Athens – The 23rd International Conference of Philosophy which took place in Athens, Greece for the first time in 2013, was the most successful such conference every organized in its 120 year history. This International Conference of Philosophy is considered the “Olympic Games” of the international philosophical community. This conference held in Athens had the most attendees ever (3,500-4,000). Since then, Greece is considered one of the most significant centers of philosophy in the world.
Some of the most distinguished and well-known philosophers from around the world came and continued to come to this birthplace of democracy and philosophy to pay homage and worship the “holy ground” of this great land as they note. Another success this past year was the 27nd Annual International Philosophy Conference had the largest attendance also with over 100 participants.
Prof. Konstantinos Boudouris, President of the International Organization of Hellenic Philosophy and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Athens, was the driving force behind bringing this 23rd International Conference to Greece. He is recognized as one of the most distinguished philosophers around the world and is a member of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP). He was born in Samos, Greece, one of the larger islands of the northern Aegean and has a large and impressive academic body of work. He was the founder of the Greek Philosophical Organization 27 years ago and he is well known for organizing many successful and internationally recognized academic conferences.
During this interview, he described the many difficulties of organizing a conference during the present Greek economic crisis, the benefits to Greece of organizing such conferences, as well as the limits of Ethics in the politics of the modern world.
Professor, the benefits of the 23rd International Conference that you organized in 2013 in Greece is still part of the public discussion. Two years later, how do you evaluate the effect of this major conference for Greece? In your opinion, what do you think were the most important topics discussed at this conference?
The 23rd International Philosophical Conference in Athens was truly an overwhelming success. Distinguished academics who had attended many such conferences, wrote to us that the one taking place in Athens was something spectacular and was without parallel in the 120 year history of this conference, especially taking into account that is was organized during a time of such economic crisis. There was very significant media coverage around the globe. We highlighted the significance of academic/conference tourism especially since most participants came with their families and not only attended the conference but travelled to all corners of Greece. We surpassed all previous conference participation with over 3,500 attendees. We surpassed previous registrations from Russian and Chinese philosophers, volunteers, university professors, translators, writers, etc. The response was particular strong from Eastern cultures. The Western and Eastern philosophical traditions came together for the first time during this International Philosophical Conference.
There must have been major difficulties organizing such a conference during the present economic crisis in Greece. Did you find support for your efforts?
Due to the economic crisis, there was a lot of misinformation disseminated, especially from the countries of Central Europe, including that the conference would not take place. Those dissemination this misinformation seemed to not want the conference to be successful and for people to attend. With a great deal of very hard work though, as well as with the support of some government institutions, we surpassed our estimations of 800-1000 attendees and reach over 3,500, an amazing accomplishment. We were determined to succeed and we not only succeeded, we greatly surpassed all expectations.
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