Austrian Foreign Ministry Invited to "50 Years of Austria Culture International"

More+Events ♦ Published: February 23, 2023; 22:32 ♦ (Vindobona)

On the occasion of "50 Years of Austria Culture International", Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg hosted a reception with artists and representatives of the media and cultural institutions.

Culture is considered a central element of international soft power, according to Schallenberg. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The event took place as a prelude to the anniversary year marking half a century of international cultural work at the Foreign Ministry on the premises of the recently opened exhibition "On The Road Again" at the Vienna Künstlerhaus.

The reception at the Künstlerhaus heralds the anniversary year "50 Years of Austria Culture International": 50 years ago, the Foreign Ministry was given responsibility for overseeing cultural relations abroad through an amendment to the Federal Ministries Act passed in 1973. Since then, international cultural work and the worldwide promotion of Austrian artists and scientists have been essential tasks of Austrian foreign policy and a fixed component of the activities of the Austrian representations and the Foreign Ministry.

"Over the past 50 years, the Foreign Ministry has been able to build a global cultural network that implements thousands of events every year in a wide variety of artistic fields," explained Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg at the opening ceremony marking the 50th anniversary. The focus is on supporting Austrian artists abroad, especially younger artists.

Against the backdrop of the multiple crises of war, stagflation, migration movements, energy crisis, climate change and the increasing aggravation of humanitarian crises, the Foreign Minister pointed out the special importance of art and culture in this situation, because "art is both an encouragement and a challenge. Art is a call for freedom. Is an incentive. Is spiritual nourishment." Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg underlined the importance of Austrian cultural diplomacy, "That is why the foreign cultural policy has an important role to play, especially now. International cultural work is an integral and indispensable part of Austrian foreign policy."

Culture is considered a central element of international soft power, according to Schallenberg, and this soft power is needed now more than ever. "In such turbulent times of foreign policy upheaval, in which even our liberal Western model of life is being challenged, familiar points of orientation and support are needed. In this context, culture is and remains our unifying constant," Schallenberg explained.

To underline the potential of foreign culture, the anniversary kick-off took place at the Vienna Künstlerhaus, where the exhibition "On the Road Again" is currently being shown. The cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Künstlerhaus Association shows selected projects of contemporary art from Austria out of almost 500 submissions, which were realized for 23 Austrian cultural forums around the globe last year.

The works deal with upheavals in society and ecology and the respective host country of the Austrian cultural forum. In the joint final presentation, the valuable work of foreign culture will also be made accessible to a broad public in Austria: "On The Road Again" will be shown at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna until May 21, 2023.