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Study in Greece Master’s of the Week: Prof Evangelia Georgitsoyanni presents the International Master’s Program “Sustainable Tourism Development: Heritage, Environment, Society”

Study in Greece talked with Evangelia N. Georgitsoyanni, Deputy Director of the International Master Program (MSc) “Sustainable Tourism Development: Cultural Heritage, Environment, Society”, about the International Master’s Degree in Sustainable Tourism Development: Heritage, Environment, Society, and the internationalization of Greek higher education.

Evangelia N. Georgitsoyanni is a Professor in History of Art and Civilization at the Harokopio University of Athens, Department of Economics and Sustainable Development. She holds a Bachelor in History and Archaeology degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and a Master’s degree (D.E.A.) and PhD from the University of Paris I (Panthéon – Sorbonne). She has served as Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs and Personnel and as Dean of the School of Environment, Geography and Applied Economics at Harokopio University, as well as Vice-President of the General State Archives of Greece. She was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Hellenic Parliament for the Exhibition and Catalogue “Greeks in Diaspora. 15th-21st century” (2006). She hosted and organized, on behalf of Harokopio University, the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe, Athens 2017. She also co-organized the international conference “Port cities and Maritime Routes in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea (18th-21st century)”, Harokopio University & University of Macedonia, Athens 2018. She has conducted extended research regarding the Greek Diaspora, focusing on Greek funerary monuments at cemeteries in Southeastern Europe.

Please tell us in a few words what the International Master’s degree «Sustainable Tourism Development: Heritage, Environment, Society» is all about

The International Master’s degree “Sustainable Tourism Development: Heritage, Environment, Society” is implemented through the cooperation of three Universities: the Harokopio University of Athens (Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, Department of Geography, Department of Informatics and Telematics), the University of the Aegean (Department of Business Administration) and the University of Paris I – Pantheon Sorbonne (IREST – Institut de Recherche et d’ Études Supérieures du Tourisme). The Program focuses on Sustainable Tourism both as a policy and developmental issue and as a product for tourism and cultural enterprises. In that respect, Heritage, Environment and Society are approached as crucial pillars of Sustainability in Tourism Destinations. In particular, the aim of the Program is to provide high-level specialization for professions related to Tourism Discipline and the Promotion of Heritage. The specific objectives of the Program include the research and acquisition of knowledge on tourism management and sustainable tourism development in conjunction with heritage, environment and society, and the development of analytical and critical thinking skills.

Could you tell us about the collaboration with the University of Paris I – Pantheon Sorbonne (IREST – Institut de Researche et d’ Études Supérieures du Tourisme)? Why did you choose this French University?

IREST (Institute de Recherche et d’ Etudes Supérieures du Tourisme) of the University of Paris I (Pantheon – Sorbonne) was chosen, along with the Greek University of the Aegean, because both institutions are characterized by the quality of education and research on tourism development fields. More specifically, IREST belongs to one of the oldest and most emblematic European Universities, the University of Paris I (Pantheon- Sorbonne), and it is a very dynamic institute with a strong and committed internationalization concern in tourism studies.

Why do you think Greece needs international students?

Greece needs international students because they can both enrich Greek education with their own culture and become “ambassadors” of our country after returning to their homeland. Moreover, in the age of globalization, it is necessary for Greece to show that it is an active member of the international educational community by attracting foreign students and continuing its very old tradition as a spiritual centre.

What are the benefits of this Master’s degree program for an international student?

International students can benefit from attending a Master’s degree program that combines two critical fields, tourism and heritage, which they will have the opportunity to study in Greece, a country well known for its long tradition in both tourism and culture. Besides, students can benefit from the fact that they will be taught by acknowledged professors from three Universities and they will participate in an English-language postgraduate course which can give them a variety of career opportunities, such as working for tour companies, heritage attractions, museums and hotel groups, as consultants in business, as members of a local government team and planning entities.

What has been the output of the Program so far? Is it satisfactory?

According to the recent Internal Evaluation of the Master’s Program, most of the postgraduate students were satisfied with the teaching ability and methodology of the Program’s instructors. Effective evaluation helps us keep focus on our students, pursue excellence and satisfactory outcomes. In addition, the Master’s Program enabled graduates to find work related to the scientific fields of Tourism and Culture or to improve their career development with the organizations already employing them.

How do you think Greek Universities can attract more foreign students?

Greek universities should be outward-looking and attracting students by offering high-quality English-language undergraduate and postgraduate programs, preferably in cooperation with European Universities, as it is the case with our International Master’s Degree. Moreover, Greek universities should promote the rich cultural and historical background of the country, and the Greek way of life as attractive factors for foreign students. Besides, they must provide incentives, as scholarships, accommodation in campuses, etc.

Given the fact that tourism constitutes one of the basic pillars of the Greek economy is there any connection between the Program and the world of tourism industry?

Of course, the overall curriculum and the modules offered in the Postgraduate Program take into account the needs of the tourism industry. Specifically, students may carry out an internship in tourism and/or cultural institutions and enterprises in order to develop and cultivate specialized knowledge and skills that are necessary for working in these fields. Students also have the opportunity to attend lectures by experts with specialized scientific, research and professional experience in the fields of Tourism and Culture. The course aims at creating links between academic activities and the labour market.

Why should an international student choose Greece as his/her study destination / is there something special that Greece has to offer? 

Greece geographically and academically can be the ideal place for international students, especially for those who interested in pursuing studies related to Tourism and Culture. Greece has a rich intellectual tradition along with quality education offered by Greek institutions across a broad spectrum of disciplines ranging from classical humanities to modern technologies. In addition, those studying in Greece will be able to enjoy several advantages such as Greek hospitality, great historical sites, outstanding natural beauty, rich local gastronomy, vibrant nightlife, and the island way of life that makes Greece a top tourism destination. Additionally, the cost of living in Greece is affordable for students. To sum up, students will have the opportunity to attend quality educational programs and enjoy the Greek way of life.

Would you share a few things about the history, the departments, the scientific disciplines and the research carried out by Harokopio University?

Harokopio University is a public university dedicated to promoting research and learning in a small, well focused set of discipline areas. The university, situated in the center of Athens, originates from an educational institution that was first established in 1929 by the national benefactor Panaghis Harokopos and gained the status of University in 1990.

The University’s excellent campus facilities house three Schools:

a. The School of Environment, Geography and Applied Economics consisting of: The Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, which aims to promote scientific knowledge and research for the quality of sustainable living of individuals, families and human communities but also the management of the natural and cultural environment; and The Department of Geography, which aims to enhance studies in Geography, while research overseen by the Department promotes Physical Geography, Human and Applied Geography, Geoinformatics and Cartography.

b. The School of Digital Technology which consists of the Department of Informatics and Telematics, whose mission is to advance Computer Science, primarily in the field of network-oriented information systems and advanced e-services.

c. The School of Health Science and Education, consisting of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics which aims to improve health through research, teaching and leadership in human nutrition, including basic nutritional sciences and clinical, socio-cultural and community aspects of nutrition.

Moreover, the University offers six Postgraduate Programs. Harokopio University has been recognized by the academic community for its contribution to the fields of science it promotes and has been acknowledged as one of the most rapidly developing universities in Greece, leading to much academic collaboration both at European and international level.

For more information: http://www.tourismheritage.hua.gr/

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