17th Annual Symposium


 Population movements in a changing world

After thirteen years, the Symposium is reconvening at the birthplace of Hippocrates, the island of Kos, aiming to generate a creative thinking on a number of timely issues. 

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17th Annual Symposium

10-14 July 2016
Symposium Image: 


 Population movements in a changing world

After thirteen years, the Symposium is reconvening at the birthplace of Hippocrates, the island of Kos, aiming to generate a creative thinking on a number of timely issues. 

16th Annual Symi Symposium

19-24 July 2015
Symposium Image: 

"Cultivating inclusiveness in times of crisis"


The theme of this year’s Symi is Cultivating inclusiveness in times of crises. During the Symposium, panel discussions will be organized around the following topics: The consequences of the conflict in Syria and ISIL in Mid-Eastern societies; cultural and religious co-existence: positive examples and new challenges; the Eastern Mediterranean in a challenging neighborhood; the economic crisis in Europe and the need for a paradigm shift.

When Africa Unites | Kumi Naidoo | SUR | Jul 2016

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ABSTRACT Following hundreds of years of oppression under colonial rule and decades as a pawn in a bipolar world, Africa has been left a damaged continent. Here Kumi Naidoo explains this historical context in which a new pan-African civil society initiative is developing, of which he is the start-up director. After examining various prior attempts to create civil society unity in Africa and suggesting why they have all failed, the author offers a glimpse at what the new Africa Civil Society Initiative might look like. Acknowledging that it is still in its infancy, Naidoo describes the consultation process that is being used to better understand what civil society means in Africa today and how consensus can be achieved in such a diverse environment. He concludes by outlining the kinds of activities that will be undertaken at the outset to implement the six cross cutting thematic areas that have so far been identified.


Over the past few years the global media has repeatedly referred to the phenomenon of “Africa Rising” to describe the ongoing looting of natural resources and illicit financial outflows from the continent. This confirms that the earlier models of colonisation have not ended, but have merely been adjusted and refined and are now conducted and presented behind the veneer of liberation and democracy of African people.

Richard Parker: Hillary Clinton can address income inequality, if... | #Symi2016


Following Session 4 "The impact of the US Presidential elections in foreign policy and the global agenda" Richard Parker talks about what he considers critical to a succesful Clinton Presidency, as well as candidancy.

BREXIT and disintegrating civilisations | Mary Kaldor | Open Democracy - 29.06.2016

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Mary Kaldor is Professor of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and Political Science and author of ‘New and Old wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era’ 3rd edition, 2012. This article was first published on opendemocracy.net on 29th of June 2016.

It is a mistake to assume that the Brexit decision results from a democratic process. The only way to overcome the polarisation and division is through a genuinely democratic process.

The vote to leave Europe seems to have set off a spate of events spinning in different and dangerous directions. The two main political parties are falling apart. Scottish politicians are already a tabling a second referendum on the independence of Scotland. Sinn Fein politicians are talking about a referendum on a united Ireland. European leaders are calling for haste in separating Britain from the rest of Europe – a haste that will not insulate them from what has happened in Britain and indeed may have the opposite consequences from what they intended.

To me, it feels like the disintegration of Yugoslavia or the events that led to the First World War, where every wrong step contributed to the next wrong step. No-one can assume that these processes of disentanglement will be amicable or smooth. Already hate crime is on the rise in Britain.

The Amman Message | 09.11.2004

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The Amman Message was brought up in Session Two of this year's Symi Symposium. The Amman Message was delivered by His Eminence Sheikh Izz-Eddine Al- Khatib Al-Tamimi, Advisor to His Majesty King Abdullah II for Islamic Affairs, Chairman of the Iftaa’ Council and Chief Justice of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah at the Hashimiyeen Mosque on the occasion of Laylet Al Qader in November 2004.

November 9, 2004

George A. Papandreou: Opening speech | 19.07.2015

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends


First a word to our newcomers:

Welcome to our Symi Symposium
We hope this will be a unique experience for you.

A number of reasons:

1) we bring together a special group of people to discuss openly, freely, passionately about how we hope to change things in our world. Minds, experience, youthful enthusiasm combine to brainstorm on the complex and daunting challenges of our time

2) we do so in the most informal way. Dress as you like. Bring in your spouses, partners, children, to participate, they are most welcome.

Roger Dib: The perspective of Lebanon Vis a Vis the challenge of a peaceful coexistence between different religions.

Prime Minister and esteemed participants,

Let me start by thanking the Organizers of this symposium for the importance and timeliness of the subject and the richness of background of the participants; we all look forward to a fruitful and open exchange that will enrich our engagement to the crucial objective of enhancing inclusiveness in times of crisis, fully aware that inclusiveness becomes more difficult in times of crisis.

Nathan Gardels: Breakthrough Before Breakdown - Why Governance Matters

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Some short excerpts from a book Nathan Gardels is writing with Nicolas Berggruen, “Breakthrough Before Breakdown: Why Governance Matters”, that might be useful for the discussion on inclusive participation.

Introduction excerpt:

1. The world today faces two competing futures -- a world coming together through the convergence of new exponential technologies that promises an era of prosperity and opportunity for all, or a world splitting apart through ardent religious warfare, bitter partisanship, revived nationalism and the return of geopolitical blocs. While globalization and rapid technological advance empower some with unprecedented possibilities, they dispossess others, causing growing gaps in power and wealth that lead in turn to fear, resentment and violence.

Ivan Vejvoda: Insecurity in Greece Poses Risk to the Balkans

Even as a compromise was found to halt an imminent Grexit (temporary or otherwise) this week, Greece’s situation, and even its euro membership, remains tenuous. In this context it is hard to remember that back in the 1990s, Greece was a crucial anchor of stability on the southern and southeastern flank of Europe and NATO. When Yugoslavia imploded and disintegrated, Greece was a rare example in the region of a successful EU and NATO member. It demonstrated a possible future of democratic stability and economic prosperity to the countries that would emerge from the break-up of Yugoslavia.

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