Transatlantic Socrates Seminar

The Transatlantic Socrates Seminar was launched in 2019 and gathers for each edition 20 – 25 participants belonging to various nationalities, representing key stakeholders from both sides of the Atlantic, involved in strengthening the Transatlantic ties. Since 2022, the Seminar is organized annually in Brussels (Belgium), a city serving as a focal point of both NATO and the EU. 

The 2022 and 2023 editions of the Seminar were organized in cooperation with NATO (through Policy Planning Unit in 2022 and Public Diplomacy Division in 2023) and the European External Action Service and provided a channel for informal and informed dialogue with key stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic, in a multi-national environment. 

The participants to the Seminar have various backgrounds such as technology, communication, cybersecurity, defense policy, foreign affairs, diplomacy, political affairs, international relations, finance etc. 

During the 3 days of each edition of the seminar, the participants are challenged to explore contemporary critical issues facing the world and to have an informal, constructive debate on topics such as: societal and democratic resilience in the era of great power competition; the future European and global architectures: the nexus between resilience, security and innovation; opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies; online disinformation and fake news; boosting resilience to cyber and hybrid threats; NATO New Strategic Concept etc.

The Transatlantic Socrates Seminar is developed in partnership with the Aspen Institute US – Socrates Program and is conducted in English. The Socrates Seminars organized around the world provide a forum for emerging leaders from various professions to convene and explore contemporary issues through expert-moderated dialogue. The seminars are designed as values-based Socratic explorations to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The Socrates Seminar is a collaborative endeavour for participants from different fields and the participants are asked to contribute their understanding of and reactions to carefully selected readings, with the guidance of moderators who are experts in their sector.

By joining the Socrates Seminars developed by the Aspen Institute Romania in partnership with the Aspen Institute – Socrates Program, participants join a diverse Socrates alumni network which has grown to over 8,000 leaders from the entire world, from the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors.

The 6th edition of the seminar will be organized in 2024, at a date to be decided. Please find below details about the editions of the Transatlantic Socrates Seminar organized by the Aspen Institute Romania between 2019 and 2023.

Please find below details about the editions of the Transatlantic Socrates Seminar organized by the Aspen Institute Romania between 2019 and 2023.

5th edition (in-person): June 12-14, 2023

  • Location: Brussels.

  • Supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US, in cooperation with NATO Policy Planning Unit and the European External Action Service.

  • 24 participants to the seminar, who became part of the Aspen Alumni community; various backgrounds such as technology, communication, cyber security, defense policy, foreign affairs, diplomacy, political affairs, international relations, finance etc. and originated from Romania and other countries of Europe, as well as from the USA.

  • Moderators: Dr. Paula J. DOBRIANSKY, Ambassador and Senior Fellow at Harvard University, JFK Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs and Radu Puchiu, Co-Founder & CEO of H.appy Cities and Program Director of the Aspen Technology & Society Program.

  • Guest speakers: Mircea Geoană, NATO Deputy Secretary General, Stefano Sannino, Secretary General, European External Action Service and Benedetta Berti, Head of the NATO Policy Planning Unit.

The seminar was organized under the framework of the Aspen Resilience, Governance & Society Program, the Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program and explored how the current strategic competition and the broadening definition of security are impacting the existing approaches in operationalizing societal and democratic resilience.

4th edition (in-person): June 8-10, 2022

  • Location: Brussels.

  • Supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US, in cooperation with NATO Policy Planning Unit and the European External Action Service.

  • 25 participants to the seminar, who became part of the Aspen Alumni community; various backgrounds such as technology, communication, cybersecurity, defense policy, foreign affairs, diplomacy, political affairs, international relations, finance etc. and originated from Romania, as well as from the USA.

  • Moderators: Dr. Jodi VITTORI, Professor of Practice and co-chair of the Global Politics and Security program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Radu Puchiu, Co-Founder & CEO of H.appy Cities and Program Director of the Aspen Technology & Society Program.

  • Guest speakers: Mircea Geoană, NATO Deputy Secretary General and Stefano Sannino, Secretary General, European External Action Service.

The seminar was organized under the framework of the Aspen Resilience, Governance & Society Program, the Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program and explored how transatlantic cooperation and whole-of-society resilience can help fight disruptions in a democracy.

3rd edition (online): June 2-4, 2021

  • Supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US.

  • 17 participants to the seminar, who became part of the Aspen Alumni community; various backgrounds such as technology, communication, cybersecurity, defense policy, foreign affairs, diplomacy, political affairs, international relations, finance etc. and originated from Romania, as well as from the USA.

  • Moderators: Dr. Evelyn Farkas, expert with three decades of experience working on national security and foreign policy in the U.S. executive, legislative branch, private sector and for international organizations overseas and by Radu Puchiu, Co-Founder & CEO of H.appy Cities and Program Director of the Aspen Technology & Society Program.

  • Guest speakers: Hasit Thankey, Head, Enablement and Resilience, Defence Policy and Planning Division, NATO HQ International Staff and Dimitri Lorenzani, Member of cabinet, Cabinet of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight, European Commission.

The seminar was organized under the framework of the Aspen Resilience, Governance & Society Program, the Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program and explored how transatlantic cooperation and whole-of-society resilience can help fight disruptions in a democracy.

2nd edition (online): October 5-7, 2020

  • 19 participants to the seminar, who became part of the Aspen Alumni community; participants’ countries of residence: Romania, USA, Germany, France, Ukraine, Mexico, France.

  • Supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US.

  • Moderators: Cameron Abadi, deputy editor at Foreign Policy, and Radu Puchiu, Aspen Alumnus and Co-Founder and CEO of H.appyCities.

  • Guest speakers: Mircea Geoană, Deputy Secretary General of NATO and Lieutenant General Daniel Petrescu, Chief of Defence Staff, Ministry of National Defence.

The Seminar was organized in the margins of the Bucharest Forum 2020, under the framework of the Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program.

Having as its theme Friend or Foe?: How Tech Is Transforming Democracy, the seminar explored the ways in which technology is transforming democratic societies.

The 2nd edition of the seminar targeted in particular the communities of the two public policy programs: Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program.

1st edition (in-person): May 24-26, 2019

  • Location: Fundata, Brașov County (Romania)

  • 23 participants to the seminar, with various backgrounds such as diplomacy, political affairs, international relations, foreign affairs, defense policy, communication, technology, finance etc.; participants’ countries of residence: Romania, USA, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, The Netherlands, UK.

  • Supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US.

  • Moderator: Mischa Thompson, Policy Advisor at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, also known as the Helsinki Commission).

  • Theme of the Seminar: Friend or Foe?: How Tech Is Transforming Democracy.

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