Forum Alpbach Network
The Forum Alpbach Network (FAN), until 2013 known as European Forum Alpbach Associates Network (EFA-AN) is the umbrella organisation of all Clubs and Initiativegroups of the European Forum Alpbach (EFA), whose tasks are to select, finance and support scholarship holders to participate at the EFA. The Board of the Forum Alpbach Network is also represented in the various boards and bodies of the EFA.
Clubs of students and scholarshipholders participating in the European Forum Alpbach have existed since its founding in 1945 by Otto Molden. The scientific exchange between professors and students has been a founding principle of the back then “Alpbacher Hochschulwochen” or Alpbach Academic Weeks. The first Club was founded in 1977 in Styria. Over the decades, the club members grew older, the number of participating students sank and the activity level and involvement of the clubs themselves in the organization was inexistent. In 1997 Matthias Strolz founded the Initiativegroup Alpbach Innsbruck to newly activate and revive the students’ participation within the Alpbach Forum. In the following years the Clubs in Brussels, Vienna, Lower Austria and Skopje were founded and supported. The President of the European Forum Alpbach Erhard Busek supported the Network of Clubs and Initiativegroups intensely and made it a focus and grounding of the Forum.
Expansion in Austria and the Balkans
In the following years, many new clubs and intiativegroups were founded and the network grew further in Austria and especially in the Balkans. Under Matthias Strolz, Michael Traindt and Bernhard Marckhgott, the so called European Forum Alpbach Associates Network (EFA-AN) grew beyond 20 member clubs.
Set up of structures
Verena Ehold was the first speaker of the EFA-AN to get an official assistant speaker with Jürgen Busch. Additionally the unregulated collaboration was clarified by giving the EFA-AN a seat in the Steering Committee of the EFA and as such in the core body of the organization. Internally many important necessary elements were set up, like legal documents for the collaboration and the voting process on the official representation of the EFA-AN towards the EFA. Veronika Hopfgartner was the first elected speaker of the EFA-AN with a team of 3 Assistant Speakers: Bernhard Bonelli, Nermin Caluk and Filip Radunovic. The later was in special position and also appointed from the President of the EFA holding the position of EFA Youth Appointee. It was also the first time that the network got a seat in the Scientific Council of the EFA.
Rebranding, new structures and FAN Board
In the elections of 2012 David Rudari became EFA-AN speaker with 3 Adana Celic, Hanna Wilhelmer and Johannes Purtscher as assistant speakers. Due to an important job promotion and incongruity with the necessities of the position in the lead of the network, David Rudari transferred the speaker position to Johannes Purtscher during the year. The first official board of the network should only be officially called to duty in the General Assembly of the network in Alpbach in 2013 with Johannes Purtscher as chairman and Hanna Wilhelmer, Katharina Posch and Milana Sredojevic as Board members. During this transition period, first major changes and successes for the network were achieved. As such the network was entitled to a seat in every of the Advisory Boards for the different symposia of the European Forum Alpbach.
After the election of 2013 and with the new board in place, we the unpronounceable EFA-AN was rebranded to the Forum Alpbach Network (FAN), which was as brand the important basis for the development and the identification of the organization. It was also the basis allowing to shift from the Speaker and Assistants to a real Board. In the same year, it was negotiated to have 2 FAN representatives in all boards of the European Forum Alpbach. I.e.: EFA Board (formerly EFA Steering Committee), all of the Advisory Boards for the 7 different Symposia and the EFA Scientific Council.
The next elections took place in 2015. The new board consisted of Nihada Prnjavorac, Florian Altendorfer and Sophie Kandlbauer, who had already been part of the so-called PR Team for a whole year ahead. Johanna Grames and Jutta Grabenhofer also joined the first FAN board of 6 members chaired by Johannes Purtscher. In this one year period, the FAN moved from a still evolving structure to a real organization. A solution to the complex situation of ensuring sustainable expansion of the network and how to deal with regions outside of Europe was found and the Ambassadors Program was launched. The entry hurdles are much lower and still it is no competition to the existing clubs. The complicated communication within a honorary network was largely improved. After several failed interventions for an independent section on the EFA Website, the FAN Board created an own website to keep members and people informed. At the same time, a real newsletter model on a regular basis was started in written and audiovisual form and a WhatsApp Groups were formed to increase the direct urgent communication. The possibility of a circular resolution was adopted in order to be more flexible and able to vote also during the year and not only at the general assembly in Alpbach. The FAN members to the Scientific Advisory Board were doubled from two to four, giving the network another important influence in the setup of the seminar week.
In the election of 2016 a new board consisting of Benjamin Monsorno, Raphael Wurm, Olha Latikaynen, Florian Altendorfer and Lisa Sonnberger as chairwoman was elected, joined by Jose Magnaye and left by Olha Latikaynen in 2017.
Bodies of the Forum Alpbach Network (FAN)
The clubs elect a board which coordinates common activities, sets up priorities for the network and represents FAN within the Forum’s bodies and the broader public.
Currently in charge:
- Lisa Sonnberger (chairwoman)
- Florian Altendorfer
- Jose Magnaye
- Benjamin Monsorno
- Raphael Wurm
FAN Standing Comittee
The Standing Committee is the Forum Alpbach Network’s main organizing body during the European Forum Alpbach. Each year, another Club/IG takes over this task. Volunteers from this Club/IG work the whole year to coordinate the FAN programme at the European Forum Alpbach, which consists of more than 100 events including panel discussions, fire side talks, hikes, sport events, pub quiz and many more. The Standing Committee also brings in its own ideas to enrich the programme even further.
- 2012: Club Alpbach Styria
- 2013: Club Alpbach Senza Confini
- 2014: Club Alpbach Burgenland
- 2015: Club Alpbach Belgrade & Club Alpbach Burgenland
- 2016: Club Alpbach Lower Austria
- 2017: Initiativgroup Vienna
- 2018: Club Alpbach Salzburg
FAN Advisory Boards
The Forum Alpbach Network also nominates young experts who bring in their expertise in the work of Advisory Committees of the Forum Alpbach Network. The Advisory Committees are responsible for programming the annual European Forum Alpbach. The committees consist of scientists and practitioners as well as representatives of the European Forum Alpbach.
- Alma Zadic (Legal Symposium)
- Amin El-Heliebi (Health Symposium)
- Almina Besic (Policy Symposium)
- Wolfgang Eichert (Economic Symposium)
- Christoph Schmidinger (Financial Market)
- Johannes Paar (Built Environment)
- Martin Kubas (Tyrol Day; Club Alpbach Tyrol)
- Andreas Eisendle (Tyrol Day; Club Alpbach Südtirol Alto Adige)
FAN Ambassadors are actively spreading the word about European Forum Alpbach in countries without Club or Initiativegroup, targeting those who would benefit from such an event and who would bring value to the EFA pool of ideas.Currently (2017) there are 28 FAN Ambassadors active in 19 countries.
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