The Thessaloniki International Symposium in World Affairs

Sunday 21 October 2018

About the Symposium

Bringing together thought leaders from around the globe


The Making, Unmaking and Remaking of Europe

Edmond Alphandery,
Founder and Chairman,, Euro 50 Group

Edmond Alphandery is the founder and Chairman of the Euro 50 Group which gathers leading European personalities concerned with monetary policy of the European Central Bank. A Board member of ENGIE (former GDF SUEZ), he is the President of its Strategic Committee. Edmond Alphandery is also a Senior Advisor of NOMURA and sits on the Consultative Committee of A.T. KEARNEY, France. He attends the Consultative Committee of the Banque de France. From 1993-1995 he worked as a Minister of the Economy of France. From 1998 to 2012, Mr. Alphandery served as chairman of CNP Assurances, and prior to this appointment, he was chairman of Electricite de France (EDF). Edmond Alphandery is the author of numerous articles and books devoted to economic and monetary affairs.

Eastern Europe: Successes and failures on the road to convergence 30-1 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

Anders Aslund,
Professor, Georgetown University & Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Anders Aslund is a resident senior fellow in the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. He also teaches at Georgetown University. He is a leading specialist on economic policy in Russia, Ukraine, and East Europe. Dr. Aslund has served as an economic adviser to several governments, notably the governments of Russia and Ukraine (1994-97). He is chairman of the Advisory Council of the Center for Social and Economic Research, Warsaw, and of the Scientific Council of the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition. He has published widely and is the author of fourteen books. Previously, he worked at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Brookings Institution, and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He was a professor at the Stockholm School of Economics and the founding director of the Stockholm Institute of East European Economics. He served as a Swedish diplomat in Kuwait, Poland, Geneva, and Moscow. He earned his PhD from Oxford University

The making and unmaking of the modern Middle East

Fawaz Gerges,
Professor of International Relations, Emirates Chair in Contemporary Middle East Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science

Fawaz Gerges is a Lebanese-American academic and author with expertise on the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy, international relations, Al Qaeda, and relations between the Islamic and Western worlds. He is currently a Professor of Middle East Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East at the LSE and was the inaugural Director of the LSE Middle East Centre. In the past, he taught at Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia universities and was a research fellow at Princeton University for two years. He held the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College. During his life, he has spent five years conducting field research in several Middle Eastern countries on several topics and subjects, including social movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and jihadist groups like Al Qaeda, on Arab and Muslim politics in the 20th century, and relations between the West and the Muslim world. During the years, he has been the author of numerous books and publications and the Washington Post selected “The Far Enemy” as one of the best 15 books published in the field.

Greece and Europe after the crisis

Daniel Gros (video message),
Director, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Daniel Gros has been the Director of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) since 2000. Among other current activities,he has worked for the International Monetary Fund, and served as an economic adviser to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the French prime minister and finance minister. He is the editor of Economie Internationale and International Finance. Daniel Gros holds a PhD. in economics from the University of Chicago and is the author of several books and numerous articles in scientific journals. His main areas of expertise are the European Monetary Union, macroeconomic policy, economics of transition to a market economy, public finance, banking and financial markets.

Greece and its neighbourhood: Challenges and opportunities from an insider's point of view

Gerald Knaus,
Founding Chairman, European Stability Initiative

Gerald Knaus (Austria) is the founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a think tank with offices in Berlin, Brussels, and Vienna working on South East Europe and the Caucasus, European enlargement and the future of EU foreign policy. He studied in Oxford,Brussels and Bologna, taught economics at the State University of Chernivtsi in Ukraine and spent five years working for NGOs and international organisations in Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2001 to 2004, he was the director of the Lessons Learned Unit of the EU Pillar of the UN Mission in Kosovo. In 2011, he co-authored, alongside the British MP Rory Stewart, the book “Can Intervention Work?”. He wrote scripts for award-winning TV documentaries on South East Europe (, 2008-2012) and co-authored many ESI reports on EU enlargement, the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus, including "Islamic Calvinists – Change and Conservatism in Central Anatolia" (2005), "Caviar Diplomacy – How Azerbaijan Silenced the Council of Europe" (2012), and most recently "The Merkel Plan" (2015) and "The Rome Plan" (2017) on the refugee crisis and "The European Swamp" (2016) on corruption in the Council of Europe. He is a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and was for five years an Associate Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where he was also a Visiting Fellow in 2010/2011 lecturing on state building and intervention. In 2016/2017 he was a Mercator-IPC Senior Fellow in Istanbul. He is based in Berlin and Istanbul and writes the Rumeli Observer blog.

