Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament
KEYNOTE SPEAKER OF THE ELLA TALKS ON DECEMBER 29TH IN PALMA DE MALLORCA
On Thursday, December 29, the second edition of ELLA Talks will take place, from 10 am to 6 pm in the Sala Mediterráneo of the Hotel Horizonte (C / Vista Alegre, 1). ELLA Talks is a day of inspirational talk about successful and openly lesbian women, who work in politics, business, tourism and culture.
In this second edition of ELLA Talks, framed within ELLA Winter’s programming, the Winter edition of the ELLA International Lesbian Festival, we will be honoured to welcome our special guest Ulrike Lunacek.
ABOUT ULRIKE LUNACEK
Ulrike Lunacek is Vice President of the European Parliament, and has been an Austrian Member of the EP with the Greens/EFA Group since 2009.
As EP-Vice President she is in charge of the Sakharov-Prize-Network, uniting the laureates who have received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought since 1988. And she works on improving environmental standards in the EP via the EMAS system.
In her parliamentary work in foreign affairs she focusses on the Western Balkans, where she is EP-Rapporteur for Kosovo, but also follows European Neighbourhood and Latin American issues.
In the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs her focus lies on LGBTI and migration/refugee issues as well as on how to deal with member states who violate European values. As Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup of the EP she is in charge of promoting lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex rights, visibility and acceptance inside of the EU as well as outside.
FROM AUSTRIA TO EUROPE
Lunacek was born in Krems, Lower Austria, on May 26th, 1957. She went to high school in Vienna and spent one year as an exchange student in the US with AFS. She studied English-Spanish-German for the interpreter’s degree at the University of Innsbruck, where she graduated with Maga Phil. (M.A.) in 1983. Parallel to her studies she co-founded the first shelter for battered women and their children in Innsbruck. Back in Vienna from 1983 onwards she worked as journalist, editor, interpreter and activist in development education, feminist and LGBT NGOs until 1995; in the 1980s she also taught German to female refugees from Latin American dictatorships. In 1995 she ran for a seat in the Austrian parliament for the first time and became the first openly lesbian Austrian politician, claiming that ‚it is normal to be different’. From 1996 to 1998 she was Secretary General of the Austrian Green Party and from 1999 to 2009 MP and the Austrian Greens‘ Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Development Issues as well as Equality for Lesbians, Gays, Transgender Persons in the Austrian Parliament. From 2006 to 2009 she was also Co-Spokesperson of the European Green Party (EGP).
Her specific work on foreign affairs, with a conflict prevention and rights-based focus on human rights, women’s rights, rights of ethnic and sexual minorities, has been at the core of her political work even before she entered party politics, including the struggle for fair trade and socially and ecologically sustainable trade relations. Her visibility as one of the few openly lesbian politicians in Europe, as Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, has given Lunacek and the Greens strong visibility and clout in the struggle for equality inside and outside the European Union, at Prides and other LGBTI events.
Privately she has been in a long-term, often long distance relationship with Rebeca Sevilla, originally from Peru, now based in Brussels at Education International.