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The Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research – perhaps known most widely by its acronym in German, OeAD (for Österreichischer Austauschdienst GmbH) – celebrates 50 years of service in 2011. This important milestone was officially celebrated on 17 November 2011 with a public conference in Vienna. Under the title “International mobility in education – history and perspectives”, the event brought together OeAD founders, key supporters and former staff who have all contributed to the development of the agency over the last five decades. Also in attendance were a number of international experts who led discussions on the future challenges to internationalisation of (higher) education, in Austria and beyond.
OeAD was founded in 1961 as the Austrian Foreign Student Service with a clear focus on offering better services for international students in Austria. In the intervening years, OeAD has remained faithful to this original purpose, but at the same time grown substantially and adapted significantly to the internationalisation needs of a globalised world. Services such as university preparation courses or housing support for international students were developed early in the life of the organisation and remain relevant today. In addition, the agency’s tasks now include a much broader range of services and departments, such as the Austrian Agency for Lifelong Learning, the Commission for Development Studies, the administration of national exchange and mobility programmes on a European and international level, as well as the marketing and representation of the Austrian Higher Education Area.
As one of the founding members of ACA, the OeAD has consistently promoted cooperation between national agencies in Europe. We thank our Austrian colleagues for their many years of outstanding contributions to this field. Happy birthday, OeAD!Österreichischer Austauschdienst GmbH (OeAD)