“My commitment to development cooperation started in the mid-90s as a personal and logical consequence of several years of travelling and working in countries in Asia and Africa“, Max Santner wrote not too long ago.
As a Red Cross Delegate Max Santner led reconstruction programmes for the organisation Kurier Aid Austria after the tsunami in Sri Lanka. From 2007 to 2015, he headed the department for International Cooperation at the Austrian Red Cross. After that, he returned to “the field“, as those involved in humanitarian aid would call it.
Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, he spearheaded the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ delegation in Kathmandu. Few Austrians know Nepal as thoroughly as Max Santner did: The Upper Austrian had already worked in the country’s mountains in the 90s, organising trekking tours and working in the fields of poverty reduction and sustainable tourism. Before that, he taught geography and sports to schoolchildren in Linz.
His final career stop led him to the South Caucasus, where he led the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies‘ office in Tbilisi.
Max Santner pursued his above-cited goal of advocacy for global justice with exactly the right mixture of idealism and pragmatism. Down to earth and upfront where things needed direct tackling, provocative when it came to stimulating discussions on development cooperation and humanitarian aid and last but not least patient, sensitive and serene in all aspects of intercultural communication.
The passionate mountaineer and cyclist died last Saturday whilst on a short vacation in Upper Austria, leaving behind his wife and two adult daughters. He would have turned 64 on August 20.
Max will be missed terribly as a colleague, dialogue partner, advisor and friend.
Below this post, you can express your condolences in remembrance of Max Santner.