I look forward to welcoming you to Speyer for the 36th Annual Conference of the European Group for Public Administration, which will be jointly organized by the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer and the German Research Institute for Public Administration Speyer.
“Go to Spire!”, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe recommended in his “Goetz von Berlichingen”, as Speyer was a center of administrative expertise and imperial jurisdiction at the time. Yet it is still worth following his call even today. This 2000 year old cathedral city on the Upper Rhine once was the lordly center of the Holy Roman Empire. Today, the city charms visitors with its magnificent buildings from different eras, romantic streets and lively squares and promenades. Moreover, Speyer is well known for the Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, the world’s largest surviving Romanesque cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981.
The German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer was founded in 1947 as a state academy for administrative sciences. In 1950, the newly created German state of Rhineland-Palatinate reaffirmed the university’s status. The university’s unique position in the German higher education system results from its joint sponsorship by the federation since 1952 and all federal states since 1961. The “new” Eastern German states joint the University convention after re-unification in 1990. The university strives for excellence in three areas: postgraduate education; in-service training; and research. There are 17 full-fledged professorial chairs covering areas from Public Law, Administrative Sciences, Economics, Modern and Contemporary History, Sociology and Political Science. It is the multidisciplinary centre of teaching and research in the field of public administration in Germany.
The University strategically cooperates with the German Research Institute for Public Administration Speyer. The history of the German Research Institute for Public Administration goes back to 1962. It gained independence and distinction in 1976 when it became a member of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Association, a prestigious status exclusively awarded to institutions that conduct top-ranked application-oriented basic research in their specific areas. The institute’s mission is to conduct “research on and for public administration”. It has more than 30 professorial members and hosts more than 40 research fellows.
In this combination of University and Institute, Speyer was intellectually crucial for the development of EGPA. It was the “Speyer Conference” of 1968 and subsequent conferences up to 1974 at which important steps were taken for bringing together European academics in the administrative sciences. These efforts led to the foundation of EGPA/GEAP as a sub-group of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS). Thus it is somewhat appropriate to celebrate the 40th anniversary of EGPA in Speyer next year.
It is a great pleasure for me as Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for the EGPA Conference to invite you all to what promises to be inspiring and profound academic discussions in a city with an interesting history and Palatinate charm, cheerfulness and culinary delights.
Professor Dr. Michael W. Bauer
Jean Monnet Professor for Comparative Public Administration and Policy Analysis and member of the German Research Institute for Public Administration Speyer