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United States

Queens College Center for Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies Appeal to Donors

NEW YORK – Queens College’s Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies is searching for a new funding model, following cuts in state funding which covered a large part of its budget and that of other schools in the CUNY (City University of New York) system.

This is a new status which applies to all Departments of the University and, under certain conditions, could create sustainability issues if the necessary endowment funds are not secured in the near future.

Already, in the first phase, the management of the Center has sent a relevant letter to the members of the Board, notifying them of this change and in order to inform their networks, so that the new process of strengthening the Center can start smoothly, in view of a re-evaluation, which is just around the corner.

According to Associate Professor and Director of the Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies Department Dr. Gerasimus Katsan, although there is no immediate issue with day to day operations, it is nevertheless necessary to mobilize the Greek-American community, in order to continue the academic work carried out at Queens College.

“Perhaps until now the Community has taken it for granted that we will continue to exist as long as we are a state university and receive some financial support from the State of New York. Of course, that has now changed. The University program itself puts us in a position to become financially independent, and we are now asking for community support, which was not readily available in the past. Now, the funding sources we had will not be there and we are looking for new ones,” said Dr. Katsan.

Queens College’s Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies has been operating continuously since 1968 and has put its own stamp on the dissemination of the Greek language and literature, with Greek-Americans as well as deeply philhellenic academics and students. Today, despite the upheaval during the pandemic period, it has approximately 150 students enrolled in its programs, with the management aspiring, through re-evaluation, to move into the new era.

“We have planned various academic events, while we also have communication with Greece, which previously did not exist. What is urgent now is to organize one or two fundraising events to make the situation known in the ‘omogenia’. The potential is certainly there in the Greek-American community, but we will have to generate interest and join the cause somehow. Some of the older sponsors are no longer with us or have moved on. We are trying to find new people, but also reaching out to others. We will fight to keep the Center open. It is important and, let’s not forget, that what closes, does not open again,” said Assistant Director Dr. Maria Athanasopoulou.

Dr. Katsan pointed out that those interested do not have to wait until the announcement of the fundraising events, but will have the opportunity to send the aid directly to the Center, with checks made out to The Queens College Foundation and sent to the following address : The Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies – Queens College – CUNY – Jefferson Hall 302, 65-90 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11367.

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