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The Athens Dialogues - An International Conference on Culture and Civilization


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Aug. 4 2009
Athens Dialogues Announcement

An international dialogue on Greek culture and its role in modern society has begun in Athens, on the initiative of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, with a view to organizing an international conference in collaboration with eigtht acclaimed acedemic institutions in Europe and the United States of America: the Academy of Athens, the Accademia dei Lincei, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the German Archaeological Institute, the Institut de France, the University of Harvard (Center for Hellenic Studies), the University of Oxford and Stanford University.

The organizing committee of the international conference The Athens Dialogues met in Athens last weekend (3-5 April 2009). The conference will take place from the 24th to the 27th of November 2010 on the occasion of the inauguration of the Foundation’s Onassis Cultural Center-Athens.

The organizing and scientific committee consists of 40 prominent members of the Greek and international scholarly community. During the meeting, the members of the organizing committee, presided by the Onassis Foundation’ s President, Mr. Anthony Papadimitriou and the organizing committee’ s President, Professor George Babiniotis, analyzed the axes and shaped the thematic sessions on which the conference will be based.

The conference will tackle issues that preoccupy the modern man on the basis of Hellenic thinking. The novelty of the conference is pursued through the following ways:

  • The multidisciplinary / interdisciplinary approach of all thematic units
  • The diachronic sense of Hellenic thinking, as it has been formed throughout the years
  • The innovative organizational structure of the conference which starts early in the period of preparation through the web portal

Placed at the heart of the dialogue, the issues faced by modern man will be examined on the basis of classical Hellenic thinking and its evolution over the centuries. What is sought is to trigger a fruitful reflection which is expected to develop not only while the conference is being held but also during its preparation.

The interesting proposals and views heard at the plenary session of the organizing committee formed the six thematic sessions of the conference:

A. Identity and Difference

B. Stories and History

C. Word and Art

D. Democracy and Governance

E. Science and Ethics

F. Quality of Life

Upon completion of the meeting, Mr. Papadimitriou and Professor Babiniotis emphasized the importance of the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach as a key pillar of development issues.

The conference aims to become known to the wider public and, above all, to reach young people not only through the web portal which is to operate soon but also through its organizational structure which encourages both the dialogue and the exchange of views at all stages of the conference’s preparation. The conference’s portal will include, through a world map (google map), all the Greek Studies Chairs worldwide as well as those researchers who use Hellenic thinking as a pillar of reflection on the approach of their subject knowledge. In addition, there will be pre-publishment of the conference’s main announcements [in late May 2010] in order to allow time for an open and fruitful dialogue -open to the wider public- concerning the six thematic sessions.

Among its main speakers, the conference is intended to include scientists, artists, journalists, philosophers, creators and intellectuals who approach Greek civilization in a modern and creative spirit. The speakers as well as the public will attend the symposium by invitation only. However, the meeting will be available to watch through the web portal.

This post is also available in: Greek