International cultural policy is one of the creative tools used by Austrian foreign policy to present, illustrate and raise the profile of its foreign policy goals in a world that is increasingly interconnected and characterised by cultures that increasingly influence one other. In promoting and preserving Austria’s international cultural profile, the International Cultural Policy department at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (FMEIA), thus lives up to both a creative and a foreign policy-related challenge.
Other countries generally and primarily associate Austria with its culture. It is indeed true that Austria as a “cultural nation” enjoys a certain standing in the world which enables it to play a more important role than it would based on political or economic policy criteria alone.
The task of international cultural policy thus consists in continuously updating this positive image that is often based on Austria’s rich cultural heritage by drawing attention to more recent cultural, scientific and economic achievements, particularly those from the 1950s to the present day. It has been and will remain a policy goal to present a unique image of a contemporary, innovative and creative Austria, which is promoted and consolidated by means of high-quality cultural projects initiated and carried out on our own or in collaboration with regional partners. In this context, the goal is to promote cooperation between cultural institutions and artists both at international and regional level while also endeavouring to promote Austria’s contributions to international cultural discourse.
At the same time, Austria sees itself as an important player in the process of European integration, dedicated to promoting intercultural as well as interfaith dialogue as a pro-active member of a community of states that is based on the rule of law and committed to peace under the Charter of the United Nations. In the context of this challenging environment, international cultural policy and its goals and strategies makes a substantial contribution to enabling Austria to live up to the strategic guidelines defined by foreign policy and to meet the international expectations levelled at Austria as an active member of the community of states.