Ingrid Gazzari and Michael Landesmann receive Decoration of Honour in Silver awards from the City of Vienna

05 July 2024

Former Executive Director and co-founder of wiiw Ingrid Gazzari, and long-term wiiw Scientific Director Michael Landesmann have received prestigious awards from Vienna’s city government

image credit: Stadt Wien/Walter Schaub-Walzer

By Andreas Knapp

On 10 April 2024, Ingrid Gazzari and Michael Landesmann, two key figures of the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), were awarded one of the highest distinctions in the City of Vienna’s honours system: the Decoration of Honour in Silver.

Ingrid Gazzari, who served as Executive Director of wiiw from 1991 to 2006, significantly enhanced both the scientific and academic standing of the Institute, as well as its staff and budget. Without her efforts, wiiw would not have secured its reputation as the leading research institution for analysing the economies of post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe which later successfully integrated into the European Union. She was also a co-founder of the Institute.

Ingrid Gazzari (right) - © Stadt Wien/Walter Schaub-Walzer

A graduate of the University of Vienna, with advanced degrees in law and philosophy, Ingrid Gazzari has had a long and impressive career. At the age of just 24, she was employed by the University of Puerto Rico to teach economics, a role she held for two years. After further studies in political sciences, she joined the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)’s department of Eastern European trade, which was outsourced and became wiiw at the turn of 1972/1973.

‘Ingrid Gazzari has been at the forefront of economic analysis through some of the most significant mercantile events of the past several decades. From the depths of the Cold War, through the fall of communism and the “Gold Rush” that followed, to the eve of the 2008 financial crisis, she has been a constant and influential figure in the field,’ as Ferdinand Lacina, former Austrian Finance Minister and wiiw’s President from 1984 to 2015, pointed out in his laudation.

Ferdinand Lacina - © Stadt Wien/Walter Schaub-Walzer

The second award-winner, Michael Landesmann, also has a long-standing relationship with the Institute. Currently a Senior Research Associate at wiiw and Professor of Economics at the University of Linz, he served as wiiw’s Scientific Director from 1996 to 2016. In addition, he advised the economic policy group chaired by former EU Commission President Romano Prodi. During his tenure as wiiw’s Scientific Director, Mr Landesmann contributed to and co-ordinated numerous EU projects on various aspects of European integration.

Michael Landesmann (right) - © Stadt Wien/Walter Schaub-Walzer

‘As Scientific Director, Michael Landesmann pioneered the application of real-world economics well before the term gained widespread recognition. A global citizen comfortable in settings from Mumbai to Linz, he has elevated wiiw to the position of the third most prominent think-tank for international economics globally, following only Bruegel and the Brookings Institution, according to a ranking by the University of Pennsylvania. Through his extensive international networks, Michael Landesmann has not only enhanced the Institute's global visibility but also facilitated rigorous scientific research on critical contemporary issues,’ explained Mario Holzner, wiiw’s current Executive Director.

Mario Holzner - © Stadt Wien/Walter Schaub-Walzer

In his tribute to Ingrid Gazzari and Michael Landesmann, Mario Holzner emphasised both their personal integrity and their dedication to giving their best to wiiw. Meanwhile, Mr Lacina highlighted Gazzari's leadership in revitalising the Institute during a time of crisis in the early 1990s and Michael Landesmann's role in expanding its research scope, ultimately enhancing its global scientific reputation.

The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and its staff would like to extend their heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to their long-standing colleagues and friends, Ingrid Gazzari and Michael Landesmann. Both are remarkable individuals who have made invaluable contributions to wiiw, contributions that cannot be overstated. Many of us have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know them.