Where young liberals are trained: Successful closing of the Liberal Seminars in Kifissia

DSC_0426“You are the generation that will reform your country and resolve the economic and social problems Greece currently encounters. Dare to be the change you wish”, Dr. Wolfgang Gerhardt, Chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), addressed more than 40 young Greeks who participated in the “Liberal Seminars on Political Thought (Cycle B)”. The seminars took place on five weekends from October 4th to November 23rd.

Dr. Gerhardt was present at the graduation ceremony to personally award the certificates to the students, expressing the high importance of liberal education for the FNF program abroad. “The German nation had to recover after a total catastrophe, and in the end it worked out. The Greek nation has great potential, but it needs fresh ideas and young people committed to change as well as to the principles of freedom. I am sure that in the end it will work out as well”, he added.

DSC_0320The “Liberal Seminars of Political Thought” are an educational program which examines all aspects of liberalism. The second cycle of the seminars (the first cycle took place in spring 2013) focused on liberal identity and the role of the individual in politics, economy, and society. It took place in four courses of three days each. The program had a twofold target: to provide theoretical knowledge on various political topics which were presented by some of the finest professors in Greece such as Aristides Hatzis, Stavros Tsakyrakis, Dimitris Keridis, and Georgios Pagoulatos, and to educate the participants in political campaigning and rhetoric art in order to be able to engage themselves in politics. Experts such as Vassilios Fevgas, Manolis Polychronidis, Spyros Kasimatis and Dimitris Kokonas were invited for this purpose, each one focusing on his area of expertise.

Among the topics examined in the seminars were philosophy of liberalism, the concept of rule-of-law, liberal identity and community, underlying the necessary structural reforms for Greece. In addition, the students participated in a simulation of a local election’s campaign. Therefore, the group was divided into five parties, each one of them elected their leader (“Candidate Mayor”), one of which was later voted for the Mayor of the fictitious municipality of “Freepolis”. “This was one of the most exciting and fruitful experiences in my life”, said Yliana Mazanitou, who won the mayor’s race.

DSCN1611Several Greek liberals visited the course as guests, speaking about their work, their political views and their upcoming tasks. Among them was Thanos Tzimeros, President of the political party “Dimiourgia, Xana!”, who presented his new dialogue program with the citizens, inviting all participants to actively be a part of it. Makis Spyratos, member of the Center for Liberal Studies (“KEFIM-Markos Dragoumis”), presented the book “The Morality of Capitalism” which was published in a joint effort by KEFIM, the Atlas Foundation and the FNF. As a special guest of the last seminar, the thirty year old Mayor of Karpenission, Kostas Bakoyannis, spoke about the framework as well as the constraints of local administration, providing his model for a sustainable development and economic prosperity of a municipality.

The course was organized by the FNF in cooperation with the Alumni Association of the Political Science Department of the University of Athens (PSPA) and with the kind support of European Expression Youth. In 2014, the Liberal Seminars will also travel to the periphery, beginning in Thessaloniki.

Athanasios Grammenos
Pictures: FNF-Europe