Applauding EU Members
SpainThe Don Quixotes of Spain are still attacking their giant windmills at a time of changing winds over the quest for energy. Wind turbines are making their debut as Spain becomes a powerhouse of wind energy. In fact, it is the second largest producer of wind energy in the world. Moreover, two of Spain’s manufacturers are among the ten largest in the world. Spain is poised to continue this trend toward powering its technological growth with the strong winds that sweep over the country’s plains.
Euro Quiz III
Whether well-worn clichés or dogged stereotypes, the news has provided for sometimes amusing coverage of country stereotypes. Our third in a series of Euro quizzes targets such clichés, sometimes overused to the point of losing their bite but still widely popular with the media. Switzerland is not an EU member, but its national stereotype figures so strongly in the larger European picture that we felt all too tempted not to include it.
European Faits divers
The nature and purpose of coffeehouses is forever evolving. Once a place where a man was safe from his womenfolk, former hotbed of revolutionaries, home to penniless artists, backdrop to beatnik poetry readings, providers of hi-tech equipment to internet users, Austria has now taken it to its next level. It not only provides a place for like-minded people but speakers of like-languages to communicate. For those interested in renewing their language ties with home or polishing their foreign language skills, one can chat in ten languages with native speakers in ten various cafés located in Salzburg’s shopping center, “Europapark.” In each one of these cafés a native speaker offers conversation in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, Swedish, Hungarian, Russian, Japanese and, of course, German. The ‘Stay in Touch’ project, created by Salzburg’s School for Continuing Education, hopes to encourage more understanding for other countries and cultures through practice of languages, avoiding ‘Babylon’s confusion.’
When Günther Wiesenthal, the Mercedes-Benz distributor for Vienna and a board member of Daimler-Benz, came to the U.S. to become the first president of Mercedes-Benz of North America, there was only one Mercedes-Benz dealership in the country. When he left, there were 450. One of those dealerships was McNey Motors in Bethesda, MD. Twenty-four years later the Wiesenthal Group, led by Günther’s daughter, Susanne Sulke-Wiesenthal, purchased it. EuroMotorcars was born.
Boots are Made for Walking
Immigration, integration and identity are complex and closely connected issues. Apart from their social and cultural significance, they have recently gained political weight both in the United States - with the debate on illegal immigration and border security - and in Europe - as a result of the riots in France, the cartoon issues in Denmark and the two negative referenda on the EU Constitution. Although the historical contexts in which problems of immigration and integration manifest themselves on both continents couldn’t be more different, the idea that an open transatlantic dialogue could help unveil misperceptions about each other and find possible solutions together was tempting enough to bring together eminent scholars for a day-long conference. The event was initiated by Austria, a country with a long tradition of religious and cultural dialogue, and took place in the U.S. Capitol on May 15. It addressed three topics organized in panels. Immigration and Identity: Do Current Patterns of Immigration Challenge Notions of National Identity? Addressing Integration In Europe and the U.S. Today Identity and Islam: Muslims in the U.S. and Europe The following edited fragments are taken from speeches delivered at the conference:
An American in Vienna (and Beyond)
Every visit to Vienna brings deeper discoveries of the city’s beauty and esprit. Early this spring, I felt closer than ever to Vienna’s elusive essence. I was there for research in the Austrian National Library about two Austrian women composers, Frida Kern and Maria Bach, who were active in Vienna through World War Two. But I found myself crowding my time with many more adventures than anticipated. In visits with Michael Bladerer, press officer and bassist of the Vienna Philharmonic, and Wolfgang Schaufler at the Austrian Music Information Center, I was drawn into conversations about Vienna’s musical life, past and present. I also enjoyed nine splendid musical performances and prowled through exhibits in numerous museums, many focused on Vienna’s Mozart Year.
Harry Seidler was considered to be one of the leading exponents of Modernism in Australia and the first architect to fully express the principles of the Bauhaus in Australia. He died on March 9 at the age of 83. Born in Vienna, an Austrian of Romanian Jewish ancestry, he fled to England when Nazi Germany occupied Austria in 1938.
Frank Goodman (1917 – 2006)
Frank Goodman, one of the last of Broadway’s vintage press agents who handled the publicity of many Broadway shows and stars, died in New York on February 3 at the age of 89. He was the child of an immigrant couple from Austria – his mother was a housekeeper, his father died when he was two