It is one of the biggest economic conferences in the Mediterranean region and it is growing. This year, the president of the Greek Community of Melbourne will be one of the speakers at the Delphi Economic Forum in Greece next month.
Bill Papastergiadis will be one of the 500 speakers from 35 countries who have been invited to speak at the fourth Delphi Economic Forum which will be held 5 to 8 March.
Speeches will range over 85 topics in a forum whose central guiding theme is Action with a Vision.
Along with the members of the Greek government who will talk at the forum, including President Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Mr Papastergiadis will be sharing the podium with world leaders in the political, economic, academic and social fields.
Speakers on the list include: Jean-Paul Trichet,the former president of the European Central Bank; Nicholas Negroponte the co-founder of MIT Media Lab; Alan Wolff ,the deputy director general of the World Trade Organisation; writer, economic historian and documentary film maker Niall Ferguson. Another Australian speaker will be Nicholas Pappas, the chairman of the Bank of Sydney.
“I think (the forum) it has a global effect and as a means of encouraging debate with key decisionmakers and people who set policies, it provides the opportunity for people to come together and to discuss strategies and leadership on a variety of issues confronting the world, not just Greece,” said Mr Papastergiadis who has presented papers in 20 conferences in Australia, Greece and China. The scale of this conference is the biggest he will have taken part in.
“What I like about this forum is that Greece, as a host, is not focusing on its own needs but is taking a global perspective.”
“My talk will focus on the notion of diaspora… we in Australia have been living a life of displacement, away from our regional homeland. I will talk about how historically the Greeks have used that term to define their colonial settlements along the Mediterranean and how it currently being used today as a form of ‘ethnodiaspora’ which is what we have seen from the migration patterns from the 1950s and 1960s and again, most recently, as a result of the Greek economic crisis.”
“So I want to present a perspective about the historical sources, the theoretical debates, the political debates that go on with the notion of diaspora and talk about how it has changed from an ethno diaspora to a digital diaspora.
He said he would be incorporating work done by his brother, Professor Nicholas Papastergiadis, the Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures at the University of Melbourne – one of the leading thinkers in cultural pluralism in Australia, who has explored how the notion of ethnodiaspora that has developed within the multicultural pluralism of Australia.
“I will also to try to defeat the negative perceptions about how diaspora was cast as oppressive and turn it into a sense of celebration and how the communities flourish. And to also show how the debate that social cohesion and economic competitiveness can be a way for Greece to now think about its diaspora and the lessons we have learnt here.”
“I think Australia is a leader in multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism and that is what I am going to try and impart to them – I really do think we will have an impact in that regard globally,” he said.
Mr Papastergiadis is also looking forward to the opportunity of taking in as many events as possible during the forum and rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers.
“Each of the sessions will be videotaped and you can follow them online.The will also be recorded, so you can follow them later too. This is a very professional, high-level conference,” said Mr Papastergiadis.
The symbolic space of Delphi and its cultural heritage is a priceless feature of the conference, with greater importance for international participants.
“It is exciting when one thinks of how we find ourselves in the same place where the most important oracle of antiquity was located,” said Christopher Wylie, the man who uncovered the Cambridge Analytica scandal, during last year’s forum.
“I really could not have thought of a more symbolic place in which to examine the future,” Mr Wylie added.