UNDEF partners with New York Times in fifth annual Athens Democracy Forum

The annual Athens Democracy Forum was held on 13-17 September 2017, organized for the fifth year by The New York Times in cooperation with the UN Democracy Fund and Athens City Hall. This year’s programme included discussions on the future of polling, political discourse in the post-truth era, bridging the generational gap, the power of the political cartoonist, and progress towards the Global Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Secretary-General sent a message of support to the Forum, linked here. Speakers included former UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan, who delivered the Aristotle Lecture, at the Presidential Mansion, where he referenced UNDEF's role in supporting grassroots democracy; President of Greece  Prokopios Pavlopoulos; Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallström; Mayor of Athens Georgios Kaminis; former Prime Minister of Spain Felipe González, who was awarded the City of Athens Democracy Award;New York Times CEO Mark Thompson; New York Times writers Roger Cohen, Steven Erlanger, James Bennet; editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte; and UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill, whose remarks can be read here (PDF). 

Sessions were held at the Zappeion in the National Gardens of Athens; the Stoa of Attalos in the Ancient Agora of Athens – the very birthplace of democracy; and Costa Navarino, a sustainable destination in Messinia, southwest Peloponnese.

Themes at this year's Forum included democracy and conflict prevention; the role of international organizations; political discourse in the post-truth era; the future of polling; and bridging the generational gap.

An interactive lunch in support of the Sustainable Development Goals was hosted by Marianna Vardinoyannos, President of the Marianna V Vardinoyannos Foundation, focusing on climate action and reducing inequalities. Read the remarks of Annika Savill to the SDG lunch here (PDF).

An exhibition on democracy at the Hellenic Children's Museum was opened by the Mayor of Athens and UNDEF Executive Head, Annika Savill, whose remarks at the opening can be read here.

For further information about the Forum, please go here.