Vienna, 9 September 2004 - The second day of the 2005 foreign cultural policy conference currently taking place in the Kunsthistorisches Museum is being devoted to Robert Musil’s novel "The Man Without Qualities".
"In this "Austria Year 2005", we would like not only to consider and perhaps also take a critical look at the image of Austria abroad, but also to accept the opportunity and challenge of communicating Austrian culture worldwide" explained Hans Winkler, State Secretary in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in his inaugural address. Winkler was representing Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, who is currently on a working visit to the USA.
Taking up the theme of this year’s conference, "Austria: image and identity", the Ministry had sought out translators of this masterpiece of Austrian literature throughout the world and invited them to Vienna. Sixteen translators accepted the invitation.
"Understanding other cultures and people is a vital prerequisite for solidarity in Europe and beyond," stressed Winkler. Pointing to the importance of strengthening European awareness, especially in our immediate neighbourhood, Winker indicated that a Balkan conference would be held during the Austrian EU Presidency in the first half of 2006.
In conclusion, Winkler emphasised that Austrian foreign cultural policy had the specific task of heightening European awareness of the need for a cultural transfer, particularly in relation to the languages of the new EU Member States.