Important note: The Diploma on Democracy has been cancelled
The Diploma consists of two workshops of three hours each. In every workshop, three rhetoricians (speakers) are invited to introduce the theme followed by at least 60 minutes of discussion. All attendees would receive an “Athenian Diploma in Democracy”.
Monday 13 July 2020
16:00 -16:30: Registrations – Refreshments
16:30-17:00: Welcome Addresses and Opening Speech by Gregory T. Papanikos, President, Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER). Basic Characteristics of Democracy in Classical Athena: Isocracy, Isonomy, Isegoria, Isoteleia and Isopoliteia.
Topics: The ethical superiority of democracy; role of citizens in small and large polities; the role of democratic institutions; applied models of democratic rule; direct vs. representative democracy; direct democracy and the optimal size of the polis; democracy at the local level; referendums; eligibility of the electorate (who should vote); eligibility of representatives (who should be allowed to run for office; mass and social media; fake news
Chair: Dr Branislav Radeljic (cv), Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, University of East London, UK.
Speakers (maximum 20 minutes each):
John Pavlik (cv), Professor, Rutgers University, USA. Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Considering How Technology, Politics and Economics are Threatening Press Freedom.
Independent and impartial journalism long has been a foundation of democratic society. Key to that independence and impartiality is freedom from censorship and other legal and regulatory constraints that can restrict journalism in its robust reporting and discourse on matters of public importance. Three factors have converged to threaten press freedom around the world. These factors include the development of networked digital technology, the rise of nationalism, and a shifting economic foundation for the news media. This paper examines how these factors have adversely affected press freedom, thereby weakening journalism in its vital role as a Fourth Estate, or informal branch of government that can act as a check on the other three (e.g., executive, legislative, judicial).
Dr Max Stephenson (cv), Professor of Public and International Affairs and Director, Institute for Policy and Governance, Virginia Tech – Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, USA. “Deep Stories,” Democracy and Agency.
The United States, Brazil, Poland, India and Britain, among other democratic nations, are today characterized by authoritarian populist leaders. To varying degrees and in different ways, each of these individuals has provided a share of voters in these countries a story that purports to “explain” why those individuals are feeling insecure socially and/or economically. In each case, these leaders have offered would-be supporters narratives that secure a special status in the social hierarchy for each and that also identify groupsalways vulnerable minorities of various sortsas a key source of their perceived woes. In nearly all of these nations, too, these leaders have offered some form or facet of democratic governance to voters as a companion source for their felt concerns as well. In the United States, for example, that target is Democrats serving in the national government who have been tarred as willing to provide special privileges to “undeserving” immigrants, refugees and minorities under an “other” (African American) President, Barack Obama. In Britain, the governance institutions of the European Union in the abstract have been targeted in this way. In these cases, as they offer governance as a scapegoat to voters, these leaders also undermine democratic legitimacy as they do so. In short, these stories matter as they erode the agency and human and civil rights of those groups or individuals identified as the cause of a share of the population’s perceived woes, and undercut democratic norms and values by imposing social cruelties on innocents and attacking governance norms and institutions. It is therefore critical to identify these “deep stories” and to counter them in the public square with fact-based counter narratives, not merely “facts” that can be rationalized away, and to do so in ways that dignify these misled and misguided citizens as one does so. This must occur so as, paradoxically, to honor the freedom of those otherwise visiting cruelties on their fellow citizensan exceptionally difficult and practical political task. If this challenge to democracy is not addressed successfully, we may expect the continued erosion of self-governing democratic norms and institutions in these nations and growing peril for a portion of their populations. I hope in this brief talk to highlight this central source of democracy’s current trial and describe its use as a mobilization tool, as well as suggest some ways the phenomenon of the “deep story,” the power of which is ingrained in the human psyche, may be addressed.
Dr Yannis Stivachtis (cv), Associate Professor, Jean Monnet Chair & Director of International Studies Program, Virginia Tech – Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, USA. Democracy and World Politics: The Standard of “Civilization in Contemporary International Society.
Since the end of the Cold War, democracy has come to represent the highest stage of “civilized” statehood, as well as embody the very idea of legitimate statehood in world politics. It has done so largely through defining a new standard of “civilisation” which has been used to determine the limits of international society. Like the historical standard of “civilization”, this new version reflects a considerable interest in the socio-political organisation of states. This paper argues that democracy, positioned as the most legitimate form of domestic governance in international society, has become caught up and used in global structures of domination, hierarchy and violence. Thus, the role of “democracy” (in its liberal form) in world politics is much more complicated and less progressive than often portrayed.
Dr Margo Apostolos (cv), Associate Professor, University of Southern California -USC Kaufman School of Dance-USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center- & Co-Director- Cedars-Sinai, USA. Plato 2020; Revisiting Social and Psychic Justice.
This presentation revisits Plato’ Republic Book IV and the topic of harmony. The central theme is education with a discussion of Plato and the current role of education in society. The primary discussion highlights Social Justice and focuses on the development of the “psychic soul.” Both the arts and sport are included in Plato’s Republic which highlights this paper. The primary question asked is whether we are still pondering justice in the Platonic sense in 2020 or has justice been redefined and perhaps abandoned.
Topics: economic and political relations between democracies; and between democracies and non-democracies; unions of democracies (e.g. European Union); trade agreements between democracies and between democracies and non-democracies); optimal taxes for democracy; public choice;
Chair: Dr Ronald Griffin (cv), Professor, Florida A&M University, USA.
