Staged against the backdrop of the Stoa of Attalos in Athens' Ancient Agora, two years ago the International New York Times in cooperation with the United Nations Democracy Fund and the city of Athens, introduced the Athens Democracy Forum. A forum focused on the paramount topic of democracy, committed to enhance people's awareness on how they should be governed.
Planned to take place on September 13-15, 2015, the panels at this year's event will deal with the phenomenon of coalition governments and will question whether liberal democracy is in fact universally applicable. Other issues to be addressed are the impact of the growing concentration of wealth and income inequality; the rise of Islamic extremism; and the rapid expansion of new technologies and the great opportunities and dangers they face. The confirmed speaker line-up, among others, include Paul Krugman, Roger Cohen, Kishore Mahbubani and Valerie Plame.
Built on previous years' success the Athens Democracy Forum is established to provide high-level debate on pertinent topics of the current political issues, but this year the organisers plan to engage the broader community to deliver an "Agora of Democracy" that includes a series of affiliated events of cultural and educational nature.
These include a concert at Herod Atticus ancient theatre on the foot of the Acropolis where the composer and singer, Rufus Wainwright and renowned photographer Cindy Sherman have collaborated to produce ''Prima Donna'', a work commemorating Maria Callas with its world premiere on September 15 in Athens as the grand finale to Athens Democracy Forum; an international student debate at the Old Parliament of Athens followed by a Google hangout panel of political activists under house arrest; a lecture on the genesis of Democracy and its relevance today; curated cultural tours of the Ancient Agora and Acropolis Museum.
All this and more will take place at the time of the conference and will attract a larger international audience, projecting a more positive contribution to society on the evolution of democracy - from its very birthplace to the rest of the world.
Hope to see you beneath the Acropolis. www.athensdemocracyforum.com