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2019 RSA CEE Conference Plenary Speakers

Metropolises and Peripheries of CEE Countries: New Challenges for EU, National and Regional Policies

Plenary Session: Polarisation and peripheralisation in CEE

Thilo Lang, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Department for Regional Geography of Europe, Germany: “Responding to increasing socio-economic Polarisation in CEE”

Thilo Lang is Head of Department at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig, and lecturer at the Global and European Studies Institute of the University of

Leipzig. He completed his doctorate in Human Geography at University of Potsdam, Germany and at Durham University, UK. His research interests include polarisation processes at multiple levels, innovation outside agglomerations, regional change, transnational comparative urban and regional studies, and shrinking cities and urban regeneration.




Ilona Pálné Kovács, Institute for Regional Studies, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary: “Governance turn and territorial polarisation in CEE countries”

Ilona Pálné Kovács is a reserach professor at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Science, and a full-time professor at the Department for Political Science and International Studies at the University of Pécs.

She graduated as a lawyer (1978), obtained a PhD (1988), had been appointed a doctor by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2000), followed by her habilitation (University of Pécs, 2003). She deals with the management of regional policy, regional governance and local governments and is a leader of a doctoral programme for political studies at the University of Pécs. Ilona conducted many domestic and international projects and has participated in several FP, ESF, INTERREG, TEMPUS, ESPON, UNESCO, CoR, DG Regio programmes.

Several times she has been a member of think tanks of the national government and Council of Europe, Soros Foundation, World Bank, AER, preparing legislation and other documents, reports on local government, and regional development.

She was elected as a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2013. Having published hundreds of publications, one of her recent ones is: “Cohesion Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: the challenge of learning”, In: Piattoni, S. and Polverari, L. (Eds.) (2016) Handbook on Cohesion Policy and the EU, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 302-325.

Plenary Session: EU Cohesion Policy and CEE

Ronnie Hall BA D PHIL, formerly European Commission, Directorate General

Dr Hall worked for the European Commission from 1989 until 2018. His responsibilities were principally in the field of policy development in the Directorate General responsible for European Union regional and urban development policies (‘REGIO’).

Between 1999 and 2004, he was Deputy Chief Adviser to Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner responsible for regional policy at that time. In November 2004, Dr Hall was appointed director in REGIO, before assuming the role of senior advisor to the Director General in October 2012 with responsibility for International Cooperation on regional policy, chair of the Commission’s Northern Ireland Task Force and adviser to the annual European Week of Regions and Cities. Following official retirement from the Commission at the end of 2018, Dr Hall has since been retained by REGIO as Senior Expert on International Cooperation.

He has published various articles on European regional policy and a book with Alasdair Smith and Loukas Tsoukalis, Competitiveness and Cohesion in EU Policies (Oxford University Press, 2001).

In 2005 he received an award from the French government as member (Chevalier) of the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur. In 2009, he was appointed as member (“academician”) in the British Academy of Social Sciences. During the second semester of the 2010-2011 academic year, Dr Hall was Visiting EU Fellow to the University of Miami. In 2015, the Regional Studies Association awarded him the inaugural Regional Leadership Award for Practice and Policy.

RSA Polish Section Plenary Session: Social and Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe: Stability and Change after 1990

Grzegorz Gorzelak, Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw, Poland

Grzegorz Gorzelak is a professor of economics, specialising in regional and local development, regional policies and strategy building. Until 2016, he has been the director of the Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG) at the University of Warsaw. He has coordinated several national and international research projects; the most recent ones are the ESPON TERCO project on territorial cooperation and the FP7 project “Growth – Innovation – Competitiveness: Fostering Cohesion in Central and Eastern Europe” (GRINCOH).

He has collaborated with the World Bank, OECD, DG Regio of the European Commission, and several agencies of Polish and Ukrainian governments, as well as regional and local authorities.

G. Gorzelak has published (as author and editor) over 50 books (several of them in English) and 260 articles. He is Editor-in Chief of a quarterly scientific journal “Studia Regionalne i Lokalne” and former president of the Polish Section of the Regional Studies Association.

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