Dietrich W. Botstiber lived through the difficult social and economic conditions in Austria from the 1918 breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire to the 1938 Anschluss. He left Austria for the United States in 1938. After finding success as an engineer and entrepreneur, Botstiber created the Botstiber Foundation in 1995. In 2008, the foundation formed the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies (BIAAS).
BIAAS works to “promote an understanding of the historic relationship between the United States and Austria,” including lands of the former Habsburg empire. The Institute accomplishes this goal by awarding grants and fellowships, organizing lectures and conferences, and publishing the Journal of Austrian-American History. BIAAS also engages with a broader public audience through digital programming, including short videos, podcasts, and blog posts.