Circle of Hellenic Academics in Boston

BOSTON, MA – An association of eminent university professors under the name “The Circle of Hellenic Academics in Boston” was established for the first time in Boston. The effort was spearheaded by Professors Christos Georgakis,  Alexander Mitsialis, Philip Serafim, and Gregory Stephanopoulos.

The groundwork for this effort started in April by the four organizers, and by December the pool of interested persons had expanded to 38 eminent members of the Greek academic community, who now represent the Founding Members of The Circle.

This Assembly is the culmination of those efforts to bring together, in a positive and forward-looking spirit, the substantial potential represented by academics with direct or indirect ties to Hellenism. In the first general assembly, on January 25 at Maliotis Cultural Center, the participants included the following:

Nikolaos Madias, MD. Chair of the Department of Medicine, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center; TUSM Academic Dean at SEMC; Maurice S. Segal, MD, Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine.

Haralambos Gavras, MD. Chief, Section of Hypertension & Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and President of the Council of the University of Patras, Greece.

Vassilis Zannis, PhD. Chief, Section of Molecular Genetics & Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and Professor of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece.

Christos Georgakis, PhD. Director, Systems Research Institute and Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Gordon Senior Faculty Fellow of Systems Engineering, Tufts University.

Nicholas Athanassiou, PhD. Academic Director of Bachelor of Science in International Business, Group Coordinator of International Business & Strategy and Associate Professor, School of Business,  Northeastern University.

Philip Serafim, PhD. Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Northeastern University and President, Board of Directors, Maliotis Cultural Center.

Stella Kourembanas, MD. Chief, Division of Newborn Medicine BCH, Academic Head of Neonatology, & the Clement A. Smith Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

George Velmahos, MD, PhD. Chief, Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery & Surgical Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital & the John F. Burke Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Irene Gavras, MD. Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine.

S. Alex Mitsialis, PhD. Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School.

Evangeline H. Stefanakis, EdD. Associate Professor & Faculty Fellow with Provost, Boston University School of Education.

Elisabeth H. Prodromou, PhD. Associate Visiting Professor, Program in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Maria Chatzidaki-Livanis, PhD.  Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Christos Zahopoulos, PhD. Executive Director, Center for STEM Education, Associate Professor, College of Engineering & Dept. of Education, Northeastern University.

Alexandros K. Kyrou, PhD.  Professor of History at Salem State University.

Grigorios Livanis, PhD. Assistant Professor of International Business and Strategy, School of Business, Northeastern University.

Michael Caramanis, PhD.  Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Division of Systems Engineering,  College of Engineering, Boston University

Ioannis Livanis, PhD. Lecturer in Political Science, International Affairs Program, Northeastern University

Nikos Passas, PhD.  Co-Director, Institute for Security and Public Policy and Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northeastern University

Othon Iliopoulos, MD. Clinical Director, Von-Hippel Lindau Disease, Familial Renal Cell Cancer Program and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Triantaphyllos R. Akylas, PhD. Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nicholas Askounes-Ashford, PhD. Professor of Technology and Policy, School of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Consul General of Greece, Mrs. Iphigenia Kanara, participated in the event as an observer, and her encouraging and uplifting remarks were enthusiastically received by the participants. Also present was Mr. Dimitris Ioannidis, Esq., of Roach, Ioannidis & Megaloudis, LLC, who has been nobly offering his services pro bono as Legal Counsel to The Circle.

Christos Georgakis presented the history of the initiative, the Mission and the Bylaws of The Circle as they were originally shaped by the organizers.  A general discussion further honed the organizational details and the Mission of the Circle and the Bylaws were subsequently voted on by the Assembly.

The Mission of The Circle of Hellenic Academics in Boston includes the following:

1. Gathering of its members around social and, most importantly, intellectual events so that they become better acquainted in ways that are informative, intellectually rewarding, and socially enjoyable.

2. Facilitation and advancement of discussion and understanding of current interest issues by organizing lectures and/or panel discussions.

3. Networking with Hellenic graduate and undergraduate students in North America, Greece or the Diaspora, and provide advice, help, and mentoring.

4. Establishing and managing scholarships to recognize excellence in graduate and undergraduate students with ties to Hellenism who aspire to challenging careers, and organize fundraising tasks for this purpose.

5. Interact, as appropriately, with institutions and organizations with Hellenic interests.

Elections were subsequently held and the following  Board of Directors was elected by the Assembly: Christos Georgakis, President; Philip Serafim, Vice-President; Maria Chatzidaki-Livanis, Secretary;  Triantaphyllos Akylas, Treasurer; Alex Mitsialis, Media & Communications; and Members:  Othon Iliopoulos, Nikos Passas, Evangeline Stefanakis, and Christos Zahopoulos.

Georgakis told TNH that “the idea was born early last year and mostly because I happened to need the help of a colleague in Harvard, because I was responsible to evaluate research proposals of Greek chemical engineers. I needed an evaluation and they suggested a person who responded and returned the evaluation within a weekend. Afterwards I said why don’t we know each other? Later, in a social function given by Alex Mitsialis, where Philip Serafim and Greg Stephanopoulos were present, I mentioned that we should do something, and everyone said kick-start this and move forward. We presented the idea to a group of 11, and then we presented it to a larger group or about 50, and most said it was a good idea, and that’s how we got started.”

He also said that “everyone is enthusiastic” and explained that “participation is not restricted to academics who live in Boston or in New England, but clearly the base of organization will be in Boston. Besides, I do not think there is another city that harbors such a large number of prominent and distinguished educators and scientists.”

Georgakis said that “the next step is to incorporate the organization in the state of Massachusetts and, in addition, to apply to the IRS for Non-Profit Organization status.” Upon the completion of required legal steps, invitations to join the effort will be extended to qualifying and potentially interested persons within the Greek-American community.

The annual dues for Members will be $250 per year. Georgakis stated that “Members may be Academics  who were born in Greece or the United States, but also non-Greeks who have professional association with Hellenic issues” and added “but membership is limited to those with Higher Education Affiliation, and is not extended to all scientists, lawyers, doctors etc., because we want to keep the organization Academic.”