The annual Athens Democracy Forum was held on 14-19 September 2018, organized for the sixth time by The New York Times in cooperation with the UN Democracy Fund and Athens City Hall. As in previous years, the Forum coincides with the International Day of Democracy.
This year’s programme centred around the theme Democracy in Danger: Solutions for a Changing World, featuring discussions such as The Allure of the Illiberal: Are there flaws in the classic models of democracy?; When Technology Collides with Citizenship: How are rapid technological advances changing the nature of politics?; Identity, Diversity and Inclusion: How can democracies preserve human rights amidst pervasive populist backlashes?; and The Business of Business: Do companies today have a greater responsibility to society, and when is engagement good for business? Venues included the Zappeion in the National Gardens of Athens; the Stoa of Attalos in the Ancient Agora of Athens – the very birthplace of democracy; the Acropolis Museum; and Costa Navarino, a sustainable destination in Messinia, southwest Peloponnese.
The Mayor of Athens also presented the annual City of Athens Democracy Award to Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique, who transformed the conflict-ridden nation into one of Africa’s most successful democracies.
Speakers at the Forum included writer and academic Yascha Mounk; Mayor of Athens Georgios Kaminis; New York Times President and CEO Mark Thompson; New York Times writers Roger Cohen and Steven Erlanger; Diplomat and academic Kishore Mahbubani; Chinese contemporary artist Ai Wei Wei; Italian philosopher-designer Brunello Cucinelli; Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ouided Bouchamaoui; and UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill, whose remarks at the Stoa of Attalos can be read here.
An UNDEF-convened panel focused on economic empowerment of Arab youth to strengthen threatened democracies and prevent extremism, sponsored by Silatech, a social development organization based in Qatar. The remarks of UNDE Executive Head, Annika Savill can be read here.
An annual exhibition on children and democracy at the Hellenic Children’s Museum was closed by the Mayor of Athens and UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill, whose remarks can be read here.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres sent a message of support to the Forum, which can be read here.
Further information about the Forum can be found here.