Annual conferences

Deirdre Sneep presenting at CEDI's third Annual Conference (Foto: U. Müller)
Deirdre Sneep presenting at CEDI's third Annual Conference (Foto: U. Müller)

Conference III: June 8 - 11, 2018, at TU Darmstadt


“Cities in Global Dialogue - Megacities as Partners for Development"  (organized by Ulrich Müller, Michèle Knodt and Elena Dingersen)


The conference “Cities in Global Dialogue” that took place from June 8 to 11 2018 at TU Darmstadt addressed the role of megacities in development cooperation. Five experts with a background in urban studies and international affairs discussed the potentials of megacities in creating solutions for global challenges.

The conference concept combined seminar elements with international knowledge sharing on megacities as partners for development and aimed to foster exchange between different disciplines as well as between scientists, practitioners and students.

Intensive discussion in working groups (Foto: U. Müller)
Intensive discussion in working groups (Foto: U. Müller)

Due to the innovative concept participant groups and international guests worked together on current challenges and potentials of megacities in the light of international development agreements, such as Agenda 2030. The presentations of the experts were followed by a lively debate. The discussions of participants during the exercises in the working groups showed interesting and sometimes surprising insights.

Megacities can be understood as a laboratory for global change. In this laboratory, it is the perspective of people that counts to shape innovative and feasible approaches to pressing problems like public security in Mexico City, preservation of open spaces in Istanbul, economic perspectives for small shop owners in central Hong Kong or inclusion of elderly in Tokyo. Cities around the world are faced with similar problems and especially European cities can benefit from intensive knowledge sharing and intercultural exchange. The experience of a Euro-Latin American Alliance of Cooperation among Cities demonstrated that urban governments are more successful when they create people centered solutions. These solutions play an important role for global dialogue. They play an active role in global governance and as a spearhead for plurality of life forms and intensified society participation in decision making.

CEDI Conference Agenda.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 190.8 KB


Conference II: July 7, 2017, at TU Darmstadt


Digital Citizens in the European Union – a LEXONOMICS- and global Perspective

(organized by Viola Schmid and Dirk Schiereck)


CEDI members Prof. Dr. Viola Schmid, LL.M. (Harvard) and Prof. Dr. Dirk Schiereck from Technical University Darmstadt presented CEDI’s second Annual Conference on July 7, 2017. The conference title “Right to and granted Freedom [in German: Gewa(e)hrte Freiheit] – Freedom in and through Currency” addresses the main focus of their current research within CEDI. Experts with a background in law and economics discussed challenges for freedom, (IT-)security and trust in relation to the institutions of currency , governments, justice system etc. The conference followed the innovative concept of a “Science-Practice-Conference” and aimed to foster exchange between different disciplines as well as between scientists and practitioners. 

Short Program:

Block I (09:00 a.m.): Introduction, Contributions by Prof. Dr. Michèle Knodt, CEDI Director, and Prof. Dr. Dirk Schiereck.

Block II (10:00 a.m.): “The Pros and Cons of Cash – On the Foundations of Trust in (electronic) Money”,
Contributions by Prof. Dr. Max Otte, author, and Dr. Niklas Bartelt, director of Paydirekt GmbH, Germany.

Block III (12:30 p.m.): “The Future and the Role of Law – Personal Data as a Surrogate for Currency”,
Contribution by Prof. Dr. Michael Ronellenfitsch, Data Protection Commissioner of Hessen, Germany.

Block IV (14:00 p.m.): “Trust in the Supervisors – The Importance and Justification of Independence”,
Contribution by Prof. Dr. Reiner Quick, TU Darmstadt, focusing on the (European) legal framework for the independence of statutory auditors  and Dr. Ralf Köbler, president of the district court of Darmstadt, supplementing ideas about the digital transformation challenge for the justice system.  

