The Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation held the Conference on “Providing Security in Unsecure times. Priorities and prospects for NATO and the EU” in cooperation with the Athens Flying Week 2018 and in collaboration with Women In International Security-Greece, with the kind support of the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, on 20 September 2018 at the Hellenic Armed Forces Officers Club (Sarogleion Megaron). The Conference topics combined the Air flying industry with the broader Security and International Relations contemporary issues, following the 2018 NATO Summit.
Following the opening remarks by Mr. Theodosis Georgiou, President of Greek Association for Atlantic & European Cooperation (GAAEC), former President Atlantic Treaty Association, Mr. Panagiotis Podimatas, President of the Organizing Committee for the Athens Flying Week 2018 and Ms. Ino Afentouli of the ΝΑΤΟ Public Diplomacy Division, the Conference included six panels of distinguished speakers discussing topics that related to the AFW18 project and the issues projected following the 2018 NATO Summit. Deputy Minister for Citizen Protection Katerina Papakosta expressed her concerns on human security stating that the international terminology now encompasses issues of poverty, social exclusion, religious fanaticism, and the questioning of governments by groups of citizens - in particular following the economic crisis.
The audience appreciated the work done behind the scenes to ensure the safety of air travel as presented on the « Tourism, Security and Development» panel, by Mr. Charalambos Karimalis, President of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Tourism Organization, Mr. Radu Valentin Metescu, Director of the Blue-Air airlines Training and Mr. Harris Markopoulos, Manager of the Security and Crisis management section of Aegean Air.
A long interesting discussion followed at the “Greek Foreign and Defence policy in a changing international & regional environment. Challenges & opportunities after the 2018 NATO Summit” panel, chaired by Mr. Athanasios Ellis, the Director of Kathimerini - English Edition newspaper between the Members of Parliament Mr. Konstantinos Douzinas, President of the Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Mr. George Koumoutsakos, New Democracy Coordinator for Foreign Policy, Mr. Andreas Loverdos, Parliamentary Representative of “Movement for Change” and Ambassador ΑdH George Kaklikis, Advisor to the President of “Potami” on Foreign Policy Issues. The Prespes agreement was inadvertently one of the key issues discussed.
During the “New War Battlefields, Hybrid Threats” panel Captain Spyridon Papageorgiou, Director of the Hellenic Armed Forces General Staff Cyber Defense Division, presented the dangers of Cyberspace and included practical advice for more secure use of the Internet. Mr. Triantafyllos Karatrantos, Senior Researcher of the Center for Security Studies ( KE.ME.A.) and Advisor of G.A.A.E.C. expanded on the Hybrid threats. The Chair was Mr. Andreas Lykoyrentzos, Founding Member of G.A.A.E.C. and former Minister.
The “Perspectives & Challenges for European Security in the post 2018 NATO Summit era”, chaired by Ms. Ino Afentouli of the ΝΑΤΟ P.D.D., were knowingly discussed by former Minister & Member of the Hellenic & European Parliament Ms. Marrieta Giannakou, Professor at the University of the Aegean and President of the KEMEA Board Mr. Panayotis Tsakonas, and the ELIAMEP Director General, Mr. Thanos Dokos.
Former Professor at the Athens University of Economics & Business and Member of the GAAEC Education Committee Mr. Anestis Konstantinidis chaired the “Could the EU develop an independent defense identity with a special emphasis in the aviation industry?” panel. Mr. Zacharias Gikas, President of the Hellenic Aerospace Industry, Mr. Tasos Rozolis, SEKPY President, and Mr. Alexandros Taliadouris, Manager, Strategy & Business Development, CAE Defence & Security – Europe & Africa CAE Defence and Security presented their expert contributions to the discussion on this pertinent question.
The last session on “Inclusive Security - Aspects and effects for the citizens, PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST”, chaired by the Chairperson of Women In International Security (WIIS)-Greece Dr. Aliki Mitsakos, Founding Member of GAAEC and Dean of The International Center for Leading Studies (TICLS) epitomized the core concept of all the discussions referring to the broad connotations of Security for everybody in every day life. Two influencers contributed their experiences. Member of Parliament Mr. Vasilis Kikilias, Former Minister of Public Order & Citizen Protection & National Defence Coordinator for New Democracy, presented the State concerns for safety, and the Journalist Mr. Nikos Evaggelatos, who referred to the effect of the media. Despite the long hours of discussion the audience remained attentive to the observations delivered by Ms. Vassiliki Souladaki, International relations, Mr. Sakis Ioannides, Member of the Central Administration of the Economic Chamber of Greece, Mr. Petros Violakis, Vice President of KEDISA and Mr. Ilias Tasopoulos, Senior editor of the Center for Mediterranean, Middle East & Islamic Studies.
The contribution of the Honorary Chief of the Hellenic Air Force General George Avlonitis to the organization of the Conference and the AFW18 must by acknowledged.
On the weekend of 22-23 September all the participants had the opportunity to attend the Athens Flying Week International Airshow 2018, the major Air Show that hosted elite display teams, pilots with special skills, aircraft with amazing capabilities, and amazing flying programs.
GAAEC’s next activities include the Inclusive Security Road Show to major cities in Greece during November and December 2018.