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Culture

Thalia Potamianos Lecture Series with Dr. Peter Frankopan Continues Mar. 16

February 12, 2022

ATHENS – Established in June 2020, the Thalia Potamianos Annual Lectures Series seeks to create a stimulating environment to draw both the academic community and the general public to the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Every year, a highly distinguished, internationally renowned scholar is selected to conduct research and develop programs on a topic relevant to the Gennadius Library. The research culminates in a minimum of three annual public lectures, which are delivered in Athens and the United States.

The program is made possible by a generous 10-year commitment totaling $1 million from Phokion Potamianos, an Overseer of the Gennadius Library. Mr. Potamianos named the lecture series in memory of his grandmother, a distinguished Greek doctor, academic, and philanthropist.

This significant lecture series is the result of a visionary initiative by Mr. Potamianos and examines the reception and continuing relevance and impact of Greek thought and culture.

The 2021-2022 Lecture schedule with Dr. Peter Frankopan included Greece: Beginnings on October 7 in Athens. Lecture Two, titled Greece: Legacies, takes place Wednesday, March 16, 6 PM EDT, at the Lohrfink Auditorium at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Lecture Three, titled Greece: Futures, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, 6 PM EDT at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City.

Dr. Peter Frankopan is Professor of Global History at Oxford University, where he is Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He is the award-winning author of The Silk Roads, a New York Times #1 Best Seller. Dr. Frankopan’s lectures examine the role that Greece and Greek culture, literature, and language have played over the course of more than two and a half millennia. Rather than exploring the familiar and limited Mediterranean context, he will discuss it from a global perspective, allowing for a better understanding of not only world history but Greece itself.

The lecture series honors the life of Dr. Thalia Potamianos, an Epirote who was born in Constantinople in 1914 and came to Greece at the age of 8. With an innate gift of high intelligence, the fierce determination shaped by her life experiences, and financial support from her four siblings, Thalia earned a doctorate in microbiology with high honors from the University of Athens. She became an influential doctor, scientist, and philanthropist who led a life dedicated to the public good and public service.

In the 1950s, Dr. Potamianos founded Greece’s first alcoholism and toxicology treatment center. She made this the heart of her medical research, establishing a treatment center at Aghia Paraskevi, publishing research, and forming a methodology on the topic that came to be the standard in the early days of the study of alcoholism in Greece.

Marked by her experience as a refugee, Dr. Potamianos defined her life by her philanthropic actions. During World War II, she was active on the front lines and behind the scenes, working to organize food committees and using her medical practice as a cover to shelter elements of the Greek resistance and Greeks of the Jewish faith.

In the years immediately after the war, this exemplary citizen helped create centers of care for dispossessed families, orphaned children, and veterans in refugee areas. In partnership with American and other philanthropists, she created centers for education and financial support for veterans. Together they established the Greek American Organization for the Care of Dispossessed Greeks. To recognize her service to the country, the Greek government awarded Dr. Potamianos with their Gold Cross of the Order of Beneficence.

Dr. Potamianos (née Dervos) was the wife of Phokion Potamianos, a prominent maritime attorney. Together they raised two daughters, Helen and Lydia. In 1961, Dr. Potamianos passed away from cancer at the age of 47.

More information is available online: https://bit.ly/3sAC4Xq.

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