Every year, in early autumn, people from diverse walks of life descend on the Greek island of Rhodes.
Since 2003 the Rhodes Forum has brought together leaders from the business, academic, diplomatic and political communities, including current and former heads of state and government, to discuss crucial issues facing the world today. Throughout its history, its hallmark has been the pioneering spirit, inclusiveness, and moral resilience of its participants in their work to tackle the problems we face.
The Rhodes Forum has consistently sought to promote a new culture of dialogue that is so desperately needed. The Forum always seeks to reflect key issues on the international agenda. Forum participants share their views on current events, and address ideas for possible solutions to some of our most pressing problems to both decision-makers and to society in general. This part of the international community’s broader efforts to protect the key values of humanity and to contribute to sustainable global development.
That small island forms the stage for an event that, when it first began, was seen as little more than a fringe event, gathering individuals of uncertain standing and unclear intent. Over the years, however, it has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading platforms for open dialogue between people from radically different backgrounds and world-views. But that is not what makes it unique.
The Rhodes Forum stands out for the dedication of its focus on developing entirely new approaches and solutions to current problems, and to identifying issues before they escalate. The global financial crisis and Europe’s refugee crisis were two major issues that the Rhodes Forum identified as priorities before either became standard headlines in the media or much-chewed-over talking points.
Today we face multiple global challenges: wars continue, disputes escalate into conflict, terrorism threatens our security, and echoes of the Cold War risk undermining our efforts to work together.
These factors contribute to the rising number of displaced persons worldwide – already nearing critical levels. Recipient countries and regions are under intense pressure, and many are also struggling to emerge from their own economic crises.
The international community seems unable to find adequate answers to these pressing global challenges. New crises, conflicts, and threats will continue to emerge. A genuine dialogue between civilisations is vital in order to mediate these emerging conflicts and alleviate rising tensions.