I had taught an environmental seminar at the University of Redlands campus in Salzburg in June 2007. Over some excellent beers at the Augustinerbräu, we discussed the fact that nothing was happening in Washington, D.C. at the time (environmentally) and that our own Austrian-born governor, Gov. Schwarzenegger was taking a leadership role with respect to global warming legislation.
At the same time Minister of Environment Josef Proell and Federal Chancellor Gusenbauer were taking the lead over similar legislation in the E.U., and it occurred to us that we should try to broker an agreement between our two governments with regard to environmental policy and technology transfer.
One year later, with the help of Ambassador Eva Nowotny, we had a Memorandum of Understanding signed and in place promoting environmental exchange between Austria and California. That summer I applied for the Fulbright in order to continue to work on the MoU and was granted the position working with the Vienna University of Technology.
The Fulbright was a seminal experience for me that would forever change my professional life's work. I have gained so many Austrian colleagues, with whom we will continue to work at expanding the role of renewable energy technologies in the E.U. and here in the U.S. Austria is about a decade ahead of the U.S. with regard to their renewable energy portfolio--with many environmental technology companies looking for opportunities for expansion in the U.S. market.
The Fulbright Program provides the structure for these exchanges to take place, in the classrooms, in the ministries, and in the marketplace. If J. William Fulbright could see the program today that honors his name and diplomacy, he would be immensely proud. Especially with the Austrian-U.S. Exchange Program, which has fostered so many scholars and students on both sides of the Atlantic to achieve a greater understanding of our common world citizenship.
Redlands University (2009)