One of the brightest pages in SiG’s biography was written in the U.S. in the beginning of April 2022. Along with the Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Education, Mr. Apostolis Dimitropoulos, Study in Greece members – Prof. Christos Michalakelis, and Dr. Theodoros Papaioannou visited Boston and Washington, to raise awareness about the internationalization of Greek higher education, by presenting their vision, strategic plan and actions, as well as the wide range of international programs offered by Greek universities. Their 8day journey included visits to American institutions and universities, informative events, as well as meetings with academics, study abroad officers, representatives of Greek organizations and teachers.
The Boston program was created in collaboration with the Greek academics, Prof. Kelly Polychroniou, Senior Lecturer in Modern Greek, and Head of the Modern Greek Language Program at Boston University, and Dr. Nikolas Prevelakis, Assistant Director of Curricular Development at the Center for Hellenic Studies and an Associate Senior Lecturer on Social Studies at Harvard University, as well as Dr. Christos Giannopoulos, Managing Director of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece, and supported by Mr. Stratos Efthymiou, Consul General of the Hellenic Republic in Boston.
On Sunday 3.4, the Greek delegation met with Brian Williams, Chief of Staff of Roger Williams University, and then visited Maliotis Cultural Center and the Hellenic College Holy Cross where they had a meeting with President Mr. George M. Cantonis, Mrs. Chrysoula Kourkounti, Executive Director, and the academics Tim Patitsas, Acting Dean, and Dr. Stamatia Dova. In the afternoon, the visitors from Greece enjoyed a guided tour of the Harvard Museum by the Harvard Lecturer, Dr. Eurydice Georganteli.
Monday 4.4 was dedicated to Boston University, starting with a Study in Greece presentation at the Modern Greek Language, Culture and Literature Course of Prof. Kelly Polychroniou, and a meeting with the Chair of the Department of Classical Studies, Prof. James Uden, and Study Abroad Office Program Manager Alison Sprague. The Greek delegation had the opportunity to visit the BU Castle and discuss with distinguished Greek academics of BU: Prof. Chris Dellarocas, Associate Provost for Digital Learning and Innovation, Prof. Paul Katsafanas, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Graduate Studies, and Vasilis Zikopoulos, Director of the Human Systems Neuroscience Laboratory. After this fruitful discussion, the representatives of Greek HE visited the BU School of Hospitality/Tourism where they met with the Dean Arun Upneja, and the Lecturer Eleni Granas. Another important dialogue took place in BU’s School of Engineering with Prof. Christos Cassandras, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Head of Division of Systems Engineering. One of the highlights of the journey was the meeting with the world renowned Greek scientists of the Hellenic Institute of Advanced Studies, professors: Efthimios Kaxiras, John Hasbrouck Van Vleck Professor of Pure and Applied Physics, Harvard University, Petros Koumoutsakos, Herbert S. Winokur, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, and Michael Triantafyllou, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor of Ocean Science & Engineering, MIT. On Monday 4 evening’s event at the Greek Consulate, Mr. Dimitropoulos and SiG’s members were provided with the chance to inform the academic and scientific community of Boston about the Greek HE internationalization project.
Tuesday 5.4 included visits and meetings at Harvard University. In the Harvard School of Public Health, the Greek delegation met with Dr. Vasileia Digidiki, and Dr. Natalia Linos, responsible of the Summer Program on Migration and Refugee Studies. In the afternoon, Efthimios Kaxiras, and Petros Koumoutsakos offered a guided tour at the campus of Harvard University. The Harvard program also included meetings with Elaine Papoulias, Εxecutive Director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) at Harvard University, and Ioli Kalavrezou, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Art History at the department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.
Next station – Washington, where the Greek Ambassador Mrs. Alexandra Papadopoulou along with the Embassy’s members Mr. Theodoros Bizakis, Mr. Spyridon Aktypis, Mr. Nikolaos Papadopoulos, and Mrs. Christina Fiorentsi designed the program and scheduled the Greek delegation’s visits and meetings.
Wednesday 6.4, consisted of an event-meeting with organizations of the Greek diaspora – AHEPA, AHI, Daughters of Penelope, HALC, Prometheus Society, a meeting with the Executive Director of the National Hellenic Society – Art Dimopoulos, and an afternoon meeting and talks at the State Department where the Greek representatives explored possible educational collaborations with the American government with Ethan Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Affairs, Marianne Craven, Academic Programs Managing Director και Amelia Vanderlaan, Study Abroad Program Officer.
On Thursday 7.4 the delegation from Greece visited the Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University, where they met and exchanged with Mark J. Schiefsky, Director, C. Lois P. Grove Professor of the Classics at Harvard University, Mrs. Zoi Lafi, Executive Director of the Center, and Mrs. Giota Batsaki, Executive Director at Dumbarton Oaks. Prof. Christos Michalakelis gave an overview of the study options offered in Greece to 30 students from the European Club of Georgetown University, an event that took place in the Greek Embassy. In the evening, Mr. Apostolis Dimitropoulos presented the Greek Ministry’s vision and goals regarding HE’s internationalization within the framework of a special event hosted in the Greek Ambassador’s Residence.
Friday 8.4 – the program’s final day, included a visit to the Institute of International Eucation where the Greek delegation met and shared insights on international higher education with the CEO of IIE, Dr. Allan Goodman, as well as a fantastic guided tour to the museum and gardens of Dumbarton Oaks offered by Nikos Kontogiannis, Director of Byzantine Studies. On Friday afternoon, the visitors from Athens had the opportunity to meet and discuss with Greek teachers of the region.
Our journey to the U.S., including a plethora of important visits, meetings and discussions was an enriching and substantial experience with a great impact on the development and success of the project of internationalization of Greek higher education. It also contributed to the enhancement of the relations between the two countries in the field of education. The seeds were planted – much more to come in the near future.