The colloquium, the focal Agora Dialogue activity, is an intensive six-day meeting, in which leaders in their fields engage in critical reflection and conversation on the fundamental principles that ought to govern our social co-existence.
As a direct consequence of the unprecedentedly fast pace of information exchange and communication, decision cycles have been radically truncated. People in positions of power and influence find themselves having to act fast and, all too frequently, hastily to respond to developments beyond their control.
The serious danger in this piecemeal, reactive decision-making is that the unity of value and aim will disappear in the clutter. Inevitably, this leads to conflict and a loss of direction and character for individuals and organisations alike.
The Agora Dialogue colloquium offers to those in positions of responsibility and power the opportunity that the urgency of day-to-day activity denies them: to take a step back and reflect systematically and critically on the bigger picture and on the fundamental questions of justice, democracy, sustainability, living an ethically sound life, progress.
The colloquium is tailored and proves particularly constructive for individuals who have the fundamental understanding or experience of decision-making positions, are familiar with policy-shaping practices, or have been actively engaged in community initiatives on the local, regional, national, or international level. It is therefore ideal for senior business executives, entrepreneurs, high-ranking civil servants and policy-makers, and leaders in the not-for-profit sector.
Agora Dialogue is guided by the belief that everyone can exercise practical reason and achieve practical wisdom through communication with others. Accordingly, the colloquium is not an academic event, whereby experts address non-experts in a unidirectional manner. All participants bring their knowledge, experience, and perspective to the table so as to establish a platform of mutual understanding and to cross-pollinate views.
Discussion at the colloquium is aided in the first instance by the Agora Dialogue curriculum of foundational texts from across the history of philosophical and economic thought as well as literature. These, however, are only the starting point, prompts for attendees to articulate their own thoughts and put them to the discursive test of justifiability, under the guidance of the experienced moderators.
Unfettered, truthful dialogue is facilitated by the fact that sessions are held under the Chatham House rule – according to which participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speakers, nor that of any other participant, may be revealed – as well as by the choice of venue. Away from their everyday surroundings, participants share a neutral, hospitable space with the common aim of exploring how we can achieve a sustainable, prosperous, and just society.
Cyprus, the south-easternmost border of the European Union is a place with rich and diverse history and culture but also a wide horizon of possibilities and opportunities. The idyllic, yet dynamic, coast of the Famagusta district lends itself as the perfect colloquium venue. With the Eastern Mediterranean gently expanding before them and surrounded by bountiful lush green gardens, participants have the tranquillity of mind to distance themselves from the day-to-day tumult, immerse themselves into new ways of thinking, debate energetically and respectfully, and discover and explore novel perspectives.