Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies was originally established in 1998 upon an initiative by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Sciences, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Conference of University Presidents as the “Canadian Centre for Austrian and Central European Studies.” Subsequently the Centre also received the support of the Governments of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Renamed the “Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies” in October 2003 in recognition of Dr. Manfred and Dr. Alfred Wirth’s generous endowment, our principal mandate is to raise the profile of Central Europe and Central European Studies in Canada and to provide a leadership role in a network of cooperation in this field with other Canadian universities. We act as both an academic and cultural institute and sponsor and organize lectures, conferences, artistic festivals, symposia, concerts, exhibitions and other scholarly and cultural events with an Austrian and central European theme. We also engage in international cooperative ventures with institutions in the United States and Europe.
We assist all relevant units within the university community in the task of having the University of Alberta recognized as the leading center for Central European Studies in Canada. We also work with the Embassies of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia to maintain and enhance Canada's most outstanding resource centre for Central European Studies for the use of scholars throughout Canada and the United States.