Why do you go to the World Economic Forum?
I have attended the World Economic Forum before because I think it is very important to have the Greek perspective represented at international fora, and because it is important for the President of the ATHENS 2004 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, to reach out to prominent officials and business leaders from other countries. Greece has been actively engaged in a modernization these past years; our ability to win the International Olympic Committee?s approval to host the 2004 Games is a good example, but not the only example, of that process. As we have stepped forward to take our place in the new economy (as a country member of the European Monetary Union), as we occupy a central stage in some of the significant foreign policy challenges facing the world, we must participate as never before in the global dialogue about strategy and the direction the world must take.
What did you strike most at this year's Davos?
The participation was more diverse, because the world cannot afford to view its core challenges - security and safety, rationalizing economic growth to include more participation, injecting values such as trust and integrity in areas ranging from sport to corporate governance - from only one or two perspectives. We live in challenging and complicated times, and we can only prevail if there is unity and mutual respect among all the diverse nations, regions, and interests in the world. The Olympics can make a powerful contribution to that process. When the Olympics were born in my country three millennia ago, they were devoted to the idea of peaceful competition through sport. Greece is hard at work in this era, amidst the challenges which we are all confronting today, to make these ancient values work for the people of the world, by hosting a unique Games on a human scale. The world needs a successful Olympics more than ever, and we Greeks are determined to provide that to the world.
Lessons learnt. Davos is also about new insights and ideas. What did you learn at this year's Davos?
Many things come to mind, but perhaps the big lesson I take away from Davos this year is really the human dimension of all of these broad issues; that in today's world, how we frame the debate of even global issues needs to incorporate an understanding of the individual, and how the fears and uncertainties that we all might share, are very human reactions to very real issues. To remove them from the debate is to lose something fundamentally important. Perhaps I come upon this insight because it is really an ancient idea, the idea of the human scale, that the human being is the measure of all things. It's something that we Greeks can trace throughout our history all the way up to today: in fact we've incorporated into the way we are organising the 2004 Olympic Games, Unique Games on a Human Scale is how we describe it. This year at Davos, this idea was really driven home for me.