Speakers for the 7th 'Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debate' Announced

The Border Focal Point Network is delighted to announce the speakers for the 7th edition of the ‘Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debate’ series. Border cities offer unique examples of cross-border cooperation and the challenges, opportunities and benefits that exist in border regions. This event, entitled 'Border Cities: Champions of Development and Integration in Cross Border Regions', will investigate the role of border cities in territorial development processes, as well as discussing a range of policy development proposals. Taking place on 10th March, 10:00-11:10 CET, the event promises to offer a balance of citizen-oriented and academic perspectives on border cities and territorial development. 

The event will begin with opening remarks from Nathalie Verschelde, Deputy Head of Unit at DG REGIO. Nathalie was raised on a border and her work has always focused on cooperation issues. In DG Regio, her work is principally to oversee the implementation of the Interreg programmes on all the internal borders of the EU, while also developing greater knowledge of cross-border regions in order to boost their developments and improve the governance of shared territories. 

Following Nathalie’s introduction we will hear from two citizens of borders cities:

  • Hanna-Leena Ainonen, who will present her experiences of living in the twin cities of Haparanda (SE)/Tornio (FI), sharing with the audience what day-to-day life is like for the citizens of border cities. Hanna-Leena is a Cross-border Development Specialist in Tornio-Haparanda. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Oulu and is experienced and skilled in Intercultural Communication, Public Speaking and Organization Skills. She is, therefore, an expert in cross-border development as a result of both her personal and professional life. 
  • Olga Afonso, who has been living on the border beetween Portugal and Spain for 16 years. She created a social movement called Frente Cívica Vilar Formoso-Fuentes de Oñoro, that intends to divulgate culture and natural resources in both sides of the border. This movement also intends to be a partner in the local governancy, detecting and providing solutions to local problems. She is a matemathics teacher.

After these presentations, we will hear interventions form three academic who specialise in border cities. Namely we will hear from: Eduardo Medeiros, Christophe Sohn, Bernard Reitel and Martin Klatt.

Christophe Sohn, who will speak on cross-border spatial planning in border cities, is an urban and political geographer and a senior researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research. His research agenda focuses on the ways national borders may represent an economic, political or symbolic resource for border cities and regions. He is particularly interested in the concept of cross-border metropolitan regions as the emblematic configuration of globalizing urban border regions. 

Bernard Reitel is, amongst other prestigious titles, Professor of Political and Urban Geography at the Artois University. The aim of his work is to decipher the effects of European construction on trans-border cities and regions in Europe and to question functional, institutional and symbolic integration from a multi-scalar perspective. He will be speaking on European policies for border cities.  

Martin Klatt will finish these academic interventions by speaking on rural border cities, before the conversation moves onto a panel discussion involving all speakers. Martin is Associate Professor at the Center of Border Region Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg. His research activities concentrate on national minorities in border regions, regional cross-border cooperation, cross-border regions in history and today, and cross-border regional governance. 

The conclusions will be given by Eduardo Medeiros, Geography Professor and an Integrated Research Fellow in DINÂMIA'CET-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal. He has a Ph.D. in Geography - Regional and Urban Planning, and around 200 publications. He has coordinated several international policy evaluation projects. He is also a member of the scientific and editorial committee of several journals and a peer reviewer of more than 35 international journals.


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