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Oct 22nd 2013

Welcome address for Lady Mayor Ms. Christine Oppotz-Plörer on the occasion of Opening of the Austro-British Society rooms in the Higher Commercial College

Tuesday 22nd October, 2013 at 7.00pm
Higher Commercial College, Karl-Schönherr-Strasse 2

President of the Tyrolean Assembly,
Honorary British Consul,
President of the Austro-British Society Tyrol,
School Headmistress
and honoured guests,

On behalf of the city of Innsbruck, may I welcome you today to the Higher Commercial College on the occasion of the opening of these new premises for the Austro-British Society, Tyrol.

I am delighted that we have worked together with the former school headmistress, Karin Peter, to make these rooms available. As the well-known proverb says ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’.

For over sixty years the Austro-British Society has brought an element of Britain and British refinement to Innsbruck. Intercultural learning and adult education are central to your work, alongside the University. This is of the greatest importance for Innsbruck, as an important centre of culture and education, and for society in general. In this context I’d like to emphasise your commendable work as a society, which is largely voluntary. For this valuable contribution to the social and cultural life of our city I would like at this point to thank the Society most heartily!

Your library, with its resources centre, is a popular meeting point on Tuesday afternoons, and now also on alternate Thursday afternoons, for all those who want to learn about English language and British culture. Some 10,000 English books, DVD and CDs can be borrowed here. Also the Society’s commendable events programme - with English conversation classes, Poetry Café, films, talks and teachers’ workshops - offers something for everyone.

High-quality professional theatre in English, such as the performance of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey on October 30th in the Ursulinensäle, freshly imported from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, enriches immensely Innsbruck’s cultural offering.

What you offer is not only for English-speaking ex-patriates, but also for local people of all ages who want to learn more about British culture.

At this point I’d like to take the opportunity to point out that the city of Innsbruck offers ‘Welcome Walks’, specifically for newcomers to the city. In this way we make it easier for both adults and children to settle in to their part of the city. During a short walk they can discover the most important venues, shops and city facilities in their new surroundings. It is very important for us to make an active contribution to social and cultural integration. A city like Innsbruck, open to the world, situated at the very heart of Europe, thrives on its multi-cultural diversity.

I thank you for your attention and wish you all a pleasant evening.

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