During the last two years, international interest in the U.S. presidential election campaign has been enormous, making headlines in Europe and attracting a throng of journalists. These years were also marked by significant developments in the media industry, including the rise of new media. The increased significance of the internet and of new media technology has required adapting to this new environment by developing opportunities such as an Austria-Facebook, an initiative launched this year by the Austrian Press and Information Service.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, we have witnessed significant developments in Europe, while as we begin the 21st Century, Austria offers a variety of new opportunities for U.S. businesses who wish to establish headquarters in Europe and for students and scholars who are interested in participating in numerous academic programs, such as joint MBA Programs offered by Austrian and American universities. While still building upon historical and ever-growing friendly relations, Austria’s image today has become multifaceted. Last year we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan by launching a new visitor’s program named after Secretary of State Marshall. Experts of the U.S. Administration and the Congress were invited to visit Austria; moreover, a U.S.-Austrian journalist exchange program was established. Institutions, such as the American-Austrian Society or the Salzburg Seminar, testify to the lively exchange which was created between Austria and the U.S.A. after the war and still continues today. Austria’s contributions to international peace efforts and its willingness to accept thousands of refugees has been widely approved. Since the end of the Cold War, Austria’s foreign policy expertise has been solicited in solving the problems of Southeastern Europe and Central Europe. Finally, agreements on restitution for victims of the Nazi Regime have been supported by the victim organizations and the U.S. Administration.
In the last few years, the reputation of the European Union in the U.S. has been strengthened through the successful use of public diplomacy. Public events such as the EU Open House Day in Washington, D.C., or the appearances by EU ambassadors, as well as EU embassy representatives, contribute to the perception of the European Union as a unified group of nations forging a new European identity. We are happy that our newsletter Austrian Information, which has been published on a regular basis since 1948, continues to enjoy strong popularity among the many friends of Austria residing in the U.S.A., providing news about Austria and Austrian-American relations.