In Memoriam Erhard Busek

25.3.1941 - 13.3.2022

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Erhard Busek. He was a towering figure and extraordinary human being. Erhard Busek’s stature as a politician, philanthropist, engaged intellectual was recognized throughout: in Vienna, Austria, Central and South Eastern Europe, in Europe at large. He was a committed and passionate European conscious of the goods and evils of history. He tirelessly worked to help individuals and countries find their place in the world. He was at the same time selfless in pursuit of a better humanity and an understanding friend.

In his many significant positions as Vice Chancellor of Austria, Minister of science and research, Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs, and then internationally as Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (2022 – 2008) he advanced the cause of a stronger more united Europe.

This indefatigable work he continued until the very last day as Chairman of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM). His chairmanship of the Advisory Board of the ERSTE Foundation from 2005 until 2016 led among other to the foundation’s strong commitment to Europe´s future, and the creation of the European Fund for the Balkans.

In Cold War times, Erhard Busek was one of only a few politicians who had excellent contacts to the suppressed opposition in East Central Europe whose agenda he tried to support. This made him a truly close and committed friend of our Institute for Human Sciences from the very beginning. He had an important role in its founding, he supported our work and helped the endeavours of the IWM for all these years. He was a member of the Board of Patrons of the Institute and was many times a speaker at our events.

IWM will, as many among us, sorely miss the irreplaceable Erhard Busek - his wisdom, bottomless energy, sharp wit and passion, but above all his warmth and friendship.

Ivan Vejvoda, Acting Rector