This new video series is about all the inspiring women I meet. I ask them about their careers, their lives, what keeps them going and how they define success. In this first episode, I am talking to Regina Rusz, the Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest. We are talking about the work of the Forum but also about Regina’s personal career path and what it is like to be a diplomat.
This video is not only special to me because it is the first of this series, but also because I got the chance to talk to my former boss. I knew a lot about what it was like working with Regina on a daily basis. But during this interview, I learned a lot of new things not only about the Austrian Foreign Service but also about Regina’s personal path.
What I find particularly interesting about Regina’s job is the variety of topics she dealt with throughout her career. Being a diplomat not only requires you to move abroad but to also dive into new topics at every posting – such as from human rights, to crime prevention, or culture.
Regina initially wanted to become a journalist but soon realized that her passion for foreign languages and going abroad was better suited on the diplomatic floors. After her degree in Communication Sciences, Politology and Theatre Sciences and a diploma of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, she started out as a desk officer in the Human Rights Department. The next postings included the embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, the Western Balkans Department in Vienna, the Austrian Cultural Forum in Belgrade, Serbia (where she was also the director), the embassy in Budapest, Hungary, the Department for International Crime Prevention in Vienna and the embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia. She speaks five (!) languages. Nevertheless, she would advise her 20-year-old-self the following:
“If I got the chance to meet my 20-year-old self, I would advise her to learn a lot of foreign languages, even more than I know today and to travel a lot, to be a student abroad, […] to be more international.”
As a woman on the diplomatic floors, Regina told me she never felt discriminated for the reason of being a woman. In the Austrian Foreign Service, there are a lot of leadership positions filled with women – it is definitely not the boys’ club we would assume. Furthermore, Regina thinks she was fortunate with her career and the opportunities coming with being a diplomat, because in her case, it allowed her to have a career and also a family life.
“Success for me means that I have an interesting job, that I can combine my job with my family life. And when I look at my life, I think I have managed to have this successful life.”
The Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest is part of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and acts as a platform for cultural exchange. The main goal is to promote Austrian artists in Hungary and at the same time linking Austria’s heritage to modern topics. Their events cover all fields of art – from visual arts, to literature, or dance.
I attended one of the Forum’s events in December 2017 (you can watch my video here) and I can only highly recommend to stop by if you are in Budapest. To keep up-to-date about their events, follow the Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest on:
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