Istorima: Preserving Oral History While Tackling Youth Unemployment in Greece

ATHENS — It holds difficult stories, stories of love, stories that change or shape us, new stories and old stories—stories that helps us get to know each other and understand our common history.

It helps us see how our own personal histories are each a part of history, and that every person’s story is important and worthy of being preserved. 

Istorima is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an extensive Greek oral history archive by offering temporary jobs to hundreds of young people across Greece. Co-founded by historian and New York University Provost Katherine Fleming and journalist Sofia Papaioannou, Istorima will provide temporary employment and training for more than 1,500 unemployed young people in Greece over five years as they fan out across Greece to collect oral histories in their home locales. Istorima’s team of field reporters will collect histories and stories, old and new, across historical eras and running the gamut of topics. They will encourage their family members, friends, and neighbors to each share their own narratives so that Greece's stories will be not be lost. Istorima aims to record over 50,000 stories, which will be preserved and catalogued in an archive accessible to researchers and the public.

Istorima is implemented through a founding grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) as part of its Recharging the Youth Initiative, whose goal is to help create new opportunities for Greece’s younger generations. Youth underemployment in Greece remains high, and the exodus of young Greeks from the country continues unabated. Istorima’s express goal is to help young Greeks find employment and remain in Greece. It aims to connect them more deeply to their home and their history, and to bring people together through the shared telling of stories.

Learn more at www.istorima.org


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