"What does it mean to historicize and to contextualize?," Adam Tooze, Professor of History and the Director of the European Institute at Columbia University, asks in his presentation about the dominant narrative of the 200-year history of conference diplomacy. He explains, that diplomatic history of the modern times tends to be narrated as a sequence of highlights and lowlights, arrayed along a U-shaped rollercoaster: at one end we have the aristocratic sophistication of the Congress of Vienna. At the other end we have the density and technical complexity of modern conference diplomacy. Along this trajectory it is commonplace to draw unfavorable contrasts. But how robust is this narrative of grand contrasts?
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Conference: 200 Years of Conference Diplomacy | From the Congress of Vienna to the G7
On 9 June 1815, the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna was signed. Two hundred years later, on 7 and 8 June 2015, Germany hosted the G7 summit. This coincidence provided a unique occasion to reflect on the past, present and future of conference diplomacy. For this purpose, an international conference with eminent political scientists and historians took place at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin on 8 and 9 June 2015. Researchers as well as political practitioners discussed the lessons of 200 years of multilateral cooperation, in four crucial areas: inclusion, effectiveness, legitimacy, and international order.