Past Event

Reimagining Cities: Nations talk, cities act?

April 8, 2021
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

The outbreak of COVID-19 led to a hiatus in international relations. While the governmental level featured impasse (UN) and harsh negotiations (UE) to define a common strategy, the city level experienced a blossoming of initiatives aimed at harnessing the potential of collective intelligence, cooperation, and solidarity.

The majority of the over 200 active city networks deployed cooperative tools and platforms to that purpose, whose outcomes have been made readily available to the world.

What will be the impact of such an approach on the reshuffle of international relations that this pandemic seems destined to generate? Can cities stimulate a collaborative turn in international relations towards a more sustainable and just future?


Nilda Mesa, Adjunct Professor at SIPA, Columbia University; faculty member at PSIA, Sciences Po


  • Mr François William Croteau, member of the executive council of the City of Montreal, in charge of the issues of smart cities, information technology, innovation and  higher education
  • Mr Sami Kanaan, Mayor of Geneva
  • Dr. Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi, Lecturer at PSIA-Sciences Po and Columbia University in Paris; Chair of Urban Flag


Q&A MODERATOR : Aliénor de Thoisy



Reimagining cities. Exploring global trends towards a new (urban) normal

Hit hard by what was revealed to be primarily an urban pandemic, cities across the world have been harnessing the potential of their proximity with residents, the private sector, and civil society to deploy rapid, innovative, and cost-effective solutions. Most of this innovation is likely to continue as part of a broader movement led by numerous mayors committed to boldly re-direct urban development towards environmental sustainability, social equality, and resilience.

Designed by Dr. Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi, instructor of City Diplomacy at Sciences Po – PSIA, the École Polytechnique, and Columbia in Paris, this conference series aims at engaging distinguished mayors, scholars, practitioners, and students in a global discussion on the future of urban life in a post-pandemic world.