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John Jay College to Hold Biennial International Conference in Athens, on “The Rule of Law in an Era of Change”

John Jay College, in collaboration with the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) at the Greek Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection, will hold its 11th Biennial International Conference in Athens, Greece, from June 11-14, 2014. The theme of the Conference is The Rule of Law in an Era of Change: Security, Social Justice and Inclusive Governance.

The three-day conference will consist of 55 panels, special guests, including Greek Government officials, and two keynote speakers: Nikolaos Dendias, Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection of the Hellenic Republic and George Bizos, Senior Counsel at the Legal Resources Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition to other events, the Mayor of Athens will host the opening reception at City Hall, and the closing reception and dinner will be held at the Acropolis Museum.

In support of the conference, John Jay held a panel discussion on May 13 on
“Greek and European Union Policies on Migration: Challenges and Prospects.” The panel explored the issues of migration and was chaired by George Andreopoulos, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Human Rights. Welcoming remarks were offered by Georgios Iliopoulos, Consul General of Greece in New York and by John Jay College President Jeremy Travis. The distinguished panel included Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Head of Mission, Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations; Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of the Migration Policy Institute; Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, Deputy Head of Mission, European Union Delegation to the United Nations, and Vasili Tsamis, Chief Operating Officer, Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Greece and Italy are front-line states that have dealt with migratory flows from other parts of the world, such as North Africa and the Middle East.

A reception and photo exhibition, featuring the work of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Greece, followed the panel discussion.

The Organizing Committee for the Athens conference is chaired by Andreopoulos and also includes Jana Arsovska, Rosemary Barberet, Anne Lopes, Rosemarie Maldonado, John Paul Narkunas, Mayra Nieves, Katherine Stavrianopoulos and Patricia Tovar.

John Jay began holding the biennial conferences in 1992, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since then they have been held in New York; Dublin, Ireland; London, England; Budapest, Hungary; Bologna, Italy: Bucharest, Romania; San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Marrakesh, Morocco. Their global reach reflects the purpose of the conferences: to raise the international profile of John Jay and to provide a platform for scholars and policy makers from different parts of the world to discuss, deliberate and collaborate on justice-related issues and projects.

Andreopoulos says the long-term goal is to create a community of scholars and practitioners who will continue the conversation around the issues that are raised at the international conference with follow-up conferences, publications in journals and books, and the development of policy recommendations that will influence public debate.

“We chose Greece as the location for the conference because we have a long-term and very productive relationship with KEMEA, which is the main think tank of the Ministry on issues of security, justice and law. In addition, it is important to be in Greece at this time because the country is going through a very difficult period. While we cannot solve the country’s problems, we can, as an academic institution, provide networking and publishing opportunities to scholars, practitioners and students,” said Andreopoulos.

Andreopoulos says that the rule of law is a fundamental principle of governance that characterizes well-ordered societies. “We chose this as a theme for our conference because it is currently being challenged in many parts of the world, where authority structures are becoming, due to a variety of factors, more authoritarian and less transparent.”

“Those in power are supposed to be held accountable to the governed and greater transparency is needed to achieve this goal. You need vibrant and engaged institutions, both government-based and civil society-based, who will scrutinize the actions of those in power to ensure that they are held to certain standards of appropriate conduct,” said Andreopoulos.