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Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants



Demetri Papademetriou

Not that it‘s his fault, of course.

But you could say that this whole crazy project started because of Demetri -- Comprehensive Immigration Reform was his idea, he developed and unleashed it on the world just about the time he was launching his new think tank, the Migration Policy Institute.

We'd known Demetri for a couple years already by then, he‘d been a key advisor on our previous film, Well-Founded Fear. When we learned, not from him but from lots of other people in DC, that this radical solution he‘d dreamed up for 21st century migration might actually become law, we saw an opportunity to examine the legislative process through some characters we already knew would prove to be, well, at the very least, highly watchable.

The first scene on the first roll of film we shot shows Demetri explaining his grand new plan on a conference call with reporters. He‘s sitting in an almost empty new office with a desk, a phone, two little US and Mexican flags and a bottle of champagne.

Eight years later we are filled with regrets -- regrets that we didn‘t film more with Demetri. In the weeks before 9/11, he was mostly behind the scenes, and we couldn‘t seem to catch up with him. And on the morning of September 11th, he told us he knew it was over. Ever the clear-eyed realist, he recalculated his focus right then.

Through the years we continued to follow the efforts toward the Grand Bargain on immigration he‘d helped to launch, we did film a scene with him here or there. Mainly he was traveling, or back at the Migration Policy Institute, coming up with ways to fix migration policies in many other parts of the world. Even though he‘s not on camera very much, though -- Demetri‘s idea is the bedrock under all we filmed.

Demetri was Senior Associate & Co-Director of the International Migration Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Policy. Since 2001, he's been President and Co-Founder of MPI, the Migration Policy Institute. Demetri was born in Greece, just like The Epidavros Project. And democracy.

Demetri Papademetriou appears in Stories 1 The Game Is On, 2 Mountains and Clouds, and 5 The Kids Across the Hill
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