ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in a video conference with Greek kids all over the world, as well as children of different nationalities learning Greek.
Mitsotakis spoke with students and teachers from 16 schools located in every corner of the world: From Buenos Aires or Argentina to Los Angeles, USA and Vancouver, Canada, and from Europe and Balkans to Kinshasa in Congo and Australia. The conference sealed the success of the digital learning platform for the Greek language "staellinika.com", which is a valuable tool for learning the Greek language, Greek mythology and Greek culture.
Η εκμάθηση της ελληνικής γλώσσας είναι αναπόσπαστο στοιχείο της Ελληνικής ταυτότητας. Είναι σημαντικό να έχουμε ένα ψηφιακό εργαλείο εκμάθησης της ελληνικής γλώσσας που αξιοποιεί τον πλούτο της ελληνικής ιστορίας και μυθολογίας για παιδιά σε όλο τον κόσμο. https://t.co/w2iZKu6WvXpic.twitter.com/Uv1OjRKYsR
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) June 23, 2020
The platform is the result of the collaboration of the General Secretariat for the Greeks Abroad with the Hellenic Studies Centre of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation at Simon Fraser University in Canada and was created with an exclusive donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
The video conference was attended, among others, by the Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, and the director of the Hellenic Studies Centre of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation at Simon Fraser University, Dimitris Krallis.
"Some people that attend this video conference may remember my visit to Simon Fraser University, it must have been eight years ago, if I remember correctly, that I had visited the headquarters and (there was then there) a great man – unfortunately he is not here with us today – who also put his own stamp on the running of this project. It is very important for me, Your Excellency, to be able to have a tool for learning the Greek language, which uses the internet, that is, has a digital infrastructure, is easy to use, is based on modern technology, but also exploits the richness of Greek and Greek history and mythology to make the learning of Greek language exciting and enjoyable, for those and for all the children who mainly want to keep alive the connection with the Greek language."
"And you know perfectly well, especially in the United States, what an important and integral element of Greek identity is learning of the Greek language. And today we have many more possibilities through technology to be able to make this first contact with the Greek language easier, more accessible and for children all over the world, whether they are in America or in Kinshasa in Africa or in Australia, whether they are in Asia or whether they are children who have Greek roots or children who do not have Greek roots but are interested in learning the Greek language, to be able to take their first steps and become acquainted with the beauty and richness of our language," Mitsotakis added.
Announced in April by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the initiative is home to a suite of engaging courses developed through Simon Fraser University (SFU).
The courses seek to engage preschoolers, elementary students, and young adults in the Greek diaspora with story-driven and game-based language courses. Building on years of research and development, they were created through the two-year Rebooting the Greek Language project by the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and the SNF New Media Lab at SFU. The StaEllenika initiative is a collaborative effort with the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The initiative reflects the innovative efforts of an international SFU team, collaboration with the Greek state in the spirit of public-private partnership, and support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), but also, critically, the legacy of Dr. André Gerolymatos. As past Director of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, his tireless efforts were instrumental in making the Centre, and by extension Simon Fraser University, one of the foremost contributors to the field.