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Symi 2014: Redirect military expenditure to ensure a sustainable future, by Kumi Naidoo


Last year $1.74tn was spent on the world's military, according to new estimates released by the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI) earlier this year. Seems like a lot? Let me put this into perspective. This amount is the equivalent of Canada's GDP or twice the GDP of the Netherlands.

Symi 2014: The Challenge of Deliberative Democracy, by James Fishkin


Deliberative democracy is a practical answer to a philosophical question: what would the people think about an issue under good conditions for thinking about it? Why is that a philosophical question? How is it a practical answer? What does this add to democracy as we know it in real political systems around the world?

Symi 2014: Post EURO Elections, by Mary Kaldor


Nationalism is a way of deflecting discontent towards a convenient scapegoat, an ‘other’ – the immigrant or Europe. It is a way of mobilizing political support while avoiding any commitment to address the underlying causes of discontent; that’s why it is often described as populism. Xenophobia and euroscepticism can never offer any constructive solutions. On the contrary, the more the nationalist rhetoric succeeds, the more our problems multiply and the more we blame the ‘other’.

Symi 2014: All power corrupts and the development of this power will corrupt us totally, by Anthony Barnett


Two of the great themes of the Symi seminars since I have been privileged to attend the seminars in 2005 have been citizen empowerment, especially by making a reality of participative and deliberative democracy and trying to follow and analyse the consequences of corporate capture of power globally, and its dire consequences for the environment. Both of these themes are a response to the weakening of the traditional, twentieth century state with its mass parties and commitment to welfare.

Symi 2014: Toward a democratic governance of the Internet and more democracy for all, by Jean-Christophe Nothias


  As a media editor and a co-founder of the Just Net Coalition launched in New Delhi, India, in February 2014, I was one of the many contributors to the NetMundial meeting in Sao Paulo and to the recent WSIS+10 High Level Event in Geneva. This paper is a short introduction to the very fascinating issue of seeing how we can introduce more democracy within Internet governance – and not just how to best use Internet in our democratic mechanism.

15th Annual Symi Symposium

14-18 July, 2014
Symposium Image: 

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.

Symi Symposium Interviews

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