The Northern Aegean island of Lesbos proved to be the perfect place for this year’s summer school organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) and the Greek NGO Ioannis Kapodistrias. From 23-27 July, twenty-five students and young professionals met in Mytilini to learn about and discuss “Sustainable Development, Island Region and the Economic Crisis: The Participatory Approach as a Reboot Tool for Development Processes”. Through lectures, workshops and other structured conversational processes, the participants developed methods how to organize regional economies, like e.g. the Municipality of Lesbos, in a more efficient and liberal way.
The lectures, held by distinguished academics as well as seasoned politicians, focused on diverse topics such as energy efficiency, sustainable management of natural resources, and participatory land use regulation. During a special workshop conducted by Andreas Andrianopoulos, former Greek Minister of Culture, Trade, Industry, Energy, Technology and Mass Communications, the participants used role play to develop a concept for exclusive economic zones in which liberal proposals could be tested. The workshop was inspired by the idea that regional administrations could establish exclusive economic zones, e.g. on a Greek island, and monitor the results of free market policies, in comparison with other islands that are still under a protectionist regime.
>> Article on capital.gr (in Greek)
As a special treat, a joint session with State Secretary Hans-Joachim Fuchtel MP, the Representative for the Greek-German Assembly (DGV), and a delegation of German Members of Parliament – Katrin Albsteiger (CSU), Josef Rief (CDU), and Markus Tressel (Bündnis90/Grüne) – took place. In his speech, Fuchtel advised Greece to put an even greater emphasis on education, not only on theoretical knowledge but also on the development of practical skills in order to render the young generation competitive for the labor market. He added that one of the goals of the DGV is to provide successful practices that could be adopted by the Greek organizations and enterprises, which could eventually boost the economy’s productivity.
>> Article on emprosnet.gr (in Greek)
The students seized the opportunity to participate in a vivid discussion with the German State Secratary, and later, with the parliamentarians and representatives of German ministries. This way, the participants had the rare chance to speak to high ranking foreign officials and get ideas on political and economic practices in Germany, while in return providing them with a genuine feedback of the situation in Greece, beyond of what is reproduced as a stereotype though the two countries’ media.
Athanasios Grammenos & Markus Kaiser