ATHENS – In a handsome three-story building in Athens’ Kolonaki district, NYU has planted roots, and on September 17 its Hellenic home away from home was celebrated in a ribbon cutting ceremony with its President, Andrew D. Hamilton, presiding.
The center, which opened July 2017, hosts graduate students and faculty conducting research about Greece from ancient times to the modern era through the Provost’s Global Research Initiatives (GRI) year round.
The popular NYU Summer in Athens program that just marked its 20th year its based there June through August. Maria Lampraki, GRI Operations Administrator in Athens, said the center will also be the site for educational and cultural events all year long.
Liana Theodoratou, Director of the Alexander S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies at NYU in New York and Director of CAS Summer in Athens, hosted the gathering that began with a brief speaking program in the ground level auditorium and concluded with a delightful reception on the roof
Hamilton, who is British, has been to Greece many times, beginning with backpacking trips in the 1970s. He explained that sites like the Athens facility are important “Because the world now is lived on the internet. Every major academic volume can be accessed on the internet. But the world isn’t lived and shouldn’t be solely lived on the internet.”
He believes “It is vital, that our students get the opportunity to engage with the world, to become familiar, with the feet on the ground, with the culture of Greece, with the academic sources the historical riches, with the different dimensions of contemporary Greece as they play out in this wonderful country.”
Alexis Phylactopoulos, President of College Year in Athens, which is more a school than a program, was present because he said it is important to support and acknowledge the efforts of all institutions of higher learning to establish research centers in Greece.
“Summer in Athens combines classroom study of the language, history, literature, politics, art, and culture of Greece with cultural activities and field trips to introduce students to all aspects of Greek life. Local artists, scholars, and politicians,” according to its website, which also notes that the program “strives to provide students with a means of understanding Greek culture within the context of lived experience.”
NYU has eight other Global Research Institutes and campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. The University also has eleven other sites around the world “where students can study… to become familiar with the challenges of the 21st century,” Hamilton said.
(L-R) Prof. Katherine Fleming- NYU Provost, NYU President Andrew Hamilton with his wife Jennie Hamilton, and Professor Liana Theodoratou- Director, A.S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies and Director of NYU in Athens. Photo by Vasilis Mathioudakis
Professor Liana Theodoratou- Director, A.S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies and Director of NYU in Athens. Photo by Vasilis Mathioudakis