my European journey…

  • began in Weimar, Thuringia, amid the legacy of Goethe and Schiller, the short-lived 1919 Weimar Republic constitution, and the Bauhaus movement – a rich cultural backdrop overshadowed by the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp and the stark division of East and West Germany;
  • it led me to pursue higher education in West Germany, notably at the Leibniz-Kolleg at the University of Tübingen, the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Studien in Bielefeld, and the University of Munich. Later, I ventured into post-Franco Spain for field research and journalistic investigations in Madrid and the Spanish periphery, studying their journey toward regional autonomy. This research phase culminated in a PhD in social and political sciences at the European University Institute in Florence.
  • As a passionate teacher, researcher, and author in comparative political sociology and European integration, I traveled extensively to universities in Barcelona (UAB), Heidelberg, Mannheim, Koblenz-Landau, and Bremen/BiGSSS. My international experience included a visiting professorship in Cornell University’s Government department in Ithaca, NY, participating in the EU’s Higher Education Exchange Program at Changchun University in China, lecturing European Studies Programs at the University of Celaya in Mexico, and working with RGGU and PFUR in Moscow, and the Centre for European Studies in Manipal, India.
  • At home in Germany’s smallest city state, in Hansestadt Bremen, I founded and chaired the Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies (CEuS, 2001–2016), contributed to the establishment of the interdisciplinary BA program “Integrated European Studies” at Bremen University, and helped establish the BremerEuropaZentrum, dedicated to bring the EU closer to our fellow-citizens.
  • The international financial and Euro-crisis inspired me to run as a B90/Grüne candidate in the 2019 European parliamentary elections, for which I authored the booklet “Europa erneuern” (“Renew Europe”), offering a democratic vision for the EU in the 21st century.
  • My experiences as an official observer of the “Conference on the Future of Europe” (2021–2022), the most fascinating democratic innovations on a transnational scale to date, led me back to Florence to join the “Democratic Odyssey” team at the EUI’s School of Transnational Governance (since 2022). This project heads towards an innovative milestone: a standing, but decentralised People’s Assembly for Europe, travelling from Athens to Vienna to Florence and so on. This journey will engage more and more people with participatory and deliberative innovations, help revitalise a civic culture of dialogue and mutual care and, if sustainable, pave the way towards a novel kind of eco-demoicracy.