Block V (15:30 p.m.): Final Discussion and “Summing up the Don`ts” -
Contribution by Prof. Dr. Viola Schmid

Prof. Dr. Viola Schmid, LL.M. (Harvard) at the second Annual Conference
Prof. Dr. Viola Schmid, LL.M. (Harvard) at the second Annual Conference
Programme (German)
2017_05_16_Einladung zum 07.07.2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 358.7 KB

Conference I: November 10 -11, 2016, at JGU Mainz


Regionalism in the Global South in Comparative Perspective. The ambivalent Influence of Intra- and Extra-Regional Actors on Regional Integration Processes

(organised by Arne Niemann, Johannes Muntschick)


The first CEDI Annual Conference was held in Mainz from 10th-11th November 2016 at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität. The overall topic of the international conference was “Regionalism in the Global South in Comparative Perspective” with a special focus on the role and ambivalent influence of intra- and extra-regional actors on regional integration processes. In order to contribute to the research and debate on the ‘EU in Global Dialogue’, the conference aimed in particular to explore and highlight the impact of the EU on regional integration processes beyond Europe.


Given the huge amount of work on European integration, the study of (comparative) regionalism and the role of the EU on other regional integration projects (notably in the Global South) is still very much at an infant stage. This is quite surprising since the world witnessed a mushrooming of new regionalisms after the end of the Cold War. Moreover, there has been little research on the influence of external actors on regionalism so far although it is no secret that the EU’s external action programme does include the support of regional integration in other parts of the world.


Against this background, the conference invited paper givers who dealt inter alia with the following questions: How do regionalisms in the Global South develop in terms of polity, policy and politics. What actors influence regional integration processes and how? In what ways are polities, politics and policies shaped by regional dynamics, external actors or other aspects? How can we systematically compare regionalism in Europe and the Global South?


The conference brought together almost 20 excellent scholars from all over the world who shared an expertise in regionalism in general but focussed on different world regions in their research. Given this opportunity, the conference programme included panels dealing with theories on regionalism and external influence, with regionalism in Africa, in Asia and Europe, in Latin America as well as with inter-regionalism and overlapping regionalism. It soon became clear that regionalism is a global phenomenon that finds various expressions in different parts of the globe and may comprise of formal and/or informal institutions. Independent of geographical location, however, regionalism shows a number of similarities in terms of e.g. dealing with specific policy issues (economy, security, environment and infrastructure) or showing tendencies to overlap. In many cases, regionalism is driven by powerful regional key countries (such as e.g. South Africa and Brazil). The EU is often perceived as model for successful regionalism by other regional integration organisations which reflects for example in a similar design of their important institutional bodies and organs. Moreover, there is evidence that the EU as powerful external actor seems to be mainly supportive to regional cooperation and integration processes in other parts of the globe (especially in the issue area of security) albeit there are as well examples where the EU exerted an interfering impact on other integration organisations. In general, conference participants acknowledged the need for further research on the influence of external actors (notably the EU) on regionalism beyond Europe.


Prof. Anja Jetschke (University of Göttingen), who held an exciting key note speech on the promise of diffusion approaches to regional organisations, illustrated the fact that we live currently in an era of regionalisation and emphasised the need for more theory-driven research on this phenomenon. She presented an innovative modular design approach and elaborated the idea that regional integration organisations may actually ‘borrow’ (part of) their institutional design and projects from a variety of existing regionalism in accordance to their needs.


The conference attracted attention with a number of visitors (scholars and non-scholars) joining the audience and listening to the presentations and debates. One of the outcomes of the conference shall be an edited book that would combine several contributions and major insights.

Foto: Simone Ndongala (2016)
Foto: Simone Ndongala (2016)
Annual Conference I - Conference Report (English)
Tagungsbericht: First Annual CEDI Conference, 10.11.2016 – 11.11.2016 Mainz, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 03.03.2017,
Report Annual Conference I.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 100.2 KB
Annual Conference I - Programme
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 208.7 KB