Athens Dialogues

An International Conference on Culture and Civilization

24 - 27 November 2010
Main Stage
Leading thinkers, academics, scientists and intellectuals from around the world meet in Athens for four days for a public discussion of issues of universal ambit and significance.

The Onassis Foundation presents the Athens Dialogues, an international symposium on Hellenic civilization and its role in contemporary society, in collaboration with eight internationally-renowned academic institutions. Leading thinkers, academics, scientists and intellectuals from around the world meet in Athens for four days for a public discussion of issues (divided into six thematic sections) of universal ambit and significance, to present their views and to pioneer new approaches and solutions. The symposium’s interdisciplinary approach, the participation of important intellectuals and their fascinating and diachronic approach to the problems of our age make the Athens Dialogues a unique opportunity for the participants.

The Athens Dialogues largely mirror the approach the Onassis Cultural Centre intends to take to Hellenic civilization in general, as a singularly diachronic civilization of absolute relevance to the present and receptive to multiple approaches. The Dialogues also embody the Centre’s conceptual take on the symposium as a meeting of specialists designed to generate fruitful, lively dialogue, while highlighting technology and the Internet’s potential to facilitate and boost communication between participants.

Hellenic civilization laid the foundations of our universal humanistic heritage. According to Anthony S. Papadimitriou, the President of the Onassis Foundation: “The questions addressed over the centuries by great thinkers in Athens, Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, and elsewhere in the Mediterranean where the Hellenic language and civilization were adopted are still integral to the fabric of contemporary thought. They weave through political, philosophical, artistic, scientific and cultural discourse throughout the world. The Athens Dialogues aim to explore the relevance of this ongoing legacy to the changes the world is experiencing today through the prism of Hellenic thought as this took shape down the ages, though without focusing exclusively on Hellenic culture or being restricted to Western thought”.


Partner Institutions
Academy of Athens
Accademia dei Lincei
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies
Institut de France
Oxford University
Stanford University

Chair of Committee
Dr George Babiniotis, Professor Honorary and Emeritus of Linguistics at the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens

Academic co-ordinator (on behalf of the Onassis Cultural Centre)
Dr Niki Tsironis, Senior Researcher, Institute for Byzantine Research

Sessions and chairpersons

Identity and Difference
Dame Averil Cameron, Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History, Keble College, Oxford

Stories and Histories
Hans-Joachim Gehrke, President of the Deutches Archäologisches Institut
Johannes Koder, Professor and Director of the Institute for Byzantine and Neohellenic Studies, University of Vienna, and Full Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

Logos and Art
Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature, Harvard University
Richard Martin, Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor of Classics, Stanford University

Democracy and Politeia
Konstantinos Svolopoulos, Professor of Modern Greek History, President of the Academy of Athens
Anastasios-Ioannis Metaxas, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Director of the Political Communication Workshop, University of Athens

Science and Ethics
Athanassios Fokas, Chair in Nonlinear Mathematical Science at the University of Cambridge
Jacques Jouanna, Member of the Institut de France, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres

Quality of Life
Robert Harris, President of the Houston Advanced Research Center
Dimitri Nanopoulos, Mitchell/Heep Chair in High Energy Physics, Texas A&M University Centre

Students and young scholars, artists and scientists of various fields will be invited to share their thoughts and concerns and to enter into a dialogue with their heritage, which will undoubtedly prove fruitful. For more information about registration, please visit the website