LISD Co-Sponsors Conference on "Connectivity" in Linz

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University co-sponsored a two-day academic conference on the topic of “connectivity” with the OSCE 2017 Austrian Chairmanship in Linz, Austria, Monday, Tuesday, 15-16 May, 2017. The conference, entitled, “Towards the Vision of a Common Economic Space from Vancouver to Vladivostok: Connectivity, Trade and Co-operation” brought together representatives of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW), the Federal Province of Upper Austria, the City of Linz, the Upper Austria Economic Chamber, WKOOe, the foreign ministries of Germany, Italy, Serbia and Switzerland. The conference was opened by Thomas Stelzer, Governor of the State of Upper Austria, and Michael Linhart, Austrian Permanent Undersecretary – it was brought to Linz by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, founding director of LISD.

The conference addressed overcoming economic barriers in the OSCE area; enhancing economic ties between Europe and Asia; and the role of new technologies in overcoming barriers to economic growth. Envisioning a new approach to trade and infrastructure would require a closer look at innovation systems and emerging technologies. This approach helped identify new geographic and political links between regions and the gaps in market potential impeding cooperation. Participants engaged in both plenary and working sessions focused on four key themes: Connectivity, Trade and Economic Cooperation; Connectivity and Co-operation in Conflict Contexts; Transport, Trade Facilitation and Infrastructure; and Digitalization and Innovation.

Wolfgang Danspeckgruber chaired the closing panel, Tuesday, afternoon, which also served as the kick-off panel of the first OSCE Ambassadorial Retreat in the Economic and Environmental Dimension. Panelists included President José Manuel Durão Barroso, former President of the European Commission and co-chair of LISD's Europe and the World Program; Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, Vice-President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ); Eka Tkeshelashvili, President of the Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies and former Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia; Shigeo Katsu, President, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan; Sergey Utkin, Head of Strategic Assessments Section of RAS Center for Situational Analysis, Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Moscow; Lanxin Xiang, Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute of Development and International Studies, Geneva; and Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE.

To mark the conclusion of the two-day conference, a dinner reception on May 16, 2017 was hosted by the Governor of Upper Austria. After dinner, OSCE Ambassadors and participants joined a private and memorable ride on the historic Pöstlingberg mountain tramway to the top of the Pöstlingberg mountain where they visited a family-owned pastry shop, home of the “Linzer Torte,” supposedly the world’s oldest cake.