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Academic bridges between Greece and the U.S.: Internationalization through collaboration

Symbolically and realistically, the 24th of January 2022 – International Day of Education was the most important day of the biography of Study in Greece.  Working in close collaboration with the General Secretariat for Higher Education of the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SiG made it to organize “Study in Greece Virtual Fair: Expanding bridges between Greek and U.S. Universities” – a unique on-line event which reflects the progress of internationalization of Greek Higher Education and highlights SiG’s contribution to this orchestrated Greek endeavor.

During the 3-hour webinar, distinguished speakers from Greece and the U.S. underlined the significance of the academic collaborations and partnerships for the two countries’ relations, focusing as well on the existing examples of such initiatives. The Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Mrs. Niki Kerameos expressed her personal enthusiasm as well as the Greek side’s commitment to supporting the Hellenic-American collaboration in Education. The Deputy Minister for Development and Investments Mr. Christos Dimas placed emphasis on the two countries’ synergies in the fields of scientific research and innovation. The Secretary General for Higher Education Mr. Apostolos Dimitropoulos declared that the modernization, internationalization and extroversion of Greek Higher Education are placed among the government’s strategic priorities. From the part of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Chrysoulakis, Secretary General for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy expressed his willingness to support and facilitate the international awareness of the collaboration projects and the networking between Greek academics and organizations from around the globe. The Greek Ambassador in the U.S., Mrs. Alexandra Papadopoulou focused on the ways and results of the collaboration between the Greek diplomatic authorities in the U.S. and Study in Greece, dwelling on the huge potential of the project. The American side was equally positive and enthusiastic about this common vision. The Ambassador of the U.S. in Greece, Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt enunciated American Embassy’s goodwill to embrace and promote these collaborative efforts in the vital fields of education and research. Furthermore, Dr. Allan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of International Education highlighted the contribution of these collaborative initiatives related to education to the universal goals of development and peace, stating that modern Greece continues to inspire the world.

The webinar consisted of three sessions, each one reflecting a different perspective of Greek HE’s internationalization. During the 1st session Mrs. Clare Overman, Head of Higher Education Initiatives in IIE, presented the panorama of partnerships between Greek and American institutions, whereas the 1st session’s 2nd parts were dedicated to Study in Greece and the action’s various ways to boost the extroversion of Greek Universities. Prof. Michalakelis, SiG’s Project Manager, briefly presented the organization’s fields of action, mission and vision. Mr. Georgios Chatzithanasis, SiG’s Public Relations Manager offered participants a guided tour to the immersive environment of Study in Greece Virtual Fair, and Mr. George Fragiadakis, Development and Engineer at SiG, showcased SiG’s innovative platform for international academic networking – MatSiG. 1st session’s 3rd and 4th part were devoted to scholarships, with Mr. Philippos Koumpounis from Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY), and Mrs. Artemis Zenetou, Executive Director at Fulbright Foundation Greece, presenting the two historic foundations’ actions and programs aimed at supporting academic mobility and relations between Greece and the U.S.

The webinar’s 2nd session was primarily focused on existing and telling examples of academic partnerships and collaborations between Greek and American HE institutions. Mrs. Maria Gavouneli, Prof. of Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Director of RMS Hub along with her partner from Harvard University, Dr. Vasileia Digidiki, Director of the Harvard RMS Summer School, presented and analyzed the framework of collaboration between the two prominent Universities as manifested in the new Intensive Summer Course on Migration and Refugee Studies. The Rector of the National Technical University of Athens, Prof. Andreas Boudouvis, Dr. Jenny Mak, Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Students Affairs at Columbia University, and Mrs. Gabrielle Gannon, Executive Director of Graduate Admissions at Columbia University, shared insights on the prospects of the Collaboration Agreement between the two prestigious institutions. In the session’s 3rd part, Prof. Zoe Gavriilidou, Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs at Democritus University of Thrace, presented a promising partnership between the Greek institution and Princeton University. In addition to this, Democritus University’s dynamic spirit was also demonstrated in the Greek University’s synergy with Rutgers University of New Jersey, exposed by Prof. Theodoros Constantinides, Assist. Prof. Christos Kontogiorgis from the Department of Medicine of DUTh, and Associate Prof. Matthew D. Matsaganis from the School of Communication and Information of Rutgers University.

The webinar’s 3rd and last session hosted Greek academics living and working in the U.S., who reinforce the academic and scientific ties between the two countries through the actions and initiatives of their networks. The President of the Hellenic Institute of Advanced Studies, Prof. Petros Koumoutsakos, and Prof. Alexandra Touroutoglou, President of the Hellenic Bioscentific Association of the U.S. presented the actions, missions and goals of their organizations, which are deeply related to Greece and its efforts to occupy a prominent place in the global academic landscape.

Study in Greece members would like to thank and express their gratitude to all participants for this successful and remarkable event which shows us the bright horizon that lies ahead.    Of course, there is a lot of work to be done. This is only the beginning of a passionate journey.

Watch the entire event here!

Visit Study in Greece Virtual Fair here!

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