Megaron Plus Lecture Series

The Megaron Plus and the London School of Economics and Political Science in collaboration with the Hellenic Alumni Association of the London School of Economics and the Hellenic Observatory presented a series of public lectures for three consecutive years at the Megaron Mousikis in Athens.

 

2016-2017

Lecture 1: Brexit and EU Foreign Policy: Beginning of the end or a new beginning?

Speaker: Karen Smith, Professor of International Relations, LSE

Chair: Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies; Head of the European Institute, LSE
Discussant: Loukas Tsoukalis, Professor of European Integration, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
Date: Wednesday 15 February 2017
Time: 19:00


This lecture considers the impact that Brexit will have on the EU as an international actor and on its foreign policy. Without UK resources, the EU could be weaker, but it also might be more unified. Could Brexit lead to a more coherent EU foreign policy?

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Lecture 2: The Origins of ISIS in Iraq

Speaker: Toby Dodge, Professor of International Relations; Director of Middle East Centre, LSE
Chair: Katerina Dalacoura, Associate Professor in International Relations, LSE
Discussant: Thanos Dokos, Director General of Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
Date: Wednesday 16 March 2017
Time: 19:00

This lecture will examine the birth and reasons for the growth of the Islamic State or in Arabic ad-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fīl-ʻIraq wa ash-Shām,  or Daʿesh. The organisation was formed in Iraq in 2006 at the height of the civil war that engulfed the country after the US-led invasion and regime change of 2003. The organisation reached the peak of its power after the US withdrew from Iraq, seizing the country’s second largest city, Mosul, in June 2014.  The military campaign against the Islamic State has succeeded in dramatically reducing the territory it holds in both Iraq and Syria.  However, the Islamic State is best understood as a violent symptom of a set of much deeper, primarily political problems that have plagued Iraq since 2003.  If these problems are not sorted out then a new equally radical and violent organisation may well take the Islamic State’s place.

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Lecture 3: Hubris: Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and how to Avoid the Next One?

Speaker: Lord Meghnad Desai, Emeritus Professor of Economics, LSE; Member of the House of Lords; Former Member of the House of Commons Select Committee
Chair: Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies; Head of the European Institute, LSE
Discussant:  Eleni-Louri Dendrinou, Professor of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business
Date: Thursday 11 May 2017
Time: 19:00

This lecture will provide a frank assessment of economists' blindness before the financial crash in 2007-2008 and what must be done to avert a sequel. Through it, the speaker will underscore the contribution of hubris to economists' calamitous lack of foresight, and make a persuasive case for the profession to re-engage with the history of economic thought.

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2015-16

 Lecture 1: Prime Ministers and the Paradox of Power in Greece

Speakers: Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies; Director, Hellenic Observatory, LSE

Dimitris Papadimitriou, Professor of Politics, University of Manchester
Discussant: Alexis Papahelas, Editor of the Kathimerini newspaper
Date: Thursday 15 October 2015
Time: 19:00

This lecture focusses on the new book published by Prof Kevin Featherstone and Prof Dimitris Papadimitriou with Oxford University Press.  It examines the leadership of five Greek prime ministers and it argues they have faced a ‘paradox of power’.  Despite the powers accorded to them under the Constitution, they faced institutional weaknesses in controlling and coordinating the machinery of government.  The costs of this paradox are a fragmented system of governance that provided the backdrop to Greece’s economic meltdown in 2010.

The lecture was attended by some 400 guests, including many prominent public and political figures – a former prime minister (Costas Simitis), three former finance ministers, other senior politicians, a former central bank governor (Nikos Garganas) and an ex-head of the National Bank of Greece (Vassilis Rapanos), business leaders Sir Stelios Hadjiioannou and Sophie Daskalaki, the former European Ombudsman (Nikiforos Diamandouros), and many prominent LSE alumni.

You can order the book 'Prime Ministers in Greece: The Paradox of Power' here.

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Lecture 2: The Rule of Law in Europe: Friend or Foe of Democracy?

