Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies at the University of New Orleans is celebrating its 20th year as representatives from other Austrian centers from around the world convene in New Orleans for an annual meeting sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Economics.
In addition to the annual meeting activities taking place from Oct. 9-11 at the J.W. Marriott at 614 Canal St., there will be a 20th anniversary celebration of UNO’s Center Austria on Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 6-9 p.m. at Napoleon House, located at 500 Chartres St. in the French Quarter. On Friday, Oct. 12, Günter Bischof and Hans Petschar, authors of “The Marshall Plan in Austria Since 1947: Rebuilding Austria, Saving Europe,” will make a presentation at the National WWII Museum’s Louisiana Pavilion at 5 p.m. Bischof is the director of Center Austria at UNO.
“Both the University of New Orleans and the University of Innsbruck have served as trailblazers in the internationalization of their institutions, as well as international student mobility programs in their countries,” Bischof said. “We thank all our partners for their ongoing support and hope to continue this multitude of programs for another 20 years.”
Center Austria grew from steady interest and participation in exchanges between UNO and the University of Innsbruck. In 1976, then-UNO history professor Gordon “Nick” Mueller, founding president of the National WWII Museum, opened the UNO International Summer School in Innsbruck. In 1979, the UNO history department offered a graduate fellowship to Günter Bischof, the first Innsbruck degree seeking student at UNO. By 1982, the two universities were conducting joint symposia and exchange programs. An official partnership treaty was signed in 1983 and still governs their relationship. Today, approximately 60 students from University of Innsbruck study at UNO each year.
Center Austria opened in the fall of 1997 as the Center for Austrian Culture and Commerce. The Center managed the collaborations with Innsbruck and promoted the study of Austria and Europe throughout the Gulf South. Programming grew to include faculty exchanges, an art exchange program with the City of Innsbruck and scholarly collaborations and publications. The name was changed to Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies to reflect the contributions of its principal sponsor, the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation in Vienna. Other valued partners include the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Graz Boltzmann Institute for the Study of the Consequences of War and the Botstiber Foundation of Media, Penn. Center Austria is one of nine centers of Austrian studies supported by the Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Economics.