Building a community consensus in Switzerland – the example of Zurich (abstract)

Speaker: Ambros Uchtenhagen (Institut für Suchtforschung, University of Zurich, Switzerland)

An interactive debate with Dr. Thilo Beck, medical director of NGO ARUD; M.A. Michael Herzig, Coordinator of drug services in the City Administration; Major Felix Lengweiler, Special Services of the City Police; PD Dr. Uwe Serduelt, political scientist at Zurich University; Prof. Ambros Uchtenhagen (Moderator), Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction at Zurich University.

The city of Zurich, known for its international banking and the exclusive shopping mall “Bahnhofstrasse”, was excessively hit by an expanding drug market, and it initiated some of the policy changes in the early 1990s: harm reduction approaches, decentralised and low threshold services for drug users, new policing strategies. The policy implementation and its evolution over time are the focus of the debate.

After a short introduction, some of the leading questions will be: which specific networks have enabled conceptualisation and political decisions?; how has the city administration adapted national policy to local conditions?; did local politics influence national policies?; how has the leading NGO responded to old and new challenges?; what was and is the role of the media?; what are the developments in policing strategy at the street level?; forms and problems of cooperation at the interface?; which role have had and have business circles and citizens associations?; what comes next, and how does it fit into the national policy?; what if it happened again 20 years later?


Ambros Uchtenhagen

Michael Herzig was born in 1965. Education: Master Of Arts (History and Political Science), University of Bern, Switzerland, Executive Master Of Business Administration, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland; Profession: Director of Drug Services within the Zurich City Administration: Harm Reduction Facilities for Drug Users and Alcoholics, Medical Prescription of Heroin and Methadone, Outreach Work and Drug Testing, Working Programs Prevention and Harm Reduction for Sex Workers.

Felix Lengweiler was born in 1967 in Switzerland. Education and Qualifications: 1974-1980: Primary School, Frauenfeld, CH; 1980-1986: Cantonal School, Frauenfeld, CH, Matura Type B, University: 1987-1993: Master in Law (lic.iur.), University of Zurich, 2008-2009: Executive Master in International Negotiation and Policy-Making, Graduate Institute, Geneva; Professional Experience: 1994-1995: District Court of Münchwilen, CH, Trainee; 1995-1996: Lawyer's Office R. Strehler, Ettenhausen, CH, Trainee; 1997-2000: Federal Department of Defence, General Secretariat, Legal Services, Berne, Scientific Assistant; 2001-2002: Federal Department of Defence, General Secretariat, Staff Head of Department, Federal Council and Parliamentary Affairs, Berne, Scientific Advisor; 2003-2006: Federal Office for Migration, Asylum Procedures, Kreuzlingen, CH, head of section; 2007-2009: Zurich City Police, Commissariat Oerlikon, head of commissariat; 2009-today: Zurich City Police, Division “Focal Point”, head of division.

Uwe Imre Serdűlt, C2D – Centre for Research on Direct Democracy, ZDA – Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau, University of Zurich, Switzerland,

Uwe Imre Serdűlt was born in 1967. Current Position: Vice-Director C2D (Wissenschaftlicher Abteilungsleiter); Researcher and Lecturer; Teaching (current core courses, teaching as a lecturer since 2001): Cantonal and Local Direct Democracy in Switzerland, University of Zurich, Fall 2011; The Swiss Political System, replacement of Prof. Pascal Sciarini, University of Geneva, Spring 2010; Politics of the Internet: Governance, Policy-making and Democracy (with Fernando Mendez), Fall 2006: Networks in Political Science and  Introduction to Social Network Analysis, since Summer 2003 Theories of Institutions and Institutional Change (with Fernando Mendez), since Summer 2002; Research Experience: 2009: Voting behaviour of e-voters in the Canton of Geneva; 2007-2010: The Swiss Decision-Making System in the 21st Century: institutions, power, conflict, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. 2006: Internet voting platforms; 2006-2009: Comparative study on the rules regarding the financing of referendum campaigns and access to the media prior to a referendum; 2004: Actor Process Event Scheme – Development of a Software-Tool for the Visualisation and Analysis of Political Decision-Making Processes. Further professional experience: Organizer of a conference series on Applications of Social Network Analysis – ASNA; Invited lectures in Latin America, Western Europe and Asia (in English, German, French). Professional services for executive committees, scientific journals, and academic conferences. Contract research and consulting for various public authorities and international organizations. Research stays: University of Pittsburgh, USA (1999/2000); Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan (2002/2003).