Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

Global Liberal Arts Alliance

Athens Democracy Forum 2018

We are very pleased to announce that the Global Liberal Arts Alliance will join with Deree-The American College of Greece as Educational Partner for the prestigious International New York Times Athens Democracy Forum (ADF) to be held in Athens, Greece September 16-18, 2018. Now in its sixth year, the Athens Democracy Forum has become a preeminent forum to debate critical questions about the state of liberal democracy in the world. Deree and the Alliance will coordinate Forum programming for a team of student delegates from Alliance institutions.

The Forum’s theme, “Democracy in Danger: Solutions for a Changing World”, speaks to the mission of Liberal Arts education to prepare global citizens who can work together to solve complex problems that bring positive change to a turbulent world. Forum sessions will focus on four topics deriving from the Forum theme:

The Allure of the Illiberal - How democracy should respond to what the new autocrats are preaching; without strong institutions, democracy becomes the dictatorship of the majority.

When technology collides with citizenship - Social media, AI, robotics and other technological innovations are impacting government, business and society, for better and for worse.

What is the business of business? - Back in the 1970s, Milton Friedman wrote in The Times that "the business of business is business." Today the pressures on companies is to assume a greater responsibility to society.

Identity, Diversity, and Inclusion - The political engagement of women and minorities continues to lag in many democracies, but their participation is integral to the legitimacy and resilience of democratic institutions and processes.

Nomination of Student Delegates

Each Global Alliance member institution may nominate two candidates to be considered for selection for the Alliance delegation to attend the Forum. From this pool of candidates, 20 students will be selected. The selection process will seek to create a delegation that offers a globally balanced and compelling set of perspectives. Alliance schools from the U.S. are strongly encouraged to consider international students in their nominations. Candidates nominated must be students who will be enrolled at an Alliance school in 2018-19 and must be endorsed by their campus’ chief academic officer. Candidates should have interest in the Forum’s four topics, issues related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and be able to work with students from diverse backgrounds.


Airfare will be provided by the student’s home campus. The NYT will provide the registration fee. The American College of Greece will provide housing, most meals, local transportation, and manage program activities. Delegates will be responsible for some meals and incidentals.

Scope of Student Involvement

We expect student delegates to make a meaningful contribution to the Forum. Student delegates are asked to consider the questions raised by the Forum’s theme from the perspective of youth from their part of the world. Student delegates will work in small groups on the four Forum topics and the SDGs. Each student will be asked to share the results of their work with their campus and to create an action plan to be taken back to their campus.

A focus of student involvement this year will be on two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 13 – Climate Action. (It is possible another SDG will be added.) Student delegates will be asked to familiarize themselves with the Sustainable Development Goals program and the featured SDGs, possibly researching case studies on how companies, NGOs, and governments are using them. This work will prepare students for their active role as scribe during the Sustainable Goals Luncheon. Working in groups, student delegates will write a white paper summarizing the recommendations for each SDG discussed at the luncheon.

All student delegates will participate in workshops addressing the four Forum topics.

A select group of students will participate in a panel session in collaboration with Get with The Times for a conversation with a senior NYT journalist and one or two notable speaker(s) to discuss the vital questions facing young people today.

The students selected to attend the Forum must commit to doing preparatory work over the summer and in Athens prior to the Forum. This will include discussion of the four Forum topics, research into the SDGs, and meeting each other via email and video conferencing to discuss the Forum topics and the SDGs.

Visit Youth Democracy Forum to read about student delegate involvement at the 2017 Athens Democracy Forum.

Application Materials and Process

Application to participate in the Athens Democracy Forum has two steps.

Step 1: An interested student submits the Student Delegate Application to their Chief Academic Officer. Consult your Chief Academic Officer for your campus’ application due date.

Step 2: Each Alliance campus selects up to two applications to forward to the Global Alliance office. These applications are to be submitted by the school’s Chief Academic Officer to Simon Gray ( A Global Alliance review committee will make selections to create a group that represents a globally balanced set of perspectives and experience. We do not guarantee that one student per campus will be selected.

A complete application consists of the following.

  1. Completed Student Delegate Application Form
  2. Curriculum vitae/resume
  3. Academic transcript (can be unofficial)

Important Dates

May 7, 2018: Campus nominations due to the Global Alliance office (

May 29, 2018: Notification of acceptance

Summer 2018:  Groups assigned; groups meet by video conferencing/email and complete preparatory research

September 12, 2018: Student delegates arrive in Athens

September 16, 2018: Athens Democracy Forum opens

September 20 or 21, 2018: Student delegates return to their campuses


Simon Gray, Program Officer for the Global Liberal Arts Alliance,

Antonis Klidas, Global Liberal Arts Liaison for the American College of Greece,

The Global Liberal Arts Alliance
535 West William Suite 301
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Voice: +1.734.661.2350
Facsimile: +1.734.661.2349

Map & Directions

Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

The Great Lakes Colleges Association
535 West William. Suite 301
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

+1.734.661.2350 (voice)
+1.734.661.2349 (fax)