Theme: The Courage to Create
May 12th, 2012
About this event
What does it mean to have courage, determination and faith?
What does it take in order to create –against all odds– something exceptional in any field of action, whether this is the creation of an innovative economic theory, the writing of a popular novel following extensive research, the establishment of a novel public policy or the launching of a new business when the odds seem to be stacked against one?
We will have the chance to listen to people who made it thanks to their unfailing dedication to their dream and the goal they pursued.
The reason we chose this topic is due to our conviction that in a time of great change, in which we are propelled towards a new way of thinking and acting, we need courage to move to the unknown, to create and form the new upcoming era.
For all of us the courage to create is the courage to keep dreaming, believing and persevering even when it seems impossible.
The foundation of any meaningful change, this courage is the very fabric of the formation of a better world.
Aggelos Patsias was born in 1985 in Athens and grew up in Drama. After completing his studies in Primary Level Education in Alexandroupoli, he moved to Rethymno, Crete. For the last two years he has been the teacher and director of a primary school with only four teachers to cover the needs of six classes located in the mountainside of Crete, in a remote, rural village named Fourfoura. Unknown to most, Fourfoura became known in educational circles through Aggelos Patsias's revolutionary choice to view the difficult circumstances he encountered there as an opportunity. He initiated the “School of Nature and Colours” project, an educational role model of creative self-management, in which pupils are taught beyond the curriculum - among other things - how to sing and dance, stage theatrical plays, raise funds for their school through a vegetable garden and make their activities and campaigns known to the public through their blog and online channel.
Elpida Rouka is currently based in Jerusalem where she leads the political team for the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, an office which was set up after the Oslo accords.She has worked for the United Nations for over a decade and has most recently served as Principal Political Adviser for the UN's Special Political Missions both in Iraq (2007-2009) and in Afghanistan (2010-2012) where she has dealt with aspects of facilitating peace and political processes, advancing regional dialogue, promoting human rights and assisting with the framework of electoral preparations. Previously Elpida has held various positions in the United Nations Headquarters in New York including in the Office of the Iraq Programme, which oversaw the sale of Iraqi oil and the delievery of aid to that country, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations during the surge in multidimensional operations and the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations under the administrations of both Kofi Annan and then Ban Ki-moon. During that time she took part in various good office and mediation initiatives
Trained as an engineer at Imperial College, London, and having worked in banking, finance, retail, real estate and telecommunications in London, Athens and Central America, Ilias Poulias is one of the co-founders and managers of the “Fundación Poulias” for children, established in 2007 in Guatemala. Ilias first moved to Guatemala with his brother Alexandros for business reasons and is one of the few Greeks to become established in the Central American region through a series of successful businesses. Ilias initially founded - and now acts as director of - an international trading and retail chain; he then developed a high end cultural and shopping center in Antigua Guatemala, a Unesco World Heritage site. He also co-founded the first mobile marketing company in Guatemala providing value added services to telecom operators, which has now expanded to Central and South America. The idea for the Foundation occurred to the Poulias brothers in 2003 following their daily interaction with a small group of seven children who lived around their warehouse. Formally established in 2007, the “Fundación Poulias”, as it is called, is dedicated to children living below the poverty line in crime infested areas. Its goal is to help them achieve their full potential through education while also providing for their health and nutrition. Following a proposition by the local Greek community, Ilias was nominated by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs as honorary Consul of Greece and to cater to its nationals in Guatemala.
An internationally acclaimed concert pianist with roots from Thessaloniki on the part of her father, Keren Hanan has given recitals throughout the world, including New York, Boston, Rome, London, Budapest, Vietnam and China. She is also an established painter whose renowned work is held in private collections in New York, London, Tel Aviv, Vienna and Budapest. In the past three years Keren has been working on a concept, Music in Colours, through the use of Colour, Texture and Movement, she gives the world a glimpse into the underlying essence and structure of a musical composition. Keren expresses the deep emotions of various musical pieces, her incredible talent as a concert pianist allows her to visualise and transpose her feelings and insight that she can capture from the music into a visual form. Keren began her piano studies at the age of 8, she won several national competitions, including the Clairmont Award. From an early age, she has received numerous American-Israeli Cultural Foundation Scholarships. She continued her studies at the New England Conservatory in Boston, at the Accademia Pianistica in Imola, Italy and with Ferenc Rados in Budapest. She has performed with leading orchestras - the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta, the Belgrade Philharmonic, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra among others.
