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The US Consulate General in Düsseldorf and the Academy co-organised two panel discussions evaluating the potential of subnational diplomacy in building meaningful partnerships. The event was part of the NRW-USA year commemorating the transatlantic partnership and celebrating the close cooperation this friendship has created.

Partnerships on many communal and regional levels have been an important building bloc of bilateral relations between states that often lead to longstanding cooperation and close ties in areas such as culture, economy and politics, which can also help to overcome moments of crisis. In the relationship between the US and Germany, the establishment and continuation of partnerships has been an important factor in sustaining good mutual relations on many different levels.
The invited experts discussed how subnational actors can learn from each other through the instrument of subnational and urban diplomacy and how instances of such partnerships can drive future-oriented political change. Representatives of three cities (Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Duisburg), an expert from the German Marshall Fund and US Consul General Pauline Kao came together on the first roundtable to exchange their experience and thoughts. Each of them underlined how important subnational diplomacy is. They talked about the practice of urban diplomacy, i.e. the strategies pursued by cities to push certain issues like democracy and participation, and discussed the conditions under which such endeavours can succeed.
The second round of speakers from the university of Duisburg-Essen, IDOS and ICLEI shared their insights on the nature of exchange between sister cities in Germany and China, cooperation in vital sectors as energy supply and the relevance of people-to-people contacts beyond official channels of diplomacy. Some current and future challenges like the return of great power thinking that may overshadow initiatives of subnational diplomacy and the need for collaborate efforts of cities, e.g. to form regional clusters, were also discussed.

The event was attended by 40 people at AIA NRW and several online participants, ensuing in a lively discussion between the speakers and audience.


Lisa Hartmann
Public Relations and Events Officer

Academy of International Affairs NRW, Rheinallee 24, 53173 Bonn - Bad Godesberg


Open to public

Please register for this event by sending an e-mail to:


Cooperation partner:
U.S. Consulate General in Düsseldorf

Event language: