Office at the Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck, Austria, 2004

Hans Köchler
President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.)



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Hans Köchler was born on October 18, 1948 in Schwaz, Tyrol, in Austria. He graduated at the University of Innsbruck with a Ph.D. in Philosophy with highest honours ("sub auspiciis preasidentis rei publicae"). In 1982 he was appointed as University Professor of Philosophy (with special emphasis on Political Philosophy and Philosophical Anthropology). He further holds an honorary doctor degree (Doctor of Humanities honoris causa) from the Mindanao State University (Philippines). From 1990 until 2008 he served as Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). At his University, Professor Köchler also has acted as Chairperson of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Wissenschaft und Politik (Working Group for Sciences and Politics) since 1971. In 2004 he was appointed as Visiting Professorial Lecturer at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila. In 2006 he was elected as Life Fellow of the International Academy for Philosophy.

Professor Köchler is the Founder and President (since 1972) of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in consultative status with the United Nations and with a membership in over 70 countries on all continents. He was the founder and Secretary-General (1973-1977) of Euregio Alpina (Study Group for the Alpine Region), a transnational planning structure for the Alpine region and predecessor of the new concept of the "Euro Regions" in the framework of the European Union. Since 1988 Professor Köchler has served as Coordinator of the International Committee for Palestinian Human Rights (ICPHR). He was co-founder of the European Ombudsman Institute in 1988. From 1991 to 2004 he served as Vice-Chairman of the Jamahir Society for Culture and Philosophy and Chairman of the Society's Editorial Board. Since 1997 he has acted as Convenor (Austria) and Member of the Advisory Council of the International Movement for a Just World (Malaysia). From 1997 to 2000 he was as member of the International Advisory Panel of the Center for Civilizational Dialogue at the University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur). From 1994 to 1996 Professor Köchler participated in the Research Network on Transnational Democracy sponsored by the European Union. From 1998 to 2000 he served as member of the Council of Europe's Expert Group on Democratic Citizenship. From 1999 to 2002 he acted as member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Balanced Development (CBD) (USA). From 2000 until 2006 he was as member of the Doctoral Grants Committee of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2007 he was appointed as member of the International Advisory Board of the "Youth for the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative" of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum (ICYF). He also serves as Board Member of the NGO Committee on Development (United Nations Office at Vienna).

Professor Köchler’s publication list contains over 500 books, reports and scholarly articles in several languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Persian, Spanish, Serbo-Croat, Turkish). During the 1970s, he co-operated with Cardinal Karol Wojtyła of Krakow, now Pope John Paul II, within the framework of the International Society for Phenomenology. He published the first comment articles on the future Pope’s anthropological conception.

Professor Köchler acts as editor of the Studies in International Relations (Vienna). He is also member of the Editorial Board of the international academic journal Hekmat va Falsafeh (Wisdom and Philosophy), published by the Philosophy Department of Allameh Tabatabaii University, Iran. His publications deal with issues of phenomenology, existential philosophy, anthropology, human rights, philosophy of law, theory of international law, international criminal law, United Nations reform, theory of democracy, etc. Among his major works are "Skepsis und Gesellschaftskritik im Denken Martin Heideggers" (Skepticism and Social Critique in the Thought of Martin Heidegger), 1978; "Phenomenological Realism", 1986; "Philosophie – Recht – Politik" (Philosophy - Law – Politics), 1985; "The Voting Procedure in the United Nations Security Council", 1991; "Democracy and the International Rule of Law", 1995; "Humanitarian Intervention in the Context of Modern Power Politics," 2001; "Global Justice or Global Revenge? International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads," 2003. Professor Köchler is the editor of volumes such as "The Crisis of Representative Democracy" (1987); "Terrorism and National Liberation" (1988); "The United Nations and

International Democracy" (1995); "Transplantationsmedizin und personale Identität" (2001); "The Iraq Crisis and the United Nations" (2004). He is the organizer of major international conferences in the fields of democracy, human rights, terrorism, and conflict resolution, among them the "International Conference on the Question of Terrorism" in Geneva (1987) and the "Second International Conference On A More Democratic United Nations" (CAMDUN-2) at the Vienna headquarters of the United Nations (1991). In 1996 he acted as Chairman of the final session and co-ordinator of the Drafting Committee of the "International Conference on Democracy and Terrorism" in New Delhi. In March 2002 he delivered the Fourteenth Centenary Lecture at the Supreme Court of the Philippines on "The United Nations, the International Rule of Law and Terrorism."

Through his research and international activities, Professor Köchler made major contributions to the debate on international democracy and United Nations reform, in particular reform of the Security Council. This was acknowledged by international figures such as the German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel. In 1985, Professor Köchler organized the first major colloquium on "Democracy in International Relations" on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the United Nations in New York. With Irish Nobel Laureate Seán MacBride he initiated the Appeal by Lawyers against Nuclear War, which led to the issuing of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice. As President of the I.P.O. he dealt with the humanitarian issues of the exchange of prisoners of war between Iran and Iraq and with the issue of Kuwaiti POWs and missing people in Iraq. Since 1972, UN Secretaries-General in their statements subsequently acknowledged Professor Köchler’s contribution to international peace. In April 2000, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Professor Köchler as international observer at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands (Lockerbie Trial). In the framework of his international activities, he co-operated with numerous international figures such as the Founder President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, on the issue of civilizational dialogue; Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan on Islamic-Christian understanding; and the Indian President Gyani Zail Singh on issues of international peace.

Professor Köchler is the recipient of numerous awards such as the History Medal of the Austrian College Society; the award "Apostle of International Understanding" (Unity International Foundation, India); the Honorary Medal of the International Peace Bureau (Geneva); the Honorary Medal of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (2004); the Royal Datoship of the Sultanate of Marawi (Muslim Mindanao). On 18 October 2003 the Hans Koechler Political and Philosophical Society was established in the Philippines.