The official launch of the Nikos Kazantzakis Visiting Scholar Program, the first such program bearing the name of the iconic Greek writer, took place at the University of California at Berkeley, under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Hellenism Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The program is expected to give a significant boost to the learning of modern Greek history and literature in the USA and even from a comparative point of view, as stated in an announcement by the general secretariat. It is also expected to strengthen the cooperative relationship between Greek universities and the Berkeley campus and to contribute more broadly to the forging of closer relations between the research and scientific communities of Greece and the USA.
The opening ceremony of the Nikos Kazantzakis Visiting Scholar Program at the University of California at Berkeley was welcomed by the Secretary General of Hellenism Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Chrysoulakis, and Niki Stavrou, granddaughter of Eleni Kazantzakis and managing director of Nikos Kazantzakis Estate in Athens.
Mr. Chryssoulakis congratulated the contributors of this initiative, the head of the Modern Greek and Hellenic Studies Program, Professor Christine Philliou, as well as the President of the Modern Greek Studies Foundation of San Francisco, which funded the program, Chris Gus Kanios.
At the same time, it is pointed out that the impressive effort to finance and organize the program highlights the importance of enlisting and mobilizing Greek expatriates for the promotion of Greek Culture and Literature. Learning Greek and Greek studies, stressed Mr. Chrysoulakis, is one of the most important channels of connecting the diaspora with Greece and strengthening its national identity.
The general secretariat systematically supports the chairs of Greek studies and Greek studies around the world, especially in the face of major contemporary challenges, such as the academic shrinking of the humanities, emphasized Mr. Chrysoulakis.
Classical and Greek studies, he emphasized, can actually inspire and fertilize, through the timeless universal ideas and values they carry, the broader academic training of young people today. Especially in the modern world which is plagued by a protracted and growing crisis of values with the retreat of classical Greek ideas, such as Dialogue, Critical thinking, and Democracy, as he noted.