SOCIETY

Athens’ moment at ‘Monocle’ conference

athens-moment-at-monocle-conference

Monocle Magazine’s annual “Quality of Life” conference took place in Athens, for the first time, this past week.

The sixth conference of its kind featured Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis who told the multinational audience of architects, artists, businesspeople, journalists, professors and writers that “this is Athens’ moment.”

“Today, the Greek capital is gradually reintroducing itself to the world as a vibrant, dynamic, friendly and, at the same time, bold city,” Bakoyannis said.

He said that Monocle’s decision to hold its “Quality of Life” conference in the Greek capital, after similar gatherings in Lisbon, Berlin and Zurich, was a boost for plans to rebrand Athens.

Kathimerini newspaper was one of the event’s sponsors. Kathimerini English Edition editor-in-chief Tom Ellis (2nd R in photo) and Skai News anchor Sia Kosioni (photo, R) took part in a panel discussion on Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean Friday, alongside United States’ Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt (photo, 3rd R) and journalist Mary Fitzgerald. They engaged the 150-strong audience in a discussion about Greece’s recovery after the 10-year financial crisis, the country’s relations with the US as well as its Balkan neighbors, and tensions with Turkey.

Emma Tucker, editor of the Sunday Times and one of the keynote speakers, described how impressed she was by Athens’ energy. “You get the feeling it’s a city with self-confidence and a purpose,” she said.

Other keynote speakers included historian Stathis Kalyvas, neurosurgeon Dr Philippe Schucht, private detective Tyler Maroney, comedian Katerina Vrana and US cultural critic Thomas Chatterton Williams.

The three-day event attracted visitors from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Lebanon, Russia and other countries. It wrapped up with a visit to the Acropolis Museum, the recently-renovated National Gallery, and the exhibition “Portals” of the Organization for Culture and Development NEON at the former Public Tobacco Factory in Lenorman.

Monocle, a global affairs and magazine founded in 2007 by Canadian entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé, has become a media brand that includes a 24-hour radio station, two annual publications, “The Forecast” and travel-focused “The Escapist” and has branched into retail.