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DEREE at the Athens Democracy Forum

The Athens Democracy Forum 2015 took place September 13-15 at the Megaron Athens and at the Ancient Agora of Athens. Organized by the New York Times (NYT), and under the auspices of the United Nations Democracy Fund and the City of Athens, the forum reflected on the state of liberal democracies, the major challenges they face in the world today, and democracy's ever-changing role in the way we live and do business.

The American College of Greece proudly supported the event as an Education Partner, following its policy of supporting initiatives that place Greece in the center of the global map as the cradle of civilization, democracy and education. ACG hosted international students who participated in the International Debating Competition of the Forum and introduced them to Greek culture.

Seven debating teams from some of the most important educational institutions in the world (USA, Asia, and Africa) took part in the competition, including representatives from Princeton, Cambridge and Oxford University.

Two DEREE students, Vassilis Gkoumas and Peter Paraskevopoulos, represented DEREE and Greece in the competition, held September 14.

On the day of the competition, the Old Parliament Building in downtown Athens was filled with debaters from across the world. The bright young speakers competed on the topic “The Mythology of Democracy,” bringing myths and demons of democracy to life amidst an enthusiastic audience.

Among the jury were renowned personalities from various fields including distinguished economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, former head of British Intelligence Sir Richard Dearlove, former Minister of Education Anna Diamantopoulou and President of International New York Times, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson who welcomed the audience- surrounded by the most vigorous historic frame one could wish for: the Old Greek Parliament.

The argumentation contest that followed was enthusiastic, creative and highly democratic, as hear!hear! cheers and knocks on the desk were heard; a British tradition according to which the audience expresses its consent to the arguments of the contestants.

The winning team was the one representing India and Sri Lanka (Asia), consisting of students from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Warwick.

The Middle East/North Africa (Syria, Morocco) team was the runner up, with students from the European Law School, Supaéro University and École Polytechnique de Bruxelles.

Congratulations to the two DEREE students, Vassilis and Peter, for the participation and their impeccable debating style!