esther Mitterstieler


Conclusions and closing words