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Event Reports

CIVITAS Academy 2022

Report on the conference from October 18th to 21st 2022

The 2022 CIVITAS Academy took place from 18th to 21st October in Bad Honnef. During this event, an international group of young and early career researchers presented their interdisciplinary research approaches on the history of Christian Democracy in Europe. This year’s Academy was planned and hosted by the Division Research Services / Archive of Christian-Democratic Policy of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

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The president of CIVITAS, Prof Renato Moro, extended a warm welcome to the participants in his opening remarks on Tuesday afternoon. Piotr Kosicki, Professor at the University of Maryland, used his guest lecture on Tuesday evening to present his research on a transnational network of individuals who tried to foster and boost Christian Democratic politicians in Latin America during the 1950s and 1960s.

Per Landgren, Visiting Scholar at the University of Oxford, started the Academy off on Wednesday with his opening lecture on Christian Democracy in Northern Europe. He focused in particular on the lessons Christian political philosophy can draw from existing within more and more secular societies.

After this stimulating lecture, the young researchers started to present their papers. The impressive thematic variety of their contributions showed clearly just how much potential for interdisciplinary, international research approaches remains in the national, european and global history of Christian Democracy.

On Wednesday, Simon Graham presented his paper on oppositional church groups in the German Democratic Republic with a particular focus on the assessment of these groups by the Staatssicherheit. Vincenco Cassarà focused his presentation on the manifold linkages between the Democrazia Christiana (DC) and the Sicilian Mafia in his hometown of Palermo. Cecilia Maria Bravis paper also touched on the DC, but concentrated on their relations to the Italian trade union of metal workers Fim-CISL in the 1970s.

Thursday started off with a presentation by Federico Ottavio Reho, who went back to the 19th century to discuss Constantin Frantz’ concept of a european confederation of nations. He was followed by Manuel Herrera Crespo with his paper on the role of Christian Democracy during the last years of the World Confederation of Labour and Jakov Žižić, who outlined the relations between Christian Democracy and the concept of Consociational Democracy.

The presentations were followed by intense and productive discussions among the young researchers and members of CIVITAS, who joined the Academy partly in person, partly via Zoom. Their constructive feedback and hints as to where to find further sources on their topics will prove invaluable for the future work of the young researchers.

On Thursday afternoon the participants of the Academy visited the Bundeskanzler-Adenauer-Haus foundation in Bad Honnef where they took part in a private tour of the residence of Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and founder of the CDU in Germany. The day ended with a convivial visit of the Weinhaus Steinbach in Bad Honnef.

The Academy ended on Friday with a visit to the Archive of Christian-Democratic Policy (ACDP) of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Sankt Augustin. The Division head and general secretary of CIVITAS, Michael Borchard took the participants along on an interesting, varied tour of the archive and explained current areas of focus, in particular the extensive ongoing digitization projects. These projects will enable ACDP to provide international scholars with easy access to core sources on the history of Christian Democracy.

The 2nd edition of the CIVITAS Academy ended on 21 October, following two and a half days of stimulating discussions, intriguing lectures and informative excursions. The positive feedback of the participants reinforced CIVITAS in its decision to continue with its Academy format, in order to provide young researchers on Christian Democratic history with further opportunities to present their findings and to connect with each other and CIVITAS.

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