The Center for Austrian Studies was established in May 2001 as a joint initiative of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and the Friends of the Hebrew University in Austria. Its goals are to promote Austrian studies and Austrian culture in Israel at the academic level by means of the Hebrew University, and to establish and maintain contacts between Israeli and Austrian scholars and students by organizing symposia, lectures, conferences, and workshops on Austrian issues. The term "Austrian Studies" is understood in the broad sense rather than as referring to the geographic area of the present Republic of Austria. The center engages in broad, interdisciplinary Central European area studies with an Austrian core. It dedicates its research and teaching activities to the history and culture of Central Europe, and their impact on contemporary developments in the region in all areas of political, social, and cultural life. Special emphasis is given to the role of the city of Vienna as a cultural factor in European history and to the role of the Republic of Austria in the EU enlargement and integration processes, as well as to the spiritual and material legacy of the Jewish population of the Habsburg Empire and its multifaceted contribution to European culture.