Konstantina Botsiou introduced George Tsunis, attorney by profession and noted hotelier and developer by trade, by noting he studied Classics, a point the Ambassador acknowledged with pride, and also expressing appreciation for the warm and enthusiastic applause. (Photo by Constantine S. Sirigos)
ATHENS – U.S. Ambassador to Greece George J. Tsunis was the Keynote Speaker and the recipient of the ‘Prometheus’ award at the ‘CfIR Ambassador’s Forum’ event of the University of Piraeus Dept. of International Affairs and European Studies and the Center for International Relations May 31 in Piraeus.
The topic was ‘U.S.-Greece: A Strong Partnership for the 21st Century’ and introductory remarks were offered by the University’s Rector Michael Safkianakis, Piraeus Mayor Ioannis Moralis, and Department Chair Aristotle Tziampiris,
Prof. Konstantina Botsiou was the Emcee and Moderator of the discussions that followed.
All the speakers contributed to the explication of the symbolism of the award’s name and its relevance to the economic development of Piraeus and all of Greece. In short, the fire gifted to humanity by Prometheus, in its two elements of heat and light, represents both energy and knowledge. Tsunis, while praising Greece for its overall value as “a purveyor of stability in the region, emphasized the importance of Greece becoming an energy hub, as well as the role of higher education in its economic development. Indeed, the logo of NYU, Tsunis’ beloved alma mater, contains a torch – fire indicative of enlightenment as well as power.
Tsunis looks forward to continued progress by Greece’s universities, helped by ongoing reforms and cooperation between Greek and American institutions, and spotlighted the U. of Piraeus’s Program in American Studies.
Sfakianakis also cited the Department’s energy studies program – taught in English – and the Mayor in turn praised the school as a vital part of the city.
Energy was a dominant topic, introduced by Tziampiris in his informative yet entertaining comments – he praised the Ambassador’s “indefatigable work trying to help the region kick some bad habits” in the energy realm, that is, dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.
While addressing energy matters, Tsunis also spotlighted the importance of Greece’s age old and current contributions to Democracy, noting its support of Ukraine. He also elaborated on the freedoms accompanying Democracy, especially freedom of expression, but also the corresponding citizens’ responsibilities. He said, “Democracy is not outmoded” as China’s leader says, but urged the guests not to “take it for granted.”
Tsunis welcomed the discussion with distinguished panelists after his presentation, but he was especially pleased to participate in the Q&A with the students.
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