‘Democracy and Spirituality Weekend’ in Costa Navarino


«The great philosophers who were born in Greece 2,500 years ago, have enlightened the western and eastern civilizations alike. They were thinking about eternity, not just about the present. This idea that we should create for eternity, is something we have lost. We need to think not about the next 3 years, but about the next 1,000 years to come”.

Those were the words of Brunello Cucinelli, humanist and entrepreneur, at the ‘Democracy & Spirituality Weekend’ in Costa Navarino. In a natural backdrop of lush landscape and centuries-old olive trees, participants from all over the world, were paying close attention to Cucinelli’s words, who conveyed with passion and wisdom, his thoughts on humanistic capitalism, alongside the other prominent speakers who delved into the relationship between spirituality and democracy.

The ‘Democracy & Spirituality Weekend’ returned for its fifth edition 11-13 October, in partnership with the Athens Democracy Forum, including among its attendees, the Minister for Tourism Harris Theoharis, the Deputy Minister for Sports Lefteris Avgenakis, the President, International of The New York Times Company Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, forum delegates as well as several guests wishing to be part of a very topical discussion about democracy.

Brunello Cucinell, Chairman and CEO of Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A., also talked about how the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers have influenced his way of thinking: “The first thing they gave to me, is the idea that I am a temporary guardian of mankind. So if we think and act as guardians, we will act very differently than thinking as owners”.

“The link between democracy and spirituality lies in the fact that all power starts with self-perception”, said Khalil Osiris, International Speaker and C.E.O., Reflecting Freedom, Board Member of the House of Mandela Family Foundation.

During the ‘Socrates-Confucius dialogue’, Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, and Rana Mitter, Director of the University of Oxford China Center and Professor of the history and politics of modern China, brought an imaginary interaction between the two great philosophers, from the 5th century BC to the present, focusing on the different approaches but also on the common ground between eastern and western thinking.

The insightful discussions were moderated by Serge Schmemann, Member of the Editorial Board and Athens Democracy Forum Program Director, and Katrin Bennhold, Berlin Bureau Chief of The New York Times.

Achilles Tsaltas, President of the Athens Democracy Forum, noted in his welcome speech: “Education and justice are the fundamental pillars of democracy and there is a third pillar, reciprocity, which is also linked to the whole concept of spirituality. We should always link spirituality to the ideals and core values of democracy and that is what our speakers have touched upon: the ideas of humanist capitalism, our personal stories and our nobility of spirit feeding democracy and the bridges we need to build between eastern and western thinking and philosophy”.

The insightful discussion of the Democracy & Spirituality Weekend was complemented by a series of curated events: Brunello Cucinelli read excerpts of his book “The dream of Solomeo” and talked with the audience about his personal philosophy, ‘humanistic capitalism’. Prof. Angie Hobbs also read from her book “Plato’s Republic: A Ladybird Expert Book”, talking with the participants about the lifelong dilemma of justice in democracy. The weekend’s participants had the chance to immerse in cultural and Messinian experiences organized by Costa Navarino, including the Philosophy Walks and a discussion on ancient Greek philosophical thinking and spirituality, guided interactive tours in archaeological sites, as well as in olive oil tasting, becoming acquainted with the Messinian culinary traditions.


Costa Navarino is the prime, sustainable destination in the Mediterranean, located in the Greek region of Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese. One of the most unspoiled and breathtaking seaside Mediterranean landscapes, this area has been shaped by 4,500 years of history.

Its philosophy is driven by a genuine desire to promote Messinia, while protecting and preserving its natural beauty and heritage. It will comprise a number of distinct sites featuring five-star deluxe hotels, luxury private residences, conference facilities, spa and thalassotherapy centres, signature golf courses, as well as a wide range of unique year-round activities for adults and children.

Navarino Dunes, the first area, is home to two luxury five-star hotels, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino; Navarino Residences, a collection of luxury villas for private ownership; The Residences at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, fully-furnished resort apartments for sale; the signature golf course The Dunes Course, Anazoe Spa, a 4,000m2 spa and thalassotherapy centre; the state-of-the-art conference centre House of Events; specially designed facilities for children; as well as a variety of gastronomy venues, sports, outdoor and cultural activities. Navarino Bay, the second area, is home to the signature golf course, The Bay Course.

Navarino Hills, with two 18-hole golf courses, is currently under construction, and there are two further sites underway.

Athens Democracy Forum

The Athens Democracy Forum, now in its seventh year, will be held under the auspices of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos and in cooperation with the United Nations Democracy Fund and the City of Athens. Staged among some of the Greek capital’s historic landmarks, the Forum brings senior New York Times journalists together with international business leaders, policy makers, academics and experts to discuss the state of democracy and what action it requires in the face of mounting challenges. The Athens Democracy Forum is attended by over 400 international delegates from more than 30 countries.

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