18.04.2012 | PR06/2012
Vienna, Austria, April 18, 2012
(from left to right) OFID Director-General Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish;
Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer; and Mr. El Boueshi M. Ellafi, OFID’s Governor for Libya .
In a visit yesterday to the Vienna headquarters of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer spoke warmly of the close ties between the institution and its host country Austria.
Dr Fischer conveyed Austria’s pride in hosting OFID for the past 36 years. “Since OFID settled here in 1976, we have enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship. We are especially grateful for OFID’s contribution to the wellbeing of Austrian society through its support to various charitable projects,” said President Fischer to a gathering of OFID staff led by Director-General, Suleiman J. Al-Herbish.
Welcoming Dr. Fischer, Mr. Al-Herbish expressed OFID’s gratitude for the generous hospitality extended to it over so many years by the Republic of Austria. “We feel privileged to live and work in this wonderful city, which serves as an ideal base for our global development activities,” he said. OFID had conveyed its appreciation earlier this year with the publication and presentation of a book “Theophil Hansen’s Palace for Archduke Wilhelm,” about its headquarters’ building, an Austrian national monument. Around one-half of OFID’s 160 staff are Austrian nationals.
Mr. Al-Herbish went on to speak of OFID’s special ties to Austria and its support to local social initiatives, such as SOS Kinderdorf and the Superar Children’s Choir. He described also OFID’s support to Austrian NGOs. Since 2000, OFID has provided over US$4 million to sponsor the work of organizations such as Hilfswerk Austria, Care Austria and Doctors for Disabled, among others. Such activities have supplemented OFID’s core business, which has seen the institution channel close to US$14 billion in development aid to 132 partner countries worldwide since its establishment in 1976, Mr. Al-Herbish explained. Read Director-General's speech in full.
Over the years, OFID has developed strong links with the Austrian Government, from former Presidents Rudolf Kirschläger and Thomas Klestil to a large number of other senior politicians. “Collaboration with the Austrian authorities helps us to identify suitable projects in our host country, as well as joint initiatives with Austrian organizations that will benefit the neediest in other parts of the world,” concluded Mr. Al-Herbish.