Pharos Virtual Celebration

Athens, Greece – November 14, 2023Study in Greece, along with the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports, the U.S. Embassy in Athens, and Fulbright Greece, celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Pharos Summit 2022 with a virtual gathering.

In 2019, IIE, in partnership with the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, launched the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) Greece. This initiative aims to foster sustainable U.S.–Greek academic collaborations, including student mobility, joint research, faculty exchange, and more. In November 2022, after three years of efforts, the Pharos Summit was held in Athens, Greece, bringing together delegates from universities and governments of both countries to strengthen ties and explore collaborative opportunities.

During this virtual gathering, Kyriakos Pierrakakis, the Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports, highlighted the success of the Pharos Summit, acknowledging the commitment of his predecessor, Niki Kerameus. He emphasized the tangible and intangible benefits of the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) and announced plans for new legislation to further enhance relationships with foreign universities and deepen internationalization within Greek public universities.

The U.S. Ambassador to Greece, George J. Tsunis and Cultural Affairs Officer Shanna Surendra expressed excitement about expanding collaborations between Greek and U.S. universities over a dialogue. They underscored the pivotal role of educational partnerships in strengthening the strategic relationship and fostering meaningful connections between people in both countries.

Prof. Christos Michalakelis, President of Study in Greece (SiG), expressed deep honor and delight in celebrating the inaugural anniversary of the Pharos Summit 2022. He highlighted the collaborative initiative led by the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports, in partnership with the Institute of International Education, the U.S. Embassy in Athens, and Fulbright Greece. Prof. Michalakelis detailed the objectives of the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) – Greece and updated its one-year progress post-Pharos. As a key partner, SiG hopes the virtual celebration serves as a significant milestone in nurturing enduring partnerships between U.S. and Greek higher education institutions. He also thanked contributors, reaffirmed SiG’s commitment to advancing US-Greek higher education cooperation, and announced to plan to organize webinars in January to explore funding opportunities and enhance existing collaborations between Greek and U.S. institutions.

Keynote speakers, including Allan Goodman, CEO, IIE, Artemis Zenetou, Executive Director, Fulbright Greece, and the IIE Center for International Partnerships team, addressed the gathering.

In the partnership progress report session, representatives from four Greek institutions collaborated with their counterparts from four U.S. institutions, delivering joint presentations. The collaborations showcased during these presentations included the Technical University of Crete with the University of Southern California, the University of Ioannina with Columbia University, Harokopio University with Rutgers University, and Ionian University with the University of Texas Health Houston. These collaborative endeavors were highlighted as successful examples, demonstrating the ongoing commitment to fostering strong academic relationships between Greek and U.S. institutions.

The Pharos Anniversary Gathering provided a platform to celebrate achievements, share ideas, and present plans for the future of U.S.-Greek collaboration in higher education. As Study in Greece President Prof. Michalakelis noted, the event signifies more than a reflection on the past; it is a testament to the commitment of both nations to elevate higher education, push boundaries, and explore uncharted territories in academia.

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