I’ve spent the better part of the morning plotting out the rest of the summer, as the trip to Tokyo for the Olympics is officially off. (No matter how much I’m missing Japan the thought of being in a “bubble” that only allowed hotel/shuttle/venue sounded like the cruelest prison.) There were suddenly a run of free weeks that required some structure.
While it’s all subject to change, it now goes something like this. There’ll be a bit of Antiparos/Paros/Athens (more on the Greek capital in a moment) over the coming week and then a small Baltic tour featuring Tallinn, Pärnu, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen. After a few days back at base it’ll be on to Gstaad, St Moritz and Merano (yes, yes, there’ll be our usual summer party in Obermais) and perhaps there’ll be a few extra stops in Austria and Südtirol. By then it’ll be almost the end of August and I’m hoping that the UK will have put some of its key trading partners on its “green list”, or will be allowing people who’ve been vaccinated elsewhere to pass the border to do business.
Now that my schedule is sorted it’s time to look at your late summer plans, so please hit pause on whatever you might have been scheming up for your September sun escape and consider the following: how about joining all your favourite Monocle editors, contributors and fellow readers in Athens from 23 September for the sixth edition of our Quality of Life Conference? Here’s why.
1. For sure you deserve an extension to summer – particularly if you live in Germany, Switzerland, France or anywhere else in Europe that’s been doused for the past few weeks and is only starting to show signs of a normal July. Think warm Athenian evenings, superb food and a very fun crowd.
2. If you’re travelling from a bit further afield you could possibly fly through Zürich en route (there’s a special discount for delegates on Swiss) and join for a little pre-mingle. Or you could reverse that plan and catch the tail end of Art Basel.
3. It seems that Europe is the only place to be this September. Art Basel aside, there’s also Salone del Mobile in Milan, MIPIM in Cannes, 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen, the IAA in Munich and other design fairs in Helsinki and Vienna.
4. Our conference starts with a very warm welcome on the rooftop of city hall and carries on from there under perfect skies. Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis promised us that the weather will be flawless.
5. You’re going to get small masterclasses on life’s most pressing issues. Swiss neurosurgeon Philippe Schucht will tell you how you to make better use of your brain. London-based Greek fashion entrepreneur Maria Lemos will advise on building a better wardrobe.
6. The Benaki Museum building at Pireos 138 will serve as the backdrop for the main part of the conference. It will feature over 35 speakers and sessions, all touching on themes and currents to improve your quality of life – from urban planning to hospitality and cultural pursuits to architecture.
7. We’re pulling together a mini Greek market of the best in craft and design from around the country – think good sandals, tunics, jewellery and more.
8. As you’re reading this on a Sunday, it only makes sense to mention that one of the world’s best newspaper editors will be on stage to explain how to build better newsrooms. Emma Tucker, editor in chief of The Sunday Times, will be in conversation with me and Andrew Tuck.
9. We’re keen to deliver a more nuanced take on the topics driving global discussions and this means creating a forum for challenging ideas. Author Thomas Chatterton Williams will be discussing the evaporation of forgiveness and contemplating why it’s important to move forward.
10. The conference wraps on a Saturday sometime after lunch. From there you can extend your stay at the Four Seasons Astir Palace, head out to the islands or consider where you might by a well-positioned apartment in Kolonaki.
If you’d like to secure a ticket then please sign up here and if you have any specific questions please contact Hannah Grundy at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hosting you.