2015 - Global DemocraCITIES: Between Triumph and Decline

Programme | Programme (PDF) | Pictures | Videos on YouTube | Introduction Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha

On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the city of Karlsruhe, the 19th Karlsruhe Dialogues focus on the urban society.

Since ancient times, mankind has dreamed of the ideal city, which was meant to be the expression of civilisation as a civic, democratic place of exchange and peace. An examination of the diverse situations of cities and their status in the global world today reveals how ambiguous urban realities are. On the one hand, an unprecedented triumph of quantitative and qualitative urban development can be observed historically, insofar as cities function as hubs for the flows of power, finance, and information, and now have a stronger impact on global events than ever before. The openness and versatility of cities makes them increasingly attractive to many people. On the other hand, the “bad reputation” of cities has a long tradition: they are often characterised as dirty, unhealthy, poor, expensive, and harmful for the environment. They are accused of causing loneliness and crime. Metropolises are still far from the ideal of a city that knows how to manage the challenges of global modernity. The 19th Karlsruhe Dialogues will discuss these two aspects – “triumph and decline of cities” – with international experts. Which impact do cities have as centres for civic engagement and political innovation? What access do they offer to minorities and parallel societies? How can cities preserve their character, self-image, and specific appeal against the background of increasing globalisation and standardisation? The symposium will be accompanied by cultural events like a film night in cooperation with the television network ARTE and the movie theatre Schauburg Karlsruhe, as well as a reading and a theatre play at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (State Theatre of Baden, Karlsruhe). The Karlsruhe Dialogues are significantly supported by the Stiftung Kunst und Kultur (Art and Culture Foundation) of the Sparda-Bank Baden-Württemberg and the city of Karlsruhe.

The conference will be conducted in German and English with the aid of simultaneous interpreters.


Concept and Scientific Convenorship:
Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Director of ZAK

Christine Melcher Dipl.-Angl.

Press and public relations:
Elisabeth Loeser, MA




With friendly support from:

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Arte Badisches Staatstheater  



Media partnership

YCBS – Youth Connected By Sounds
The International Youth Radio Station
Editor-in-chief: Mila Zaharieva-Schmolke



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