Pressemitteilung der Universität Duisburg-Essen

New Käte Hamburger Collegium for Political Cultures of World Society

An International Centre of Excellence for research on international cooperation

[15.02.2011] A great success for the North Rhine-Westphalian research community is the impending acquisition of the International Centre for Advanced Studies on Political Cultures of World Society. An international panel of experts recommended the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to set up the Centre for a period of six years. The Collegium harks back to an initiative of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, KWI) in Essen and will probably start work at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) at the end of the year. Also involved in the project are the German Development Institute (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, DIE) and, for the UDE, the Institute for Development and Peace (Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden, INEF).

International Consortia for Research in the Humanities (“Käte Hamburger Collegia”) have been funded by the BMBF since 2007. They make significant contributions to basic research and bring about structural changes in the German research environment, while ensuring international visibility of German landmark research projects in the humanities, the study of civilisation and the social sciences. A Käte Hamburger Collegium receives up to EUR 2 million in support each year. This generous financial endowment enables them to recruit outstanding fellows from Germany and abroad. Regular colloquies, workshops, summer schools and annual international conferences ensure public visibility and fruitful exchanges.

The International Centre for Advanced Studies will focus on the possibility and potentials of global cooperation. As an intellectual laboratory, its aim is to explore plausible designs for a culturally diversified world society and a global policy shaken by multiple crises and struggling for legitimacy. The Centre will be seeking close contacts with policy-makers, diplomats and representatives of civil society and will combine basic with applied research with the specific aim of
• facilitating cultural understanding,
• establishing a global culture of democratic cooperation and participation and
• reforming international regimes.

The Centre will be headed by Tobias Debiel (INEF/UDE), Claus Leggewie (KWI) and Dirk Messner (DIE). Divided into four clusters, researchers and internationally renowned fellows will introduce research perspectives from a wide range of disciplines – from the social and natural sciences and the study of civilisation and from the fields of policy-making, advocacy and consultancy. They will develop interdisciplinary processes of discussion and research. Applied to selected fields of global governance (such as climate change, state sovereignty and intervention), obstacles to and opportunities for global cooperation and the normative foundations of a culturally diversified world society will be identified and analysed.

Facilitating a global culture of democratic participation

Political cultures are an underrated factor in international negotiating arenas and in the legitimising of solutions found to global problems. The Centre will therefore take a cohesive view of cultural premises and dynamics of the structures of order and governance in today’s world society. “Interdisciplinary search processes and institutional imagination are needed if light is to be shed on conditions for international cooperation in the 21st century. That is what we can achieve with this internationally oriented Centre,” Claus Leggewie promises.

The Centre will depart from the current approaches in that
• it will adopt an interdisciplinary approach when developing theories on the state of knowledge of the foundations and pitfalls of cooperation between people, cultures, states and societies,
• it will have a strong basis in regional research and in the theory of democracy,
• its horizon in terms of the history and comparison of cultures will be wide and
• its sectoral expertise will be honed on current decision-making processes.

“The Collegium will provide stimulation for the priority area of ‘change in current societies’ at the University of Essen-Duisburg, but it will also benefit from the national and international expertise in its immediate environment. It will sharpen the research profile and make a major contribution to the university’s internationalisation,” emphasises Professor Tobias Debiel, head of the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) at the UDE.

“The Collegium will be able to take advantage of the global cooperation network of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). The Collegium and the DIE will also benefit equally from future cooperation on climate change and the regulation of financial markets, for example,” says DIE-Director Dirk Messner with confidence. All three institutions have proven expertise in research on global governance and interculturality to contribute to the International Centre for Advanced Studies.

Further Information:
Prof. Dr. Tobias Debiel
Telephone: +49 (0)203-379-2021,

About the Käte Hamburger Collegia:

Media Contacts:
Beate H. Kostka
University of Duisburg-Essen / Universität Duisburg-Essen
Telephone: +49 (0)203-379-2430

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