Hannes Richter

Austria Donates to the George C. Marshall International Center

Hannes Richter

At a reception held at the residence of Austrian Ambassador Eva Nowotny on July 7, Austria presented a donation of 150,000 Euros to the George C. Marshall International Center. This gift, the second major gift of the Austrian government to the Center, is to be used to support educational exchange programs shared by Americans and the recipient countries of the Marshall Plan.

Austria’s first major donation to the Center, made in the early 1990s, assisted with the preservation of Dodona Manor, the Leesburg, Virginia, home of George Marshall, the individual most instrumental in the development of the European Recovery Program. This Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, helped with the reconstruction and revival of Europe after World War II.

In her remarks Ambassador Nowotny expressed appreciation for the work done by the Center in preserving and restoring Dodona Manor and for educational programs that the Center has developed to advance the legacy of this soldier-statesman. “The Center’s work deserves support, especially from the countries which benefited from the Marshall Plan,” Ambassador Nowotny stated. She added, “In Austria’s case, the Marshall Plan helped keep the country together politically, economically and socially during the ten years after World War II, when other countries under similar Allied occupation became divided. We certainly would not have developed and prospered as we have without the generous support rendered through the Marshall Plan. Future generations must not be allowed to forget this and George Marshall’s many other contributions to a peaceful world order.”

Peter Takacs, who as CEO of the Austria Wirtschaftsservice was instrumental in arranging for the latest donation, characterized it as “a tangible contribution to a living monument for George C. Marshall.”

In thanking Austrians for this generous gift, the President of the George C. Marshall International Center at Dodona Manor, Fred Morefield, noted that ten years ago Austria was the first of the Marshall Plan countries to come forward with financial support for the Center - at that time the task was the preservation of Dodona Manor. He added, “Now Austria is the first Marshall Plan country to provide support for the on-going operation and maintenance of Dodona Manor and, most important, the extension of the Center’s educational programs.”

The George C. Marshall International Center at Dodona Manor
Dodona Manor is located on four acres (two hectares) of land in Leesburg, Virginia. The house was constructed in 1810 and served as the residence of General George C. Marshall and his wife from 1941 until 1959. After his death Dodona Manor fell into disrepair. This led to the founding of the George C. Marshall International Center and the establishment by the Center of a preservation fund to save the house and grounds. Austria was the first Marshall Plan country to contribute to this fund with a donation of 100,000 U.S. dollars.

Today the house is the home of the George C. Marshall International Center and is an example of American entrepreneurial spirit and a token of remembrance of the legacy of General Marshall. It is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public year-round. Highly-trained docents offer a rich learning experience for students, teachers, group tours, and the general public.

The Center is more than an interesting place to visit. It is a learning center with a focus on sharing history with others through such venues as the Marshall Immersion Workshop, especially designed for secondary school teachers of American history. For one week teachers come to Dodona Manor for intensive studies, visit the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. and spend two days at the Marshall Library on the Virginia Military Institute campus in Lexington, Virginia. As a result of their workshop experience, the teachers are able to pass on their knowledge to students in the form of lesson plans, archival documents, books and field trips. This year three Austrian secondary school teachers will participate for the first time in the program.

As the President of the Center explained, the Austrian contribution will allow the Center to extend the educational programs on which it has focused for the last five years. Mr. Morefield stated that the Center will use a portion of the gift to develop an Austrian version of the Center’s Marshall Immersion Workshop. “The plan,” Mr. Morefield explained, “is to deliver this new version of the Marshall Immersion Workshop in Austria and to have both Austrian and U.S. teachers participate in it.”

After completing the restoration of Dodona Manor and initiating educational programs, the George C. Marshall International Center has now embarked on an ambitious plan for the future to include establishing a new Education Center for a New Era. Exhibits will tell the story of George C. Marshall and the lasting impact of the Marshall Plan on the people of Europe by laying the foundations for stability and democracy which led to the creation of the new European Union. A ‘history wall’ will feature the faces and voices, including Austrians, of those who benefited directly from the Marshall Plan and will relate their personal stories of war-time compatriots. Another plan is to provide a forum for policy and discussion of contemporary issues, such as the challenges presented by climate change or issues of international cooperation. They can be examined within a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment that inspires leadership and new ideas. Austria’s generous donation of 150,000 Euros is a major contribution toward seeing that these objectives are met and toward offering Austrians the opportunity to participate in various programs designed for the future.

The George C. Marshall International Center is a not-for-profit corporation with the mission of preserving and advancing the legacy of George Catlett Marshall by interpreting and propagating its relevance to our time. The Center’s website is: www.georgecmarshall.org Dodona Manor is open to the public from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays; 1 PM to 5 PM on Sundays and, during the summer, Mondays; and by appointment at other times.