We are an intellectual research center that works with historical evidence, figures, perceptions and applied foresight on international relations and defense in order to interpret the past, assess current scenarios, and above all, propose a course of action for the future and its monitoring. Our objective is to provoke, generate dialogue, promote critical thinking, inspire, educate and keep our audience well informed. We are a laboratory of ideas and analysis of real situations, inspired by Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom and military strategy.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”
“Every victory is only the price of admission to a more difficult problem”
We live in an era of transformations. Populism, nationalism, protectionism and isolationist policies are on the rise once again with great strength. The big power-game among strong nations has returned. Traditional structures, such as the Nation-State, suffer from multiple pressures, including migratory flows and economic decisions that exceed a response capacity.
These trends, which are accelerated by the technological revolution are undermining the liberal world order based on norms and regulations, which after the Second World War brought unprecedented prosperity and stability. Furthermore, military forces that had been marginalized for decades due to profits from trade, recovered prominence once again.
In this new scenario, where traditional hegemonies dissipate while risks increase, it becomes crucial to update and coordinate Chile’s Foreign and Defense Policies, which up to this point have been based on these basic principles: the sovereign equality of states, non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, economic integration as a growth factor, and the continuous quest for mutual deterrence among neighbors.
With the country’s development and its close ties to the Paci c, as well as the absence of effective cooperation mechanisms amongst super powers, foreign affairs cannot limit themselves any longer to judicial/economic issues. It is necessary to search for new action fronts in order to interact with the rest of the world in a proactive and bene cial manner. Simultaneously, our Defense should promote and protect national interests when faced with threatening situations.
Civil society’s contribution is important. Therefore, it is crucial to build a common Foreign and Defense Affairs strategic plan, and AthenaLab’s role is to assist in this effort.
Athena laboratory’s main mission is to become the leading forum for Chile’s civil society in all matters related to Foreign and Defense Affairs, while focusing on independence, embracing new ideas, intellectual honesty and healthy idealism, while remaining realistic, precise and pragmatic. This will enable us to build a well-de ned national identity that is current and shared.
In order to move towards this goal, we will carry out research, we will hold seminars, conduct comparative analysis, produce critical documents, carry out surveys, and we will also provide training based on the practices of the top international research centers worldwide. Some of these centers will become natural partners in this endeavor.
We will actively seek joint activities with public entities, private organizations, universities, Armed Services institutes, and locally- based international centers that focus on these subjects. Always for the purpose of adding efforts and helping.
We are more of a “do-tank” than a “think-tank”. This implies that we favor a spirit of inquiry into new approaches to confront old problems and to propose alternatives that can better take advantage of the potential of institutions related to International Affairs and Defense. Likewise, it subsumes the need to develop ways to evaluate the efficacy and efficiency of these very institutions, for the purpose of generating a culture of innovation, flexibility and adaptive leadership.
AREAS OF INTEREST
Chile has ceased to be a country located in the far corners of the world. Its presence in three continents (America, Antarctic, and Oceania), its interconnectivity with the main economies of the planet, its GDP per capita, which will approach US$30,000 in the coming decade (with the PPP), its active support for global security (from Rimpac to peace missions) and its capacity to export public policies (OECD), enable it to become a relevant player; as is the case with New Zealand or Singapore, countries that have long surpassed supposed geographic determinism. The aforementioned conditions allow us to think that Chile, as a country, could play the function of “offshore balancing”, between Latin America and the Asia-Paci c region.
Wherever Chile’s national interest is to be found, there too will be the AthenaLab: today, in the Americas, Asia-Paci c, Antarctic and like-minded countries; tomorrow, perhaps, in the Indian Ocean. Albeit, without setting aside transnational subjects, such as migration, terrorism, organized crime, epidemiological controls, cybersecurity and climate change.
Currently, our national interests are also tied to global interests. A stable environment for the economy requires security, which ultimately enables the integral development for the people, the progress goal that Chile has set for itself.