Dukakis Center celebrates birthday in style

The Dukakis Center celebrated fifteen years of public service initiatives in Thessaloniki during the Spring 2014 semester with a Festival of Civic and Urban Culture.
The celebration was punctuated by three main events organized throughout the spring. First, The Center hosted an open debate on the local and European elections held in May 2014. Featured were journalists and bloggers Kostas Kallergis, Sakis Ioannidis, and Maria Patsarika, while Georgios Toulas of Parallaxi moderated the proceedings. Dubbed "Politics at the Coffeehouse,” the event took place at Zogia in downtown Thessaloniki. The debate focused in large part on the incidence of unprecedented numbers of younger candidates in the local 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 was an exhibition of photography by Dukakis Center honors interns Zani Manginis, Valbona Makovci, Lorenzo Di Buongrazio, and George Belidis. The interns did a masterclass in environmental photography with renowned photographer Chryssa Nikoleri and were assigned to shadow candidates running in local and European elections -- among whom Konstantinos Zervas, Christina Tachiaou, Kalypso Goula, and Mihalis Tsitotas. The exhibition took place at the Port Annex of the State Museum for Contemporary Art for three weeks during the month of June 2014.
Finally, the Dukakis Center hosted the Fourth Dukakis International Symposium at the Municipal Council of Thessaloniki on July 1, 2014. Keynote speaker Erhard Busek, formerly director of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe and currently coordinator of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, was joined by a group of distinguished panelists for a lively public discussion on the theme of "The Future of Democracy in Europe and Beyond." Co-organized by Southeast European Studies at Oxford in the person of Othon Anastasakis, Director of the European Studies Centre at St Antony's College, Oxford, the event also featured current Dukakis Fellow Andreas Akaras, former Congressional Aide Alan Makovsky, Nenad Sebek, Director of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, and Harris Mylonas, of George Washington University.
Said David Wisner, Executive Director of the Dukakis Center, “These events are among the most important we have organized under the banner of the Dukakis project at the American College of Thessaloniki. I can imagine no more pressing issue in our times than the fate of democracy in Greece and Europe, no more important public service gesture than to get young people thinking seriously and creatively about how we govern ourselves.”
Video footage of these events and others was captured by another group of honors interns, who worked with filmmaker Christos Nikoleris on a documentary video on the Dukakis Center. The production will be premiered during the fall 2014 semester.