Stavros Niarchos Foundation Grant to SFU and UCLA for 3-Year Pilot Program

September 15, 2022

LOS ANGELES – The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has awarded more than $1.2 million to the UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University. This grant will support a collaborative, three-year pilot program to enhance academic mobility for faculty, staff, and students traveling between the two institutions and to bridge the geographical gap that divides academics and cultural producers in Greece and the West Coast of North America. The grant will also help both institutions expand on highly successful programming initiated in the last two years.

The pilot program offers opportunities for semester- and term-length residencies of authors, artists, and academics at the two institutions. Moreover, this innovative, collaboration-based, and capacity-building grant will bring faculty and students to Greece, where critical research tools, including languages and digital skills, will be imparted in the context of seminars and classes.

According to Sharon Gerstel, Director of the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center, “we welcome the opportunity to establish collaborations across two excellent universities, two communities, two cities, and two countries. This program will substantially strengthen partnerships on the West Coast of North America, and will establish new relationships with cultural agents and institutions in Greece. We are very grateful to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) for encouraging us to expand our Centers’ activities and influences in innovative and meaningful ways.”

Existing programming at both Centers will expand through enhanced collaborations with institutions in Greece. Considering Los Angeles and Vancouver’s roles as hubs for the arts, the program will engage Greek writers and performers in dialogue with academics, artistic foundations, film festivals, and communities in both cities. This new initiative will capitalize on existing yet diffuse and fragmented resources and relationships to mobilize academic, artistic, and cultural production networks that will inspire academic and lay communities. The program expands on existing innovative programming, including open discussions with Greek mayors of small cities, and conversations with contemporary Greek authors.

“We are thrilled to see two close SNF partners deepening their collaboration, exploring a model for how the international exchange of ideas and movement of people that are foundational to Hellenic culture can strengthen the field of Hellenic studies,” said SNF Co-Chief Programs Officer Casey Russo. “Sharing Greek culture around the world and sparking interest in Greece’s fascinating past and vibrant present have been a key focus for SNF from the very beginning. SFU and UCLA have excelled at engaging the public and advancing scholarship in this area through innovative and energetic new programs, and we’re so excited to see what comes out of this collaboration.”

According to Dimitris Krallis, Director of the SNF Centre at Simon Fraser University, “working on Greek culture and history in North America can sometimes feel like a lonely enterprise, as resources are often scarce and university priorities keep guiding faculty and student focus in other, often more pedestrian, directions. The present collaboration allows us to meet across borders and continents and create community, both within the university and beyond. We see our Centers and the enhanced West Coast axis, we are establishing, as venues and avenues through which Greek cultural and educational output may circulate as it seeks to leave its imprint on audiences outside Greece.”

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $3.4 billion through over 5,100 grants to nonprofit organizations in more than 135 countries around the world. Learn more at SNF.org.

The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture was established by a lead gift of $5 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) in 2018 and matching funds provided by generous members of the Hellenic and Philhellenic community of Southern California. Featuring two named professorships in Hellenic Studies, a lectureship in Modern Greek Language, student funding, and support for the arts, the Center builds on UCLA’s strengths across many academic fields, placing Hellenic culture within a broad historical and contemporary context. Language teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels engages students in the study of ancient, medieval, and modern Greek. In addition, the Center supports a comprehensive set of academic and public initiatives locally through strategic collaborations with organizations in Southern California, Greece, and Cyprus and partnerships with universities and cultural institutions. Learn more at https://hellenic.ucla.edu.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies was established in 2011 at Simon Fraser University through a large grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Situated atop Burnaby Mountain, just east of downtown Vancouver, the Centre is a major site for Hellenic studies in North America and is committed to the advocacy and study of Hellenism. Along with the SNF New Media Lab, it is dedicated to bringing the latest in mobile technology and pedagogy to the teaching and learning of the Greek language and seeks to promote a better understanding of Hellenism in the community by staging events for academic and lay audiences throughout the year. At the same time, the Centre supports undergraduate and graduate studies on Greece’s history, language, and culture through its home in the Department of Global Humanities, though at its core, the Centre focuses and supports research at SFU on Hellenic topics, from Antiquity to present-day Greece, through grants and postdoctoral fellowships. Learn more at https://www.sfu.ca/hellenic-studies.html.


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