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Greece Bestows Order of Merit on Director of Georgia State’s Hellenic Center

March 15, 2023

ATLANTA, Georgia – “For his work bringing ancient ideas to modern-day scholars through the Georgia State University Center for Hellenic Studies,” writes Globalatlanta.com, Louis A. Ruprecht Jr. was awarded the Gold Cross of the Order of the Phoenix by the Hellenic Republic.  

“The president of Greece announced the honor during a series of decorations around Greece’s bicentennial of independence in 2021, but the in-person ceremony in Athens was postponed by the pandemic.

Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou visited Atlanta to finally present the cross to Dr. Ruprecht on March 6 at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The order of merit is given to Greeks who embody the country’s values or non-Greeks that make significant contributions to the promotion of Greek culture, art or language.
Amb. Papadopoulou said, “it’s challenging, especially in today’s world, to make people understand how important the classics are and how they affect our lives, and how they can be used to interpret the challenges of our lives.”

The Ambassador spoke “during an interview held, ironically, in the chamber’s Phoenix Room, a light-filled conference area near the executive offices.

The essential nature of ethics, she said, has only heightened with technological advances and the emergence of new tools like artificial intelligence,” the article noted.

“Sometimes we tend to believe that our challenges today are unique today, but they’re recurrent. It’s what it means to be human, that fragility, or the fact that human nature is finite,” the ambassador added.

According to the site, “Dr. Ruprecht, who has led the center since 2012, said Hellenic studies does include a good bit of archaeology and antiquarianism, but it’s breathing the messages of these finds to life in the current day, and reinterpreting them in new contexts, that now animates his work.”

He continued, “I’m really touched by this and touched by the fact that the ambassador would come… Most of my work is designed to show contemporary implications of the classics or how classical tropes have been adapted during the modern period.”

The article added that, “Dr. Ruprecht, who is also W.M. Suttles Chair in Religious Studies at GSU, says the Hellenic center has enjoyed many accomplishments over the years, but perhaps none as impactful as being selected to host the biennial Modern Greek Studies Association conference, which brought in 150 scholars as well as hundreds of panels and lectures widely attended by Atlanta’s Greek community.”

Dr. Ruprecht also noted that “the (Michael C.) Carlos family doubled our endowment after that, so that kind of put us on the map, and put us on the map in modern Greek studies, so that was pretty big.”

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