Alexander Langer (1946–1995) was a journalist, translator, teacher and politician. Born on February 22 1946 in Sterzing-Vipiteno, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, a region of Italy inhabited by a large German-speaking population, he became involved early on in local political issues, which at the time centered on the interethnic relations in the region, which after two world wars and decades of tensions and terrorism were very tense.

In the early 1970s he was active in Lotta Continua, a left-wing political organization in Italy. Later, he joined the Green Party in Bolzano and became member of the regional council for Trentino-South Tyrol in 1978. Ever resistant to imposed ethnic boundaries, he refused twice to declare his ethnic group during the 1981 and 1991 census in Bolzano. (This is a mandatory choice in that region, to protect the ethnic status quo.) This choice made him ineligible to running for local elections.

During the 1980s he rose in the ranks of the Green Party, first at the national level, and then in Europe, eventually becoming Member of the European Parliament and president of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament in 1989.

He later became deeply involved in peace initiatives in Europe and the Middle East, and in fostering the dialog between the alternative Left parties, the Radicals, left-wing Christians and other pro-peace, environmentalist and fringe political groups at the European level. He served as representative of the European Parliament in Israel, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, Malta, and was particularly involved campaigning for peace in former Yugoslavia, during the ethnic wars of the 1990s.

Alexander Langer committed suicide in Florence on July 3 1995.

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