Gcas First World Conference Democracy Rising Just the Beginning

“Democracy Rising”: The First Global Conference on GCAS Only the First Step

Amidst protests, arson, and riots, GCAS held its inaugural global conference last week in Athens, Greece. Athens is on fire, the tear gas from the police is still hurting my eyes, and my talk is just around the corner, according to one conferencegoer. A democratic gathering ought to be like this.

While strolling around Athens a few days prior to the conference, Maria Nikolakaki, Salim Nabi, Michael Wassell, and Creston Davis all reflected on how the European financial powers were trying to silence the voice of democracy. It was in this context that they all knew such a conference was crucial to hold.

Embracing the political uncertainty to fly to Athens was a courageous move. Those who had been through revolutions previously (in Egypt and elsewhere) could feel the unpredictability of the atmosphere in Athens, which was unlike anything they had ever encountered before. 

We never hesitated or doubted our abilities, even though anything could happen. The conference, more akin to a “happening” where anything could happen, presided over a politically unstable backdrop.

Prof. Costas Lapavistsas and Syriza MP both characterized the agreement that the Greek government was coerced into signing as “a very bad deal,” and the conference started just hours later. 

Was the beginning of a meeting called “Democracy Rising” the moment when all hope for democracy was dashed? Even in the preliminary stages of the conference, this query persisted. 

However, as the conference progressed, the context and clarity around the subject of democracy’s survival grew clearer. Many attendees came to realize that the topic of democracy cannot be boiled down to a single moment, a straightforward loss on the battlefield portrayed by its opponents. 

People from more than 40 countries gathered in the home of democracy, the University of Athens, to hear speakers debate various topics.

Copyright © 2024 Global center for advanced studies, All rights reserved.