After its successful launch at the end of February, the Austrian Lecture Series continued in March with several lectures and panel discussions.
On the heels of the second U.S. - Austrian political-military talks, Austrian Brigadier General Reinhard Trischak kicked off the month with a comprehensive presentation on the security and military perspectives of the upcoming Austrian EU-Presidency on March 6, 2018 at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The presentation was followed by an in-depth Q&A session. At the end, Trischak was hailed for his candid and insightful answers, a quality attribute in an area rather known for its secrecy rules.
A week later, on March 14, Professor Paul Lendvai, Austrian media veteran and refugee from the failed anti-communist uprising in Budapest/Hungary in 1956 - a fate he shares with the host of the event, Charles Gati, Senior Research Professor of European and Eurasian Studies at SAIS - spoke at Johns Hopkins. Lendvai looked at the present temptation of authoritarianism in Central and Eastern Europe less than 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. With a number of Hungarians present at the event, including a former Hungarian Prime Minister, the audience attentively followed Prof. Lendvai’s reflections on the state of governance in Austria’s Eastern neighborhood.
The following week, on March 22, an eminent and well balanced panel of experts from Austria and the U.S. discussed the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty at the Austrian Embassy. The treaty was negotiated and finalized in record time last year. In spite of initial skepticism on the usefulness of such an event in the capital of the dominant nuclear power, the panelists and audience alike hailed the animated but respectful and constructive debate on this controversial matter, also during the wine and food reception that followed.
The most recent event in this series took place on April 3, 2018 at the U.S. Department of State's brand new U.S. Diplomacy Center with a presentation and discussion on “The Meaning of the Marshall Plan for Today” - a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Congressional approval of the Marshall Plan. In his opening speech, Austrian Marshall Plan Professor Dan Hamilton (Johns Hopkins University - SAIS) explained the Marshall Plan's historical background, including the alternative options that were being discussed but discarded at the time as a lesson learned from the failure of the post World War I arrangements (U.S. isolationism; exorbitant reparation payments and de-industrialisation/pasturalisation of the Axis powers). The three hour long event was filled to capacity.
The next events of the Austrian Lecture Series will be organized in May; for detailed information and video of past lectures, please check www.austria.org/lectureseries.