Events on the horizon

Dukakis center medallion

The Dukakis Center continues to express its ambitions through the events it hosts, from the renowned series of Dukakis Lectures launched by Michael Dukakis and Nicholas Burns during our inaugural year, to the diverse experiential learning platforms we have created. Spring 2016 will be no exception.

On the horizon are two big events, an international conference on «Civic Engagement and the Practices of Democracy,» and a Dukakis Lecture on the Armenian Genocide and the legacy of conflict in the Caucusus by Thomas de Waal of Carnegie Europe. The former is the cornerstone of this year’s Festival of Civic and Urban Culture and will be co-hosted by the Public Opinion Research Unit at the University of Macedonia; the latter is supported by the Armenian Community of Thessaloniki. more

During a ten-day period from April 11-20 the Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center for Public and Humanitarian Service at the American College of Thessaloniki will host its Second Festival of Civic and Urban Culture. The 2016 Festival will include, among others, two masterclasses; one or more public focus groups of non-voters (apohi); workshops on polling and in direct democracy; a graffiti paint-off; and a one-day conference, on April 18, on «Civic Engagement and the Practices of Democracy,» to co-hosted by the Public Opinion Research Unit, University Research Institute, University of Macedonia.

The conference will consist of a series of round table sessions featuring distinguished scholars and experienced practitioners from Greece, France, the UK, Canada, and the US, to discuss problems and solutions in contemporary democratic governance, and to consider what is being done to encourage engagement, particularly among younger citizens, in municipalities, in schools, in civil society, and in the private sector.

For the event the Dukakis Center has commissioned the Public Opinion Research Unit at the University of Macedonia, the local co-host of the conference, to conduct a national poll of voting behavior in Greece in 2015, specifically to understand better voter abstention in two national elections and one national referendum. To feature in their panel will be a group of younger voters who will have taken part in focus group sessions dedicated to the question of voter absenteeism.

To provide counterpoint, the Dukakis Center has commissioned a Masterclass in Stop-motion Animation, in which a group of young voters will produce brief animated get-out-the-vote campaigns, to be premiered on April 18.

The Dukakis Center organized its inaugural Festival of Civic and Urban Culture in the spring of 2014. First, the Center hosted an open debate, dubbed "Politics at the Coffeehouse,” on the May 2014 local and European elections. The debate, featuring prominent Greek journalists and bloggers, focused in large part on the incidence of unprecedented numbers of younger candidates in the elections, and was further animated by the presence of several local university students running for seats in the Municipal Council of Thessaloniki. The second event in the festival was an exhibition of photography by four Dukakis Center interns, who had attended a masterclass in environmental photography with renowned photographer Chryssa Nikoleri and were assigned to shadow candidates running in local and European elections. The exhibition took place at the Port Annex of the State Museum of Contemporary Art for three weeks during the month of June 2014. Finally, the Dukakis Center and Southeast European Studies at Oxford co-hosted the Fourth Dukakis International Symposium, with keynote speaker Dr. Erhard Busek and a group of distinguished panelists, who engaged in a public discussion on the theme of "The Future of Democracy in Europe and Beyond."

The Festival will become an annual feature on the spring events calendar of the Dukakis Center.

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