The 10th anniversary of the Athens Democracy Forum, in association with the New York Times was organized by the Democracy and Culture Foundation. This event took place in Athens, Greece on September 28-30, 2022.
While the Forum may be celebrating its 10th Anniversary, we cannot celebrate the same regarding the state of peace and harmony around our world, especially while we are in the midst of a major conflict in Ukraine.
There were many important and interesting sessions at the Forum, but the one that caught my eyes was the Imaginery Dialogue between Aristle and Confucius. This dialogue imagines the two great philosophers debating and determining the ways models of democracy and governance need to evolve. “If Aristotle and Confucius were able to come together to talk about globalization today, could they ultimately resolve some of its most pressing challenges?”
Aristotle and Confucius each constructed an ethical system based on virtue, with Aristotle’s anticipated result being happiness and Confucius’s being harmony. For Aristotle, happiness consisted of the search for truth. Confucius looked to create a system that put an end to civil chaos.
The “dialogue” was moderated by Roger Cohen, Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times. It featured Ban Ki-moon (8th Secretary General of the United Nations and Chair, Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future) as Confucus, and Jeffrey Sachs (Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University) as Aristotle.
I highly recommend spending 30 minutes of your time to watch this imaginery dialogue between these two great philosophers.