To broaden the knowledge about prejudices and their prevention, the Sir Peter Ustinov Institute is predominantly active in three different ways: it appoints a visiting professor each year, it organizes an annual academic conference, and it promotes the publication of research in the field.

Ustinov Visiting Professors

In 2004, the Sir Peter Ustinov Institute in collaboration with the University of Vienna has established the position of the “Sir Peter Ustinov Professor of the City of Vienna”, a visiting professor being appointed on an annual basis.

The idea is to secure top calibre academics from all parts of the world for lectures designed to add to the knowledge about how prejudices function and to spread such knowledge more widely. The lectures are open to the public and linked with a seminar for students. The Ustinov Institute’s Academic Advisory Council deliberates as to the selection of the professor.

The 2014 Ustinov Professor is the historian Prof. Dr. Philipp Gassert who is giving lectures and a seminar this summer term at the University of Vienna.

Previous Ustinov Professors:

  • Prof. Ágnes Heller (New School of Social Research)
  • Prof. Dr. Götz Aly
  • Prof. Dr. Shalini Randeria (University of Zurich)
  • Andrei S. Markovits (University of Michigan)
  • Dr. András Kovács (Central European University, Budapest)
  • Dr. Verena Kast (Universität Zürich)
  • Dr. Wolfgang Benz (Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, TU Berlin)
  • Dr. Peter Loewenberg (UCLA)
  • Dr. Aleida Assmann (Universität Konstanz)
  • DDr. Horst-Eberhard Richter (Universität Gießen)

Annual Conferences

Every year, the Institute organises an international conference, which is open to the public. The idea is to critically evaluate current developments of political or socio-political importance in which prejudices and hostile perceptions act as driving forces.

This year’s conference will focus on “Europa – Hoffnung und Feindbild” (Europe – Our Hope and Enemy). It will be held at the University of Vienna on September 8 and 9, 2014.

Previous Conferences:

  • Ressentiment und Konflikt – Vorurteile und Feindbilder im Wandel
    (Resentment and conflict – Prejudices and stereotypes in transition)

    May 13 and 14, 2013, Wappensaal Wiener Rathaus
  • Populismus

    May 10 and 11, 2012, Austrian Parliament, Palais Epstein
  • Fundamentalismus

    May 30 and 31, 2011, Wappensaal des Wiener Rathauses
  • Rassismus – eine soziale und politische Konstruktion
    (Racism – A social and political construction)
    May 10 und 11, 2010
  • Zuwanderer als Feindbild
    (Immigrants as perceived threat)

    May 18 and 19, 2009, Theatersaal der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Feindbilder in Europa – was kann dagegen getan werden?
    (Threat perceptions in Europe – how to counteract them?)

    Austrian Parliament, Palais Epstein, 2 and 3 April 2008
  • Der Westen und die Vorurteile in der Kindheit: Wie entstehen sie? Wie kann man gegensteuern?
    (Prejudices in childhood: What is their origin? How can they be counteracted?)

    Jugendstiltheater des Otto Wagner Spitals Wien, 8 March 2007
  • Islamische Welt: Fakten und Vorurteile
    (The West and the Islamic world: facts and prejudices)

    Kreisky Forum Wien, 4 and 5 May 2006
  • “Zuwanderer als Feindbild”
    (Immigrants as perceived threats)

    Diplomatische Akademie Wien, 29 May 2005
  • “Europa – USA: Values and Prejudices” 
    Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 18 and 19 May 2009


Apart from publishing the conference proceedings from the annual conferences, the Ustinov Institute promotes the publication of academic literature dealing with prejudices and their prevention. It also supports the development of teaching materials for schools offering practical advice to teach children ways to resist discriminatory behaviour.

Since 2011, the Institute also runs a forum on its Website, the so-called Dialogforum (dialogue forum) offering comments by experts on a broad range of current topics relating to prejudices and inviting a discussion of these.