Allegheny Student Attends Athens Democracy Forum

What is democracy? How should it be pursued? These same questions were posed to Hassan Javed ’24, selected for the 2023 Athens Democracy Forum. Javed joined 21 other students from colleges in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance for the Athens Democracy Forum in Greece. Leaders from various backgrounds gathered to discuss the meaning of democracy and pressing topics such as climate change, immigration, and food insecurity.

“I took away a lot from this experience about myself, others, democracy, Greece, and how the world operates within a political context,” says Javed, a communication and cultural studies major with a minor in psychology. “I had the opportunity to meet active politicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, and many more leaders in their respective fields.”

Associate Professor of Psychology Lydia Eckstein, and Associate Professor of French and GLAA Campus Liaison Briana Lewis supported Javed’s application to the forum. Hassan is the fourth Allegheny student to participate since the forum started in 2017.

“Hassan showed that he not only understood, but deeply felt, the immediate urgency of the Forum’s themes, connecting them to the ways in which he has seen global climate injustices impact his home country of Pakistan,” says Lewis. “It was clear to me that he’d be an ideal candidate for participating, and I was delighted that the GLAA selected him.”

After graduation, Javed hopes to pursue a career as a documentary filmmaker, combining his skills in journalism and filmmaking to tell exciting stories about people.

“I refined my definition of democracy during this experience. Democracy is not simply about allowing citizens the right to live freely and elect who they want to represent them; it is about allowing citizens to receive the adequate education and critical thinking skills necessary to make an informed decision about the governance of their country,” says Javed. “Furthermore, democracy is true when every citizen can feel that their voice is not only being heard but truly matters, and that everyone can express and represent their and their community’s needs.”