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AIEP 40th-Anniversary Conference


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Introduction

In the fall of 1971 the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures initiated its Austria-Illinois Exchange Program (with the full support of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) in collaboration with the Pädagogische Akademie des Bundes in Niederösterreich in Baden bei Wien. During that first year, 22 undergraduates from the University of Illinois spent an academic year in Austria, preparing themselves to become teachers of German and German Studies. Soon thereafter eight Illinois graduates and graduate students arrived to teach English in Lower Austrian secondary schools and Illinois hosted its first group of Austrian students and teachers. The foundation had been laid for what has become a strong, constantly developing transatlantic partnership.

At the beginning of the 1990s the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien offered to serve as Program host in Vienna. The University of Vienna and Technical University of Vienna joined the consortium shortly thereafter. New program components emerged in response to this diversification and to deepening links between various colleges and units at Illinois. Among them are the College of Business Program, the Vienna Diplomatic Program, and short programs in Global Studies, Political Science, and German language. Today the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures continues with Program oversight in Illinois and welcomes further development.

Over the past two decades alone the partners have exchanged more than 2,000 students. Many have assumed leadership roles in the public and private sectors. Some are returning to Illinois in October 2011 to participate as speakers and discussants at our 40th-anniversary conference. Please join them and us in celebrating four decades of academic exchange, as well as helping us to plot our future course with renowned speakers, colleagues, students, and friends!