About us

How we work:

Our role is to provoke, curate and convene stakeholders through a series of activities and initiatives that:

  • create policy proposals by adding fresh thinking to ancient democratic wisdom;

  • calibrate and validate them through a thorough process of deliberative democracy, with culture as a key enabler; and

  • ensure the best ideas are grafted onto existing institutions to create new models of democracy fit for a changing world.


Our stakeholders/audience are a blend of citizens and leaders and experts, including youth, and we seek to bring them together in a way that bridges the gap.


We work with carefully chosen, and closely aligned, partners from civil society, media, government and corporations to deliver these activities and achieve our overall mission.


Achilles Tsaltas, President, Democracy & Culture Foundation

The New York Times has been convening the Athens Democracy Forum since 2013 and the Art for Tomorrow conference since 2015.  In 2019 we decided, for the future growth and development of these conferences, to form a non-profit structure around them and take them out of the commercial structure of The New York Times conference division. 

Achilles Tsaltas (ex-Vice President of International Conferences at The New York Times) was charged to set up an independent entity, The Democracy & Culture Foundation, with a mission to not only make these conferences more consequential but, significantly, develop alliances with other organizations to turn solutions into action.  The events remain strongly linked with The New York Times through a licensing deal, and with senior NYT journalists helping to craft and develop the agenda and moderating the events.

With an impressive background in publishing and circulation spanning over 30 years, Achilles has worked in pivotal roles for companies such as News Corporation, International Herald Tribune and, since 2014, The New York Times as Vice President of International Conferences.  It is here that he launched two events: the Athens Democracy Forum and Art for Tomorrow – and developed a passion for democracy and culture.

Who we are


The Foundation has a small team of core staff, and will be expanding in 2021.

Board of Governors

It is overseen by a Board of Governors, which sets overall policy and objectives, establishes the Foundation’s set of ethical values and ensures that objectives are met.

Leadership Council

A Leadership Council is the body of last appeal, takes a lead in the funding for the Foundation, gives strategic advice and safeguards ethical standards.

Our objectives

Our mission can be translated into five key objectives:


Enhance democratic process through innovation and technology



Increase diversity of voices and wider stakeholder representation

Citizen engagement

Increase citizen deliberation in democratic processes

Truth & transparency

Explore solutions to misinformation

Sharing & education

Educate citizens and government officials on best practices

Our initiatives

To deliver on our objectives, we will leverage these key initiatives:

Incubation lab – including a cluster of conferences & seminars


Special projects – including a citizen’s assembly, a parliamentary caucus, hackathons, linking citizens with experts


Curated library - a collection of know-how, literature and best practices


Interactive digital platform - mobile app to facilitate idea generation, networking, and connectivity


Education of democratic leaders - learn from best practices, thematic visits, dedicated conference session, seminars, and online training


Soliciting and publishing articles from experts