EU Challenges and the need for a New Pact for Europe

George Pagoulatos,
Professor of European Politics and Economy at the Athens University of Economics and Business

George Pagoulatos is Professor of European Politics and Economy at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. He was Senior Advisor and Director of Strategy at the PM Office under Prime Ministers Lucas Papademos and P. Pikrammenos during 2011-12. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Athens-based Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and the Brussels-based European Policy Centre (EPC), and board member of various academic and civic organizations. He served as member of the High Council of the European University Institute in Florence (2010-13), and President of ECSA-Greece (2013-14). He is a regular columnist in the Sunday edition of the main centrist newspaper Kathimerini since 2007. Pagoulatos holds degrees from the University of Athens and the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. His research and publications focus on the EMU and the EU, Southern European and Greek political economy, economic governance, political economy of banking and finance, political economy of reform. He has extensive experience in providing advice and analysis on the Greek political economy.

Greece in the 21st century: The challenges ahead

Kyriakos Pierrakakis,
Director of Research, diaNEOsis

Kyriakos Pierrakakis is a PhD candidate in Political Economy at Heidelberg University. He is a graduate of Harvard University (Master of Public Policy), MIT (Master of Technology Policy) and Athens University of Economics and Business (Bachelor of Computer Science). He is research director of the research and analysis organization “diaNEOsis”. He has worked as a teacher and innovation co-ordinator at the AIT, as President of the Youth Institute, as a consultant at the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping and as a researcher at the Centre for American Progress in Washington and the Centre for Energy Policy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT. Dr Pierrakakis has scientific publications in journals and conference proceedings on issues of international political economy, technology policy and political science. He is a co-founder of a technology company, assistant researcher at Mannheim Centre for European Social Studies (MZES) and Athens University of Economics and Business (Information Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection Laboratory).

Technology and innovation: the new frontier for Greece

Marco Veremis,
Co-founder & Executive Chairman, Upstream

Marco was born in Athens, in 1973. He holds a BA in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick and an MPhil in European Studies from Oxford University. He started his career in 1996 as a marketing strategist at leading advertising agencies Grey Advertising, McCann-Ericsson and DDB in London, where he developed global communication strategies for brands such as Nestle, Smithkline Beecham, Johnson & Johnson and Sony Electronics. In 2002, he returned to Greece and, along with Alex Vratskides, co-founded Upstream. Since then, Upstream has evolved into a leading technology company within the field of mobile commerce operating in 42 countries with a turnover of 250 million euros and 380 employees. Marco served as Upstream’s CEO until June 2017 and is now Chairman of the Board and Partner at BigPi Venture Capital. Marco is an active angel investor and member of the board in technology companies such as Persado, Workable, Intellibox, Procureship and Hellas Direct. In parallel, Marco is a mentor at Endeavor and a board member of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), and diaNEOsis think tank. He also sits in the start-up and export committees of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV). He has served as Vice-Chairman of the Hellenic Association of Mobile Application Companies (HAMAC), a mentor at Openfund and received the EY Greek “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, in 2013.

Threats and challenges of the forthcoming elections for the European Parliament

Donatella M. Viola,
Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations, University of Calabria

Donatella M. Viola, PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK, is Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Calabria, Italy. Formerly Robert Schuman Scholar at the Directorate-General of the Secretariat of the European Parliament in Luxembourg and Marie Curie Fellow at the London School of Economics, she has researched and lectured in several British and American academic institutions in the UK: Universities of Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Plymouth, Regent’s College and the Richmond American International University in London. In addition, Donatella M Viola has been Visiting Professor at the Academy of European Public Law EPLO in Greece, TEI-Serres, Greece, University of Malta and ‘Friedrich-Alexander’ Universitat (FAU) of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany as well as Visiting Scholar at the College of Europe – Bruges, Belgium. Finally, she has given seminars and lectures at the European University Institute, Florence, ‘John Cabot’ University Rome, LUISS, Bocconi, Florence, Turin, Messina and ‘Mediterranea’ Universities in Italy as well as at the ‘Aristotle’ University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Editor and main contributor of the Routledge Handbook of European Elections, Routledge, 2016, 2018 as well as author of the monograph European Foreign Policy and the European Parliament in the 1990s, An Investigation into the Role and Voting Behaviour of the European Parliament’s Political Groups, Ashgate, 2000. Her other publications cover: elections to the European Parliament; national parliaments; enlargement of the European Union; conflicts in the Gulf and Former Yugoslavia; European Constitution; EU immigration and environmental policies.




The Venue

Located in the downtown area of Thessaloniki, on the Plateia Aristotelous, Olympion Cinema is a popular cinema hall. The grand facade of the theater, housed in an impressive building that was built in the 1920s, looks especially beautiful in the night, when it is all alight and glowing. The theater is also one of the venues of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.


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