Speaker: Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law; Director, Institute of Public Affairs, LSE
Chair: Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies; Director, Hellenic Observatory, LSE
Discussant: Nikos Alivizatos, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Athens
Date: Wednesday 2 December 2015
Time: 19:00
Venue: Dimitris Mitropoulos Hall (Αίθουσα Δημήτρης Μητρόπουλος), Megaron, Athens, Greece

With the events in Greece seeming to provide yet another demonstration that the European project has entered a post-democratic phase, Professor Gearty's lecture addressed the role of law in this fast-emerging new European order.  Is it the handmaiden of austerity or a champion of old-style democracy? Whose side is law on? Does law matter?

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Lecture 3: Why Thucydides is our Contemporary: What his History has to tell us about the Face of War today

Speaker: Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations, LSE
Chair: Spyros Economides, Hellenic Observatory, LSE
Discussant:  Theodore Couloumbis, Professor of International Relations, University of Athens; Vice-President, ELIAMEP
Date: Thursday 3 March 2016
Time: 19:00

Thucydides was right: war is a human, all too human activity and we always have to revisit the classics to remind ourselves of the fact. The ancient Greeks were never more important for the U.S. Military than in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 - unfortunately they learned the wrong lessons, misreading the classics can be more dangerous than not reading them at all.

2014-15

 Lecture 1: Social Movements, Social Change, and Democracy

Speaker: Professor Craig Calhoun, President and Director, LSE
Chair: Professor Kevin Featherstone FAcSS Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics; Director, Hellenic Observatory, LSE
Discussant: Professor Nikos Mouzelis, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, LSE
Date: Wednesday 10 December 2014
Time: 19:00

In recent years, in a period of global instability, a number of significant popular demonstrations have taken place around the world – in Constitution Square in Athens, in Tahrir Square, Tunisia, Chile, Turkey, and more recently in Kiev. What do these popular demonstrations have in common? What can they tell us about democracy, capitalism and the changes occurring in our contemporary societies?

You can watch the video from the LSE Hellenic Alumni Association YouTube channel .

Lecture 2: Power Shift? Decline of the West? Myths, Facts and Economists

Speaker: Professor Michael Cox, Emeritus Professor of International Relations and LSE IDEAS
Chair: Professor Kevin Featherstone FAcSS Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics; Director, Hellenic Observatory, LSE
Discussant: Professor George Pagoulatos, Professor of European Politics and Economy, Athens University of Economics & Business
Date: Monday 9 February 2015 
Time: 19:00

As one millennium gave way to another, few in the West worried about the West’s future. A decade later and most writers - and the majority of policy- makers - were now taking it as read that the West's best days were behind it. How and why had this shift taken place?  Was indeed such a shift occurring? And what role did the same western economists who failed to predict the 2008 crisis play  in shaping this new consensus about the balance of power in the 21st century?

 You can watch the video here.

  Lecture 3: European obligations and national state cultures: a bridge too far?

Speaker: Professor Kevin Featherstone FAcSS Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics; Director, Hellenic Observatory, LSE
Chair: Dr Dimitris Sotiropoulos, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens.
Discussant: Professor Loukas Tsoukalis, Professor of European Integration, University of Athens, and President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, ELIAMEP
Date: Monday 23 March 2015
Time: 19:00

The euro-crisis has exposed how far the European Union must deal with different ‘worlds of governance’ across its member states. The EU had neglected the challenges of different institutional capacities and administrative cultures in the national implementation of its policies. How come? Now it is drawn into an unprecedented ‘micro-management’ of national reform, raising issues of credibility and legitimacy and risking new national and European cleavages. Can the EU cope with these challenges? Can the ‘bail-out’ states truly standalone?

You can watch the video here.

Lecture 4: The Politics of the Human: Promises and Dangers

Speaker: Professor Anne Phillips FBA, Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science, LSE
Chair: Professor Kevin Featherstone FAcSS Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics; Director, Hellenic Observatory, LSE

Discussant:

Professor Thalia Dragonas, Professor of Social Psychology, University of Athens; former Member of the Greek Parliament
Date: Thursday 23 April 2015
Time: 19:00

When we think of ourselves primarily as human, we say that our shared humanity matters more than our race, religion, gender, nationality, and so on.  This is a powerful ethical ideal. But the notion of the human can exclude as much as include; and when it diverts attention from difference to commonality, it can encourage an empty sentimentalism that wishes away the realities of power.

You can watch the video here