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The Ambassador of Austria to Russia, Dr. Margot Klestil-Löffler, opened an Austrian Library at the HSE

Austria, country of paradoxes, very small geographically but very big culturally, home of Mozart, Freud and Rilke, is now linked to Nizhny Novgorod. On November 28th 2011, an Austrian Library was opened in the HSE building in Nizhny Novgorod, becoming the fourth Austrian cultural and educational center in Russia.

These Austrian libraries are organized by the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria. There are 60 of these cultural centers around the world. In Russia, in addition to Austrian Libraries in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, there’s now a centre in Nizhny Novgorod. For a long time, the Austrian Library in Nizhny Novgorod was based in the Dobrolyubov State Linguistic University (NNSLU), and now, according to the NNSLU President G. Ryabov, the Library has been successfully ‘reincarnated’ at the Higher School of Economics.

The Austrian Library in the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the HSE is not only an open library with over 6000 volumes in German, Russian and English, but a center for anyone interested in Austrian history, language and culture.

Among the participants of the ceremony were Dr. Margot Klestil-Löffler, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Austria in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus; Simon Mraz, Attaché for Cultural Relations at the Embassy of Austria in the RF and Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Moscow; Yury Titov, Honorary Consul of Austria in Nizhny Novgorod; Natalia Perova, Vice Consul of the Honorary Consulate of Austria; Mikhail Kosoy, Assistant to Plenipotentiary Representative of the RF President in the Volga Federal District, as well as representatives from the Nizhny Novgorod city and region administrations.

The first word at the opening ceremony was given to… the music. In a wonderful hall, designed by Sergey and Elena Molkov, the aria of the countess from the Marriage of Figaro opera was peformed. Then Oleg Kozyrev, Director of the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod, greeted the guests. He emphasized that Russia and Austria have much in common, since both countries are multicultural. Oleg Kozyrev expressed his hope that the Austrian Library in Nizhny Novgorod will only be the 61st center in order of opening, not in terms of importance.

Dr. Klestil-Löffler began her speech by speaking about how Austria pays great attention to the promotion of its culture abroad, and how this is an important part of state policy. She also mentioned that during recent years interest in German has increased considerably among Russian young people, and in Austria there has been a similar growth in interest in Russian. The input of the HSE in the development of this trend cannot be overestimated: currently three students from Austria study at the HSE and the same number of HSE students from Nizhny Novgorod study at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz in Austria – a partner of the HSE Nizhny Novgorod.. The Ambassador characterized the cultural center which was opened at the HSE as a ‘unique platform for university cooperation’ and expressed her desire that the new Austrian Library would soon become a cultural exchange center.

Prof. Valery Zusman, Academic Supervisor of the Austrian Library, Head of the Department of Applied Linguistics and Intercultural Communication at HSE Nizhny Novgorod told the audience about the forthcoming plans for the Austrian Library. In accordance with the agreements between the HSE and the Embassy of Austria in Moscow, prominent artists and researchers from Austria will come to speak here. One of the most important events for the library will be the ‘Is Austria a Multicultural Country?’ project which will bring together leading international researchers.

The library currently employs Dr. Vera Ahamer – an Austrian lecturer whose work is aimed at supporting the development of academic and scientific ties between Nizhny Novgorod and Austrian universities. The Austrian Library will also become a certified center for international examinations as part of the Austrian Language Diploma programme.

See also:

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Economists and Researchers Gather at International Conference on Wealth and Income in Eastern Europe and CIS Countries

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HSE University and Italian Embassy Sign Agreement on Internships for Italian Students

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