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General Information

Radical (Dis)Engagement: State – Society – Religion

Constant political uncertainties. Climate change. Demographic transformation. Continual re-thinking of societal coherence in times of diversity. New technologies that will redefine the notion of work. All these challenges are often met with reactions ranging from resignation to proactive ignorance, both on the individual and wider social, cultural, and national levels. The lack of knowledge and tolerance increasingly erupt in aggression and violence against others, taking the place of critical reflection and civic engagement. Trust in institutional structures, political procedures and information (re)sources has been replaced by mistrust and disengagement. The belief in an open and tolerant society and our individual agency has been undermined.


In order to develop strategies and methods to meet the immense challenges of our time, this summer school suggests engaging in academic contemplation and interdisciplinary exchange. Analyzing both engagement as well as disengagement in terms of the relationship of the individual to social, political, and economic structures offers us the opportunity of developing disruptive intellectual approaches and ideas, as we can gain insights into political, social, economic, and cultural forces that make us believe that the challenges we face are essential, natural, and inevitable. Such analysis offers us not only an understanding of our own alliances on an individual, a regional, national, and global level, but also the possibility of moving from a passive position to active involvement in transformation processes in order to become agents of change by an authentic reformulation of our identities.


An analysis of present and past (dis)engagement with state, society, and religion, will offer insights into the dynamics and structures that govern us as individuals. The summer school will provide more questions than answers, and will allow us to investigate the different approaches to the definitions of state, society, and religion, and their interconnectedness. Focusing on the emphasis areas of the University of Graz – South Eastern Europe and North, Central and South America – this program will offer a basis for discussing global and continental challenges as well as opportunities that change entails.


Roberta Maierhofer

for the Academic Advisory Board



The Graz International Summer School Seggau is designed for internationally oriented, highly motivated students from all disciplines, who wish to deepen their understanding of current European and international affairs by studying and discussing global developments and challenges within the context of transformation processes and demographic change reflecting aspects of individual, social, political, religious, cultural, literary, regional, economic, cohort and national identities.


The University of Graz organizes the summer school in cooperation with the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the Diocese Graz-Seckau. The Office of International Relations of the University of Graz acts as the coordinating unit. Prof. Roberta Maierhofer (Center for Inter-American Studies) is the academic director.

Summer School Academic Director: Roberta Maierhofer, Center for Inter-American Studies

Summer School Academic Co-Director: Barbara Ratzenböck, Center for Inter-American Studies 

Representative of the Diocese Graz-Seckau: Christine Rajic
Representative of the Comece: Michael Kuhn
Contact at the University of Graz: Urša Marinšek (teachers and students)



  • Interdisciplinary co-operation of teachers and students on the cultural, intellectual and historical dimensions of current European and International affairs in view of their positioning in a globalized world. 
  • Presentation in research and teaching of focus areas of the University of Graz – South Eastern Europe and North, Central and South America. 
  • Development and education of young leaders of tomorrow in the fields of politics, administration, business, science, culture and religion.


The venue of the summer school is Seggau Castle located 40 km south of Graz, Austria.

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