WOOSTER, Ohio – For the second year in a row, a student from The College of Wooster will attend the Athens Democracy Forum, as senior Marco Roccato will be in Greece from Oct. 5-12, to discuss and research topics related to the current state of democracy around the world. He’ll be one of 25 undergraduate students from around the globe who will provide a youth perspective to the hundreds of business leaders, education and non-profit officials, award-winning journalists, and others in attendance.
The Athens Democracy Forum is a three-day conference (Oct. 9-11), during which international delegates spanning a wide variety of organizations work together to offer up possible action ideas “(democracy) requires in the face of mounting challenges,” according to the Forum website. This year’s goal is “to explore the forces of alternative models of governance and how to deal with them,” and there are five central topics.
As a global and international studies major from Rovellasca, Italy, Roccato is particularly interested in the “We and Them: The Tectonic Plates of Nationalism and Multiculturalism” topic. He noted, “I really latched on to the multiculturalism one. It’s interesting to see those perspectives changing. Each nationalism is different, but they also have some strong, overarching themes.”
Roccato and some of his fellow student invitees engaged in working groups over the summer to gain familiarity with the topics, and now will fully immerse themselves in the work for a few days prior to the conference. With a strong background in “the research aspect … the critical thinking skills and the ability to look at a topic from different perspectives,” thanks to his Wooster education, Roccato is well prepared for the experience.
Roccato’s goals for the Forum are multi-faceted. “I’m very excited to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds all over the world, and it’s going to be exciting to see political leaders that you normally see on the news. It’s a great opportunity to make connections, gain professional development working in those small groups, and just making the most out of our time that we have there,” he said.
And, if Roccato gets selected to be on stage for a panel, like Wooster representative Sabrina Harris ’19 did a year ago, that would simply be a “bonus.”