ATHENS, GREECE – “Redesigning Educational Systems: From Theory to Praxis”, was the topic addressed in a two-day forum at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens on April 26-27. Organized by the Fulbright Foundation in collaboration with the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens) and the SNFCC, panels of highly knowledgeable educators, business executives and guest speakers were brought together for two evenings of dynamic discussions.
Over 500 participants enjoyed a rich exchange of ideas by speakers who shared the concern of developing educational systems that will enable students to become productive, responsible, civic-minded global citizens, ready to contribute proactively to society. Celebrating Fulbright’s 70 years of educational and cultural exchanges between Greece and the United States, Artemis Zenetou- Executive Director of the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, and Dr. Stefanos Gialamas- ACS Athens President initiated discussions on education and globalization and on developing ethical-minded citizens. U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, gave the welcoming remarks.
The Day 1 panel discussion, led by Dr. Gialamas, encouraged effective thinking and global awareness in a globally-connected world. The Day 2 panel, led by ACS Athens Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Pelonis, addressed the power that educational institutions have to be agents of change by promoting civic engagement, meaningful learning and the need to shift existing mindsets on teaching methodologies.
The forum culminated with distinguished keynote speaker, Dr. Allan Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education, who referred to Homer’s Odyssey to highlight the importance of educational/cultural exchange as a journey of transformation.
The closing keynote was delivered by Dr. Edward Burger, President of Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, who noted the importance of teaching in ways that promote curiosity and deep thinking. “Content comes and quickly goes, but practices of the mind to think, create, and connect not only last a lifetime, but truly uplift one’s life.”
Panel speakers included:
Elsa Chorianopoulou, Administrator, Montessori School of Athens Maria Goudeli, Greece
Roxanne Giampapa, President of Pinewood Schools, Thessaloniki, Greece
Victor Grey, Social Studies Teacher, Druid High School, Atlanta Georgia & Fulbright Scholar
Maria Kapsokefalou, Vice-Rector, Agricultural University of Athens
Eleni Katsarou, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois & Fulbright Scholar
Haris Makryniotis, Managing Director, Endeavor Greece
Myrto Papathanou, Partner, Metavallon VC
Demetri Sampson, Professor Curtin University, Australia and University of Piraeus, Greece.