Speakers (maximum 20 minutes each):
Dr David A. Frenkel (cv), Emeritus Professor, Law Area, Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Title: TBA
Dr Michael P. Malloy (cv), Distinguished Professor of Law, University of the Pacific, USA. Finance and Democracy: At the Heart of the American Experience.
Does public and private finance support democracy or impede its growth and development? This question was at the historical roots of the United States of America. From the first moments of the Washington Administration in 1789, a controversy arose between Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson over the proper role of financial policy and banks in the development of the new country. The paper argues that this fundamental dichotomy has informed U.S. law and policy ever since, including current debates over consumer protection and economic development policies.
Dr Pablo Lerner, Professor, Zefat School of Law & Ramat Gan School of Law, Israel. Judicial Review and the Legitimacy of Courts to Protect Democratic Values.
Discussing democracy also involves discussing the role of courts in a democracy, particularly regarding their relationship with parliaments . Parliaments are supposed to express the will of the people as determined by political majorities which are a result of elections or political coalitions. Clearly, saying that democracy is the government of the majority is an oversimplification. At the same time, the respect for minorities involves a balance, which the courts are expected to produce. However, courts also need to receive legitimization from the (majority of) the people. The first step in dealing with the legitimacy of judicial review may be a discussion about the system of judicial review (either a decentralized system as in the United States or a constitutional court in the form of a specialized court in constitutional matters). A second tier in this discussion may be to determine the best way to appoint judges (via popular election, hearings before the parliament or commissions). Without undermining the importance of these seminal questions (which will be addressed as part of the paper), the legitimacy of the judiciary also depends on the extent to which we understand the complexity of living in a democracy by avoiding oversimplifications about what it means to be a “majority” in a democracy. There are a variety of reasons for finding it difficult to define what a majority is: most of the societies throughout the world are more heterogeneous than in the past (with regard to attitudes towards religion, the ethnic makeup of the population etc). On the one hand, we are encountering dangerous waves of nationalism, populism, anti – globalization, not to mention bigotry and racism. On the other hand, majorities may discriminate other minorities while these may be seen by the majority as rejecting democratic values. It seems simple to refer to democracy in terms of tolerance and multiculturalism. It is more difficult to find the balance between protecting minority rights while at the same time respecting the national, historical or even secular values of the majority when these minorities challenge them. Some leading questions are: Have courts the arsenal to offer solutions to this gamut of tensions and conflicts? What is the best way to ensure the legitimacy of the courts? And what about supranational courts which may offer a challenge to national democracies? The paper does not intend to offer conclusive answers to these questions, but will open up for discussion the different perspectives these questions raise.
Dr Jorge Emilio Nunez (cv), Senior Lecturer, Manchester Law School, U.K. Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty: International Law and Politics.
Sovereignty is assumed by many to be absolute. Consequently, territorial disputes are in a legal and political limbo because the “territorial sovereignty” can be granted to only one of the claiming parties. Indeed, for this way of understanding sovereignty the claims of various international agents to the same territory are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. There is no such a thing as absolute sovereignty—i.e. in all cases sovereignty is limited and, therefore, shareable. Sovereignty is a complex concept. It assumes supreme authority and for some, that means single non-shareable authority. Sovereign states have factual and normative limitations and, therefore, states may be at odds with each other or cooperate. This is an axiological choice and has nothing to do with sovereignty itself. Indeed, states accept limitations and, therein, states may operate together, limit their sovereignty and still be considered fully sovereign. Whatever the duration of the limitations, the dependence on the good will of the participants in any agreement, and any other elements that may jeopardize the strength of any joint international enterprise, these restrictions in theory and practice may either limit the state’s choices or enhance them. Because territorial disputes can be assessed by reference to territory as well as population, the will of the people who live in the space under dispute begs further exploration. It is at this point self-determination—i.e. the prerogative a population with certain characteristics has to choose their political status—becomes relevant to territorial disputes. Different from what common knowledge could assume, selfdetermination may result in situations other than independence such as integration, free association, shared sovereignty, and others. If sovereignty can be shared, territorial disputes can be centered on elements other than territory and selfdetermination may lead to solutions different from independence, there is room for territorial disputes to be resolved by cooperative approaches.
Dr Irina Yarygina (cv), Head of Programs, Professor, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, MGIMO (U) under the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Russia. BRICS Outreach Partnership: Problems and Challenges.
Trade and economic cooperation of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and their partners is one of the priorities listed in the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy. The list of objectives of the BRICS Strategy includes, in particular, promotion and development market relations and expanding market access opportunities, diversification of trade and investment cooperation, creation a favorable environment for investors and entrepreneurs. Optimization of trade, economic and investment cooperation, along with other areas, is designed to strengthen inclusive economic growth, as well as to increase the level of the international competitiveness, especially of BRICS economies, which account for 17,3% of world merchandise trade, 12,7% of world trade in services, and which together form 21% of the world gross domestic product (GDP), at par of the purchasing power of national currencies – about 30% of world GDP. Purposeful desire to expand and strengthen ties in the field of trade, investment cooperation acquires more and more clear guidelines and is reflected in all the main documents of BRICS. Thus, the actual problems of multilateral trade and economic cooperation in BRICS outreach format were quite widely covered in the Goa Declaration of October 16, 2016, adopted at the end of the VIII BRICS summit in India. The leaders of the countries expressed confidence in the need to further stimulate growth on the scale of multilateral economic cooperation with the obligatory observance of the principles of openness and equality in order to ensure the development of investment, trade and commercial relations. Presentation includes the variety of methods and instruments for meeting new challenges of multilateral cooperation in contemporary environment.
Dr Anna Chronopoulou, Senior Lecturer, University of Westminster, U.K. Title: TBA