Tomas Sedlacek is an economist and writer who has shaken the study of economics as few ever have. He has been named one of the "Young Guns" and one of the "five hot minds in economics" by the Yale Economic Review. An advisor to banks, ministers and presidents, such as Vaclav Havel, to whom he was economic advisor, Sedlacek serves as the Chief Macroeconomic Strategist in the leading Czech bank CSOB and sits on the National Economic Council of the Czech government. A member of the Yale University World Fellowship, where he served as a fellow and lectured, Sedlacek is the co-author of various case studies for Harvard and Georgetown, and a lecturer at Charles University, Prague. In his best-seller book,The Economics of Good and Evil, reviewed by the Financial Times as “a compulsive read” and a “must-read” by the Washington Post for 2011, Sedlacek shows how economics is woven out of history, myth, religion and ethics. His provocative writing argues a simple, almost heretical proposition: economics is ultimately about good and evil. In is foreword to the book, Vaclav Havel remarks that “the author’s questioning breaks down stereotypes.. economics becomes a path to adventure. ” The best-selling book has also been turned into a road-show theater piece performed by The Czech National Theatre in Prague and abroad.
Born in Lushnje, Albania in 1967, Gazmend Kapllani is an author and journalist who has been living in Athens for the past 20 years. In 1991, after the collapse of the totalitarian regime in Albania, he crossed the border into Greece on foot. He had to work as a builder, cook, and kiosk attendant in order to make it possible to enter the University of Athens where he read Philosophy. In 2000 he finished his postgraduate studies in Intercultural Education and in 2007 he completed his PhD in Political Science and History at the Panteion University in Athens. As an author and columnist in leading newspapers in Greece and abroad, Dr. Kapllani has been an advocate for human rights, fairness, and diversity and has received Greek and international awards for his work such as the European Union journalist award, in the framework of the European-wide initiative “For Diversity. Against Discrimination”. His best-selling first novel, A Short Border Handbook which has been translated into three languages (English, Polish and Danish), has received excellent reviews by London’s Guardian and Independent and major newspapers in Greece, Poland and Denmark. This was followed in 2010 by his second novel, My Name is Europe, which was also warmly acclaimed by the press in Greece and abroad. Dr Kapllani has also written a theatrical play named Edo (“Here”) which is based on true stories of immigrants living in Greece, and had a successful 12-month run on stage in Athens. In addition, Dr. Kapllani teaches History and Culture of modern Albania at the Panteion University. He has authored and co-athored scientific articles and studies on migration, Balkan history and the Mediterranean. In September 2012 he will be a Fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
Victoria Hislop read English at Oxford, and worked in publishing, PR and as a journalist on several national newspapers and magazines before becoming a novelist. Her first novel, The Island, held the Number One slot in the Sunday Times paperback chart for eight consecutive weeks and has sold over two million copies worldwide. Victoria was the Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007, and her second novel, The Return, was also a Number One bestseller. The Thread, which was published in the autumn of 2011, spent nine weeks in the Sunday Times hardback chart, and was widely acclaimed. It was Number One in Kathimerini and Vima when it was published in Greek last December. Her books have been translated into more than 25 languages. Victoria also writes short stories and her first collection, One Cretan Evening, is available as an ebook. She is married with two children.
Anastasia Miliou is a hydrobiologist with extensive knowledge in the fields of marine ecosystem management and conservation, as well as fisheries and marine mammal research. A Greek Ambassador in the EU for Sustainable Fisheries & Maritime Policy, she has been leading in research related to the maritime risk assessment in the Aegean Sea and the development of relevant management measures. Since 2000 Anastasia has been the Manager and Head Scientist of Archipelagos, Institute of Marine Conservation. With their headquarters on the island of Samos and five research bases on islands in the vicinity, Anastasia and her team have concentrated their work in the NE Mediterranean. This ongoing research is used to engage and support local communities to work towards a common cause of conservation and sustainability, and to fortify Archipelago’s policy advocacy at a national and EU level. Through her work at Archipelagos, Anastasia has created an extensive local and international network of stakeholders whose combined efforts are setting a precedent for marine conservation in Greece. While working closely with fishermen to encourage their active involvement in protecting the seas, Archipelagos also collaborates with local and international organizations and universities, bringing experts and students from all around the world to the NE Mediterranean. An example of what is possible by this dynamic interface is the work towards establishing the first co-managed Fisheries Protected Area in the islands of Fourni. This on-going project is the result of an Archipelagos coordinated collaboration between fishermen and local authorities, scientists from all over the world, and students and academics from Yale law school.
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