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Study in Greece Masters of the Week: Professor Gerassimos D. Pagratis presents the MA in Greek-Italian Studies: History, Literature, Classical Tradition at NKUA

The web portal Study in Greece is campaigning for the promotion and international visibility of Greek Universities and the comparative educational advantages of our country. In particular, the campaign focuses on the foreign language study programmes that Greek Universities offer to Greek and international students. The initiative is supported by the General Secretariat of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In this context, a number of educational programmes and actions are presented in detail on a regular basis, such as undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, summer schools etc, to inform international students about the many foreign language options offered by Greek Universities.

Study in Greece interviewed Professor Gerassimos D. Pagratis, director of the MΑ in Greek- Italian Studies: History, Literature, Classical Tradition offered at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), about the programme, its features and what it has to offer to international students.

greek italian2Gerassimos D. Pagratis is Full Professor of Italian History and Civilisation at the Department of Italian Language and Literature of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). He has served as Adjunct Lecturer of Maritime History in the Department of Shipping, Trade & Transport of the University of Aegean (2001-2004) and since 2006 he has been a member of the teaching staff of the Hellenic Open University in the thematic unit “Social and Economic History of Europe” of which he has also been the Coordinator since 2017. He has been teaching at the Department of Italian Language and Literature since 2004 at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Since September 2020 he is Head of the Department of Italian Language and Literature at NKUA.

Mr Pagratis, please describe us briefly the vision, the mission and the teaching objectives of the MΑ in Greek- Italian Studies: History, Literature, Classical Tradition, offered by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

The purpose of the Master’s Programme “Greek-Italian Studies: History, Literature, Classical Tradition” is to provide high-level postgraduate education in the scientific field of Greek-Italian studies, focusing mainly on the two countries’ shared history, classical roots, and mutual literary influences. The main objective of our postgraduate programme is to enable our students to reach their full academic potential and develop the necessary scientific skills so that they will be fully prepared for research and teaching at a high level in the universities of our country and of the European Union in the fields of: a) literary interactions, and b) two-way historical and intercultural relations, between Greece and Italy.

Given that the programme is taught in Greek and Italian, would you like to tell us why this master’s aims to international students?

Our postgraduate programme is one of a few programmes nationwide that is dedicated to the diachronic examination of the political, literary, and cultural relations between the two main pillars of classical culture: Greece and Italy. In other words, the programme explores important chapters of this long-standing relationship, which, apart from the antiquity, extend to the medieval period, and especially the byzantine era, the Venetian rule in the eastern Mediterranean from the 13th century to 1797, the relations between Greece and Italy as independent states from the 19th century onwards, etc. Students become familiar with historical primary and secondary sources, from Italy, Greece, or elsewhere, and are encouraged to pursue research in related topics.

greek italian 3What is the basis of this postgraduate programme, so that students can achieve an academic career later? Which are the benefits in general?

Through intensive coursework and seminars, students explore a variety of research topics in history and culture. They become familiar with current research tools and methods, as well as with the principles of academic writing. In combination with their final thesis our students develop all the necessary research skills for a future academic and research career.

Which has been the output of this Master’s degree so far? Is it satisfactory?

Every year the programme operates with the maximum number of students. Besides the required coursework, students also attend seminars and lectures by Greek and international scholars and are thus exposed to cutting-edge research in the relevant fields. After graduating, many students continue at the doctoral level and have been active with further research and publications of their work.

What more can Athens offer as an educational destination compared to other European cities?

Apart from its obvious historical significance, Athens is a modern city with a strong Mediterranean character and a very active cultural life. The city is home to important libraries, archives, museums, and art venues. Therefore, studying and living in Athens offers multiple benefits to non-Greek students.

greek italian 4Please tell us a few things about NKUA, the School of Philosophy and the Faculty of Italian Language and Literature – the spirit and the efforts for pioneering and innovative projects.

The Department of Italian Language and Literature has as its mission to promote the study of the great classics as well as to provide a window into an increasingly complex and diverse contemporary Italian culture. Furthermore, it promotes the study of the Italian language through an excellent and rigorous language training programme aiming to prepare its graduates for teaching Italian in Greek Secondary Education. The Department is currently served by eleven Faculty members, two teaching Fellows, and one technical personnel.

It is one of the 13 Departments that together form the School of Philosophy, which is the oldest and by far the largest School of Philosophy, i.e. of Arts and Humanities, in Greece. It was founded in 1837 as one of the first four Schools of the NKUA, along with Theology, Law, and Medicine.

The School of Philosophy cultivates the study of classical, medieval and modern Greek literature; English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Russian language and literary studies; history and archeology; philosophy; psychology; pedagogy; theatrical studies; and musical studies.

N.M. (Images from the Department of Italian Language and Literature’s official site)

The interview was published in Greek News Agenda (GNA) – the online English language platform, issued by the Secretariat General for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad (Ministry of Foreign Affairs): https://www.greeknewsagenda.gr/topics/education-research/7687-greek-italian-ma

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