Selection Procedure


The Mayor of Athens established the City of Athens Democracy Award to be presented annually during the Athens Democracy Forum on September 15th, the U.N. International Day of Democracy. The award will be bestowed on an individual or organisation, in recognition of globally acknowledged achievements, which demonstrate a lasting and compelling commitment to the advancement of democracy and to the enhancement of its quality on an international scale. The City of Athens also wishes to honor all democratically active citizens, who not only defend democratic principles, but substantively contribute to the continuous promotion of democracy as a system of ethical values.

The concept of democracy in the contemporary world should be defined in terms of three distinct elements, which can be described as inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing:

(a) Free and fair elections held periodically and contested by one or more alternative political parties; 

(b) Adherence to the rule of law; and

(c) Respect for human rights. 

The recipient of the City of Athens Democracy Award should be an individual or organisation of indisputable international authority, having demonstrably contributed to the promotion of democracy as outlined above by fulfilling one of the following criteria:

  • Academic criterion - through original scholarly work which has substantively advanced our understanding of democracy in the contemporary world, as well as of the conditions necessary for enhancing and deepening democracy in a global context.
  • Practitioner criterion - through significant contribution to the promotion of democratic principles at the national or supranational level. This includes established democracies at one end of the spectrum, alongside initiatives aimed at strengthening democratic principles in weak democracies or at promoting the chances for regime change where democracy is still absent. 

The Mayor of Athens has established an Advisory Committee to oversee the award process and work with him in selecting the eventual recipient. The selection procedure consists of two parts. Initially, the Committee reviews the names of potential recipients and sets up a short list consisting of an equal number of candidates from each category deemed to fulfil the above criteria. It then proceeds with the voting segment of the selection procedure.

Voting Procedure 

A numerical value is assigned to each candidate from lowest to highest in accordance with the preferences of each individual committee member. The values assigned to each candidate are then consolidated and the highest scoring candidate to receive the award is selected.