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Subject:15th Annual Symi Symposium

15th Annual Symi Symposium

"Re-imagining Democracy"

The 2014 Symi Symposium "Re-imagining Democracy" will take place from July 14-18 on the island of Spetses.

This year, we gather to exchange views on how to address the crisis of representative democracy leading to citizens disengagement from political institutions and to a significant rise of populism. From austerity-weary Europe to the hyper-partisan United States to an Arab spring-turned-winter, citizens feel disempowered and unrepresented in the political process. Such sentiments have fueled widespread societal angst and, in some cases, extremism.

Increasingly, our national democracies are proving ineffective at solving cross border challenges. At the same time, the absence of balanced and effective global governance structures and regulations has exacerbated many of our common challenges, such as climate change, financial regulation and tax evasion.

The 2014 Symi Symposium will examine a number of problems currently affecting democracy around the world. Growing inequality not only in developing but also in developed states, affects citizens, corporations and governments.

Can democracy be retooled in order to mitigate concentration of power— a concern that was at the heart of the political debate in Ancient Greece? In this context, it will be interesting to explore how citizens empowerment can become an effective and transformative tool for a new quality of democracy.

For the first time, the 2014 Symi Symposium, in partnership with Re-Public and the Cambridge Foundation for Peace, will organize The Symi Young Leaders Project, a series of interactive workshops designed to strengthen participation in civil society networks and to generate innovative ideas for a creative post-crisis democratic Greek society. Hosted in parallel to the Symposium events, this pilot program will bring together selected academics, politicians and intellectuals from different national and cultural backgrounds to share their expert views on how to fertilize collective action in local communities and across borders.

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