Austria's international cultural policy goals
By means of its international cultural policy and in collaboration with its embassies, consulates, cultural fora, Austria Libraries and Austria Institutes, the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs aims to meet the following goals:
1. presenting Austria on the international stage as an innovative and creative nation that is historically diverse and rich in culture and scientific know-how
2. contributing pro-actively to promoting the process of European integration fully in line with the principle of “unity in diversity”
3. making a sustainable contribution to building trust and securing peace at the global level by launching initiatives in the context of dialogue among cultures and religions
On the first goal: Presenting Austria on the international stage as an innovative and creative nation that is historically diverse and rich in culture and scientific know-how.
Internationally, Austrian culture is often associated with culturally as well as historically important figures, such as Mozart, Klimt and Freud. When looking at their contributions in a historic context, it appears that these musicians, artists, and scientists were particularly progressive for their time and introduced new approaches to artistic expression. In the sense of the Gustav Mahler quote “tradition means passing on the fire, not worshipping the ashes”, the display of traditional culture in the context of international cultural policy is justified provided that the innovative and creative element is emphasized. The focus of international cultural work must be on contemporary Austria – as this is the only way of promoting Austria as a country that is future-oriented rather than stuck in the past. In this context it is however essential not to lose sight of or cease to reflect on the dark episodes in Austria’s history, such as the Nazi era.
On the second goal: Contributing pro-actively to promoting the process of European integration.
Culture plays a dual role in the EU: On the one hand, the EU Member States are supposed to get to know each other better and become closer by learning more about each other’s cultures, while on the hand, cultural initiatives launched by the EU in third countries may contribute to creating a sense of identity. Austria has a significant interest in the positive advancement of the process of European integration. Therefore, Austrian international cultural policy needs to be involved in and contribute to cultural initiatives launched by the EU and develop projects with other partners to strengthen a common sense of EU identity. This also includes, for instance, promoting multilingualism in the EU and preserving “Austrian German”, i.e. the German language as it is spoken in Austria, and its interconnections at European level.
On the third goal: Making a sustainable contribution to building trust and securing peace at the global level by launching initiatives in the context of dialogue among cultures and religions.
Austria will continue to launch initiatives to promote intercultural and interfaith dialogue in order to overcome stereotypes and thus support peace and security. By contributing pro-actively to promoting dialogue among cultures and religions Austria strives to foster democracy and the universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of religion and of conscience. Dialogue is an important instrument to foster communal life and integration of people of different cultural and religious backgrounds in Austria and Europe.