Symi Symposium

25th International Symi Symposium: “Which World in 2030? Addressing the Icarus Syndrome”, Rethymnon, Crete, 16–20 July 2023

“Dear Symi friends

The Covid19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine plunged our cosmos in a long, hazy phase of unpredictability . Long term strategies have been put into question creating new challenges for international organizations , states, entrepreneurs, politicians, researchers and academics.

As in the ancient Greek myth of Icarus , many of the problems we face today are related with the fact that we overpassed our limits and underestimated our weaknesses. This assumption is already provoking a big debate on the relevance of de – globalization or slow-balization, the need of harnessing rapid technological change, the urgency of including foresight in governance, the necessity of humanizing politics.

In the progressive sphere, this existential quest has prioritized the need for a coherent narrative that would combine a philosophically different, value based, approach to our cosmos with a realistic project for improving our imperfect but dynamic democratic and open societies according to a more inclusive, just and resilient model.

2030 was associated with the post economic crisis euphoria, before living under a crisis becomes the new normal. The UN pledged to transform the world by 2030. In fact, in September 2015, Heads of States and governments, committed to eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner.

The EU in the 2030 climate and energy framework set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the share of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Today, the geopolitical shifts prompted by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine created a sense of urgency to accelerate the green and digital twin transitions that have a bigger impact to people with low and medium income in term of jobs, access to digital public services, higher energy and good prices. However , there is also a big question mark on how the twin transitions will change profoundly labour markets and skills.

The discussion on deindustrialization and the return of economic nationalism due to geopolitical reasons is affecting also considerably the investment in green growth.

For public opinions , it becomes crucial how we can transform our priorities, our economies, the way we live and at the same time be ready to be resilient toward long term or unexpected crisis. The dual nature of the problem is particularly highlighted by the difficult choices associated with green transition.

Unpredictability in combination with the technological revolution deepens insecurity, consequently affecting transparency and democracy.

Furthermore, as we move towards a multipolar world, new impetus is needed for initiatives promoting peace and stability in a fluid geopolitical context. Authoritarianism , militarization of foreign policy and the new race for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons become increasingly dangerous.The use of technology for controlling individuals and undermine democracy proves the need of proactive regulation. AI tools like Bot GPT are already shaping the way of thinking of the new generation and our educational systems seem archaic in front of these new reality.

Looking towards 2030 and beyond , can we reconcile Cosmos and Anthropos, humans and AI, knowledge and hope? All the above issues will be discussed in a secluded and creative environment during the 25th International Symi Symposium on Rethymno, Crete.”

George A. Papandreou
f. Prime Minister of Greece – Founder of the Symi Symposium

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