Ms. Ino-Despina Afentouli: NATO and the Challenges to Multilateralism: Are We Experiencing a Paradigm Shift?

The Fletcher Initiative on Religion, Law, and Diplomacy is pleased to welcome Ms. Ino-Despina Afentouli for a closed conversation about the future of NATO on February 10, 2020.

NATO celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2019, but the gathering of Heads of State in London raised questions about commemoration versus celebration.  Although the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance is the longest-lived military alliance in history, the durability, capacity, and more fundamentally, raison d’etre of NATO has become a matter of question and contestation.  Indeed, the London celebrations were overshadowed by harsh debate and criticism, emblematic in the statement by French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment that “NATO is becoming brain-dead.”  How will NATO d/evolve in the coming years? Can the Transatlantic bond be reinforced, sustained, reinvented?  Are Europeans ready to build their own defense capability?  Is NATO prepared and capable to address 21st-century challenges posed by religious fundamentalism, China, and Russia?

Ino-Despina Afentouli is the Program Manager for Partnerships, Cooperative Security and Open Door policies and Program Officer for Greece at NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division (Engagements Team). She is responsible for the elaboration and implementation of the Public Diplomacy Strategy related to NATO’s partnerships, she represents Public Diplomacy Division in the respective NATO Committees and official meetings with the countries under her responsibility and she has the overall management of the communication campaigns in cooperation with state authorities and/or NGOs. Ms. Afentouli joined the organization in 2001. From 1986 to 2001, she worked as a journalist and columnist specialising in Foreign Policy and European Affairs. She was European Affairs Editor at the Athens News Agency (1997-2001), editor-in-chief of the Greek edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit reports ( 1996-1999), diplomatic correspondent, STAR Channel (1995-1996) and Messimvrini Daily, (1995-1996), political correspondent, Kathimerini Daily (1989-1994), Foreign Affairs editor, Athens Municipal Radio (1986-1989). She studied Law at the Athens University (BA) and earned a MA in Political Communication at the University of Paris-I (Sorbonne). She also attended the Institut Francais de Presse (University of Paris II). She was a member of the European Association of Journalists and received the Kalligas Award (November 2000) for contributing to the dissemination of European ideas in Greece. She was also Secretary General of the European Network of Women Journalists (1994-98) and official candidate of Greece for the prize Women of Europe in 1993. In addition, she was a member of the Greek-Turkish Forum aiming at the promotion of civil society cooperation between Greece and Turkey (1996-2000) and member of Win Peace, a women’s organisation promoting cooperation in South Eastern Europe.