In the early 1950s my father‐in‐law, who would turn out to become one of Austria’s leading journalists, was an early participant in the Fulbright Program. Both my wife and I, not yet engaged or married then, kept up the tradition. We each spent a year in the US with the program. (I was at the College of Wooster in 1979, she was at Mount Holyoke in 1980). The friends we made then are still in touch with us; we visit them and they visit us. As for me, my Fulbright year shaped my whole life. The contacts I made as a Fulbrighter have proved indispensable for my future career.
I became a professor of German literature at the University of Vienna. In 1989 I spent another year on a Fulbright grant as Visiting professor at Berea College, Kentucky. My continuing research interest in US‐European literary relations developed in those days. In 1997 I returned to the USA, on a Fulbright Research Grant (to Duke University) Many of my scholarly activities (conferences I organize, joint research) would not have been possible without the chances the Fulbright program offered me. And I dare say I have paid back some of it by speaking at American Universities and telling American students about Austria and Austrian culture, thereby making them aware of the world abroad.
Last but not least, I keep meeting Fulbright scholars and Fulbright students who come to Austria. I am always impressed how the chance to come here widens their horizon; I am also impressed how they manage to teach Austrian kids about the real USA when they go to Austrian schools. (My wife is a teacher of English, so I am familiar with this aspect of the Fulbright program). It would be a terrible development to endanger this program — particularly at a time, when mutual understanding between the USA and Europe is more important than ever.
Wynfried Kriegleder is a graduate of the University of Vienna (PhD in German philology) and studied at the College of Wooster as an Austrian Fulbright Student in 1979–80. Later on in his career he was a Fulbright Scholar at Duke University and Berea College.