The 8th Greek-Turkish Young Leaders Symposium in Athens
The 8th Greek-Turkish Young Leaders Symposium was held in Athens on 24-27 November 2021. More than 30 Turkish and Greek participants, between the ages of 20 and 40, based in Greece and Turkey and other parts of the world participated in the symposium organized by Center for International and European Studies (CIES) at Kadir Has University in cooperation with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Navarino Network, the Institute of International Relations at Panteion University of Athens, and NATO Public Diplomacy Division.
The symposium aimed to enhance the knowledge of the participants, via presentations by Greek and Turkish experts, on the state of relations between two countries and common security challenged faced in the thematic clusters of “disinformation, climate change, migration, understanding the wider security context and defending against terrorism in the hybrid and cyber realms”. The concept also included how NATO and its NATO 2030 can bring Greeks and Turks together to confront challenges to the rules-based international order in the defense of the shared values of freedom, democracy, and law. The symposium provided a forum for dialogue, collaboration, and networking for young professionals whose priority is contributing to the enhancement of Turkish-Greek relations and their role in different alliances.
During the program, the participants worked together to produce policy recommendations stemming from the challenges presented as the main themes of the symposium, namely liberal values, disinformation, climate change, cyber security, etc. As in previous editions of the Symposium, these policy recommendations will be shared with the wider public and potentially will be reflected in jointly written working papers. In fact, the first co-written papers by at least one Turk and one Greek were presented during the Symposium as part of one of its spin-off activities – The Dialogue Paper Series. Thanks to the workshops and the social gatherings of the symposium, the participants had the opportunity to network and to create sustainable ties with their counterparts from Turkey and Greece. This first physical gathering of the symposium, after two years of virtual only meetings due to Covid-19 restrictions, showed us the importance of human and face-to-face connections even when the focus is on hard politics topics like security. We welcome the new alumni of the Turkish- Greek Young Leaders Symposium Network and look forward to their interaction and contributions to enriching the network.