International Center 118
University of New Orleans
2000 Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148
The Mission of Center Austria is to oversee international student and faculty mobility between the University of New Orleans (UNO) and the University of Innsbruck and other Austrian universities. Center Austria promotes to communication and extension of Austrian and Central European culture through scholarly and artistic activities and academic partnerships. UNO has enjoyed more than 40 years of cooperation with the University of Innsbruck and a Sister-City-Agreement between the cities of Innsbruck and New Orleans, as well as a partnership agreement with the University of Graz. The center operates as a research and discourse hub for Austrian and European Studies and serves New Orleans and the Gulf South region. Our main audience is the UNO university community and the German community of New Orleans.
Center Austria opened its doors in the Metropolitan College of UNO in the fall of 1997. Gordon “Nick” Mueller was its founding director, succeeded by Guenter Bischof. Bischof and Gertraud Griessner, the project coordinator, have been with the Center since the beginning. Originally UNO‘s Academic Year Abroad program in Innsbruck started in Center Austria.
Center Austria came into being because UNO and the University of Innsbruck have sponsored student and faculty exchanges, annual symposia, and the publication Contemporary Austrian Studies (CAS). In 1976, the UNO International Summer School first opened in Innsbruck; in 1983, a partnership treaty was signed between the Universities of New Orleans and Innsbruck.
The founding of Center Austria helped the growth of activities between the two universities. “International student mobility” was not a catchword on the UI side in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Austria began participating in EU student mobility programs.
Center Austria instituted regular “business meetings” to watch over the UNO-UI partnership agenda. Historian Franz Mathis, geographer Klaus Franz, and historian Christina Antenhofer served as UI coordinators for UNO for many years; now linguist Gerhard Rampl is the Rector’s coordinator.
In 1995, the cities of Innsbruck and New Orleans signed a Sister-City-agreement. Center Austria organized a regular art exchange with the Cultural Office of the City of Innsbruck — Innsbruck artists have exhibited at UNO, and since 2000 UNO art students have exhibited in Innsbruck’s Andechs Gallery.
Center Austria also has built a strong institutional relationship with the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation in Vienna ever since the Foundation made a monetary gift for a visiting professor to UNO in 2000. Since then, 15 MP Chairs have been appointed. Given the Foundation’s strong support of Center Austria, when the Center moved to the new International Center in January 2015, it was renamed “Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies.”
The Austrian government has also generously supported Center Austria. The Cultural Department of the Ministry of Europe, Integration, and Foreign Affairs used to support the publication of Contemporary Austrian Studies, while the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy has been financing a visiting research fellow at the Center since 2002. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Research has sponsored annual conferences at all the Austrian Centers to improve networking between them and their research activities; it also is supporting programming at Center Austria.
The main programs of our organization are regular student and faculty exchanges with the University of Innsbruck (and Graz). We organize regular symposia since 1983 and publish the proceedings. In 1994, we began publishing the annual publication Contemporary Austrian Studies (CAS) with the University of Innsbruck. An Environmental History of Austria, volume 27 in this series, will appear in November 2018. CAS is published jointly by UNO Press and Innsbruck university press. We also publish the series TRANSATLANTICA with the StudienVerlag in Innsbruck (11 volumes have appeared so far), and the Series “Studies in Central European History, Culture and Literature” with UNO Press (3 volumes have been published until now). The most recent trend in our organization is increasing cooperation with the new location of Deutsches Haus of New Orleans. We are planning regular lecture series with them as well as German courses for children and adults.