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2021 Socrates Romania Online Transatlantic Seminar

On June 2-4, 2021, Aspen Institute Romania will organize the second edition of the Transatlantic Socrates Seminar (online), in partnership with the Aspen Institute Socrates Program (USA), and supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US. If you are interested in participating, please contact

Transatlantic Cooperation and Whole-of-Society Resilience:
The Key to Fighting Disruption

How can the West improve its resilience and remain competitive in the security and technological challenges of the next decades?

The seminar will be organized in the margins of the Atlantic – Black Sea Security Forum 2021, under the framework of the Aspen Resilience, Governance & Society Program, Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program. For three 3-hour sessions, one session each day of the seminar, we will explore, in a transatlantic context, the nexus between societal resilience, security & technological developments.

Technology has transformed democratic societies in recent years, from playing a significant role in recent elections on both sides of the Atlantic to amplifying the voices of ordinary citizens on everyday matters. In addition, the ongoing pandemic has accelerated the global shift of power and realignment of the global balance of power, making great power competition more tense and more intractable, raising concerns regarding both traditional and non-traditional security.

Furthermore, there is also a major technological shift underway, as the technological superiority of the West is being challenged for the first time in hundreds of years. China and other big powers are emerging as formidable competitors in a whole range of cutting-edge fields. The political West needs to show solidarity in the face of these incoming challenges and find a new narrative for acting together, as allies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Faced with these combined challenges, which come to play both through civilian and military instruments, transatlantic consultation and coordination are key for accelerating the strands of work associated to enhancing resilience across the Euro-Atlantic region. To effectively respond to attempts aimed at undermining our very values and the core of democratic principles, a whole of society approach to resilience, engaging the triple helix of government, private sector, and civil society is required.

This Online Transatlantic Socrates Seminar will explore opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies, debating how the West can improve its resilience and mobilize key resources in order to be competitive in this great security and technological challenge. The Seminar will discuss opportunities and challenges posed by emerging and disruptive technologies and will be seeking solutions to improve protection of critical infrastructure in the digital age as well as to instill resilience through a more integrated approach. Using NATO’s 7 baseline requirements for resilience as the common denominator, it will discuss different ways of pursuing an enhanced Euro-Atlantic resilience agenda, including by exploring necessary synergies between relevant institutions and societal stakeholders.

Furthermore, as part of the wider technology and democracy debate, the Seminar will address the topic of increased pressure that online disinformation and fake news put both on institutions and individuals. Increasingly used as a tactic of wider hybrid warfare campaign, it aims at eroding trust in institutions such as NATO, the EU, the governments of their member states and partner countries. This triggers a relevant ethical, societal debate with regard to the real impact of tech on our democracies – does it hurt more that it helps?

The participation to the seminar will be by invitation only. The participants will include multiple stakeholders from the Aspen Technology & Society and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security program communities.

Moderated by Evelyn Farkas, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a National Security Analyst for NBC/MSNBC, and Radu Puchiu, Co-Founder and CEO, H.appy Cities.

Event information
Wed Jun 2, 2021 - Fri Jun 4, 2021