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Integration: A Paradigm Shift

Integration: A Paradigm Shift

A hundred years ago, in 1913, there were 2.1 million people in Vienna, larger than the 1.7 who live here today – as mix of Serbs an, Poles, Turks, Hungarians, and of course, Germans, who represent the largest immigrant group in Vienna and Austria today. Austria, which stretched from Lake Constance to the Black Sea […]

Cursing in style

Cursing in style

A new “integration” course called Schimpfen in Wien (Swearing in Vienna) is being offered by the Volkshochschule Wien-Meidling. Course Instructor Marcha Kellner teaches her students what Viennese swearing is about and, more importantly, how to do it with style. The German language contains a number of animal-related swear words ranging from Angsthase (scared rabbit) to poultry: […]

One Year of Integration

One Year of Integration

Last month, the Ministry of Interior’s secretariat for integration had its first birthday. How has the country’s first secretary for integration, 25-year-old Sebastian Kurz, fared?       The Superintegrator, 11 April by Ruth Eisenreich No long-standing integration expert was appointed to handle the complicated, cross-cutting portfolio, but rather a youngster with no experience in […]

A Workshop for Culture and Peace

If name recognition is a mark of success, WUK has made it. Hardly anyone knows its full name – Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus, or “workshop and cultural centre”. The parsimonious acronym is enough to call to mind sweltering rock gigs, the in-house bike workshop, and a welcoming atmosphere that stands as an example of social integration […]

Projects That Bridge Cultures

Projects That Bridge Cultures

Prague played host to 132 “country winners” of the 2011 ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration (EFASI) in a 3-day series of lectures, workshops and performances, capped by an Awards Ceremony Jun. 20 announcing 35 grants totalling €613.000 – thus, ending a two-year selection process that had reviewed 1,850 applications from 12 countries. The top […]

Vienna Circle: The American Women’s Association

One of the oldest international clubs in Vienna is the American Women’s Association, founded in 1924 by the wives of U.S. diplomats and military personnel. More recently the AWA has broadened to include an international community of English-speaking women, some 250 members from over 30 countries. AWA is a non-profit volunteer organization financed primarily by […]

The Best Afternoon Possible

René runs around the big white columns in the busy Westbahnhof subway stop. One circle, two circles, three, four. A stream of people rushes past him from the subway, on their way out. Hectic steps reverberate on the stone floor of the station. René stops and patiently waits until all the passers-by ARE past. He […]

Language & Politics

With the passage of Interior Minister Maria Fekter’s new National Integration Plan Jan. 19, language has sprung back to the fore as a political issue in Austria. And not without a fight. If Minister Fekter, of the center-right People’s Party (ÖVP), has her way unchallenged, everyone wishing to establish residency in Austria will be required […]

Book Review: Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe

And Who Is a Gypsy? Few seem to care about Europe’s Gypsies, who have been a familiar presence in Central and Eastern Europe for 1,000 years. And even fewer seem to piece together the mesh of social exclusions and disenfranchisement, resulting from chronic unemployment, that have become the norm for millions of EU Romani citizens. […]

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