2nd year of academic operation for the first undergraduate program taught in English, the "BA Program in the Archaeology, History, and Literature of Ancient Greece" of the School of Philosophy

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) and the first undergraduate program taught in English, the "BA Program in the Archaeology, History, and Literature of Ancient Greece" of the School of Philosophy, welcomed the first and second academic year students of the Program on Monday, September 27th, 2021. This program will give you the chance to delve into the world of ancient Greek culture in its birthplace.

The event took place in the Great Hall of the National and Kapodistrian of Athens. Students from 12 countries Albania, Canada, China, Egypt, El Salvador, Iran, Italy, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America attended the ceremony.

The ceremony was streamed live for students who had not yet arrived in Athens, as well as for all students’ parents, relatives and friends.

Welcoming address were given by the Rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Meletios-Athanasios K. Dimopoulos. the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Mrs Niki Kerameus, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Associate Professor Angelos Sirigos, the General Secretary for Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Dr. Apostolos Dimitropoulos, and the Dean of the School of Philosophy, Professor Achilleas Chaldaiakis. A welcoming note was also sent and read during the ceremony by the Secretary General for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, Mr Giannis Chrysoulakis. The President of the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY), Professor M. Koutsilieris, also attended the ceremony, as well Associate Professor Ch. Michalakelis and Dr Th. Papaioannou representing "Study in Greece".

Rector M.-A Dimopoulos welcomed the students and pointed out that "Especially for research Universities like ours, internationalization is reflected in dealing with the impacts of interlinked ‘global challenges’. During the pandemic for example, our academics and researchers have been working closely with their counterparts in foreign universities and research centers to produce new knowledge and also provide high level health services to the benefit of the society and the State. Coronavirus has disrupted the way in which universities have been traditionally operating. According to the United Nations, the pandemic has brought the largest disruption of education systems in history. For the first time in years, universities had to cope with such a multidimensional and indeterminate threat, which has evidently negatively affected the international mobility of students. Nevertheless, οur University has met the challenge of the pandemic efficiently, and all programs ran smoothly, attracting also many international students. This semester we also anticipate 330 exchange University students from 40 countries worldwide. We start this academic year with a percentage of more than 80% of our students and staff either vaccinated or having a certificate of covid-19 recovery. And this fact allows us to return into classrooms and most University activities."

He gave then the floor to Minister N. Kerameus, who welcomed the students, and congratulated the NKUA and its School of Philosophy for the establishment and operation of this program. "On behalf of the Government, we have taken what seemed as the obvious step to strengthen the extroversion of our Universities: we have made it possible for the provided for the HEI themselves, to be able to establish foreign language undergraduate programs and  attract foreign students. Our goal is that Greece can become a beacon of education for students from all over the world, and our universities to claim the place they deserve on the international academic map".

Then, Deputy Minister A. Syrigos welcomed also the students and referred to Greece as a country that “is investing on knowledge, education, research, the young, as well as collaborations. It is inviting young people and scientists from Europe and the whole world to study at the Greek Universities, which are increasingly earning international distinctions and are placed in the highest ranks worldwide”.

General Secretary A. Dimitropoulos addressed the students via video message mentioning that " You have the privilege to have been admitted to the first and oldest university of modern Greece, the first university established in South Eastern Europe in the 19th century, and a prominent university across the modern world. You have the privilege to acquire valuable knowledge by familiarizing yourselves with the rich culture of the Classics, which has marked the history of the western world. You are among the very few in your own countries of origin that are studying Classics in the place where all well-known Greek philosophers have lived and taught their own students! You walk the places they walked in! In the place where all those Greek myths that you might have grown up with were created! You are also among the first students admitted to an English-speaking undergraduate program in Greek universities. You are, therefore, agents of a historic change of this university but also of this country as a whole. Make the most of this experience, fulfilling the highest of your expectations! I assure you that the University as a whole and the School of Philosophy will always be by your side with their steady support".

Dean Chaldeakis addressed the students: " Dear students, seize the opportunity currently before you, not only to study but also to get to know other people and cultures. Exposure and close contact with others will increase your self-insight and eventually will help you make informed decisions about your future.  I am particularly pleased that this year’s circumstances permit a gradual return to normalcy. I can assure you that we have taken all the necessary measures for your Program to run smoothly. You just have to follow simple instructions to keep yourselves and others around you safe. Remember that your safety is our main priority.  In the years to come, I am sure you will be able to enjoy what our School has to offer to you, including our amazing music and cultural events!"

The Academic Director of the program, Professor Emeritus E. Karamalengou, mentioned that «The courses of this Program help you not only to delve into the essence of Greek culture, but also get a better understanding of other cultures, some of which are your own cultures. They also help you identify the new scientific and professional perspectives through your studies". She also stressed on the importance of the program for the international promotion of our culture, a culture that maintains its "freshness" and vitality in the modern world. As she concluded, "As far as we are concerned, we will try to highlight this dimension that constitutes the essence of “classic”.

Α short video displaying the history of the NKUA since its foundation in 1837, was screened and the ceremony continued by orientation speeches by Professor Classical Archaeology, Dimitrios Plantzos and the