"The Future of Europe - the role of Culture" – Guest lecture by Irish President Michael D. Higgins


On 7 April 2022, the Centre for Irish Studies and our department had the great honour to host a guest lecture by the Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

In their welcoming addresses, Vice Rector Jean-Robert Tyran and Vice Dean Michael Zach and Director of the Centre for Irish Studies Dieter Fuchs all drew attention to the historic connection between Ireland and Vienna, dating back to the 12th century. Head of Department Sylvia Mieszkowski welcomed the His Excellency as a champion of human rights and inclusive citizenship and thanked him for letting the world see him perform his appreciation of universities as communities of ideas and scholarship. In his lecture, President Higgins, who is not only a former university lecturer but also a poet, stressed the importance of the soft power of culture in times of crisis. To him, the academic world, through international cooperation and exchange, greatly contributes to bringing Europe closer together. Because what we do at universities, President Higgins quoted Oscar Wilde, is to “play gracefully with ideas.”

The talk given by President Higgins as well as further pictures of the event can be found on the official website of the President of Ireland.

An author-signed copy of President Higgins's New and Selected Poems (2011) will soon grace our department's library.


(Report by Harald Freidl and Sylvia Mieszkowski)

President Higgins with Dieter Fuchs and Tamara Radak from the Centre for Irish Studies, (c) Harald Freidl

(c) Karin Lach