In early 2000 the new Marshall Plan Foundation ("Oesterreichische Marshallplan Jubilaeumsstiftung") was formed in Vienna. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Marshal Plan, the Austrian ERP-Fonds decided to commemorate the historic achievements of the Marshall plan in Austria by endowing a foundation designed to improve Austro-American relations in the spirit of the Marshall Plan and strengthen scholarly and scientificc ooperation. UNO's unmatched record of 25 years of activities in Innsbruck and almost 20 years of friendship treaty cooperation with the University of Innsbruck has made it a model of transatlantic university partnership with an Austrian institution and a natural target for an Austrian Chair to strengthen ties with Austria.
For theses reasons the new Marshall Plan Foundation in Vienna selected UNO's Center Austria to become the recipient of a chair in Austrian studies. UNO was also attractive to the Austrians because the state of Louisiana matches funds raised for chairs, thereby adding to the endowment. The new Marshall Plan Anniversary Chair in Austrian Studies will officially be inaugurated in the Year 2001.
The chair is attached to the UNO History Department and administered by Center Austria. Members of the UNO History Department, also affiliated with Center Austria, took the initiative in raising these funds with the support of Robert Dupont, the Dean of Metropolitan College. To jump start this program, the first chair holder will be a historian from the University of Innsbruck to teach in the UNO History Department in the spring semester of 2001.
This new chair is a revolving one and will benefit all of UNO. UNO departments can apply and compete for holding the chair for a year. A search will then follow in Austria for the most suitable candidate to fill the chair for a year. UNO College of Business will be the first beneficiary hosting an Austrian economist in the academic year of 2001/2001. His specialty will be the political economy and financial system of the new Europe. A search will be launched in Austria this fall. The visiting professor regularly teach three courses during his stay, give one open lecture to the entire UNO community and be available for guest lectures in the city, the state , and around the country. The visiting Austrian professor thus will find his stay at UNO and excellent opportunity for networking.
With this initiative Center Austria hopes to attract Austria's best and brightest to enrich Austrian and European studies at UNO and the U.S. in the long term. The Austrian gift recognizes UNO's unique fabric of ties with Austrian partners and inspires Center Austria to further strengthen them. The unique generosity of the American people through the gifts of the Marshall Plan will thus not be forgotten by Austria and will be kept alive by the new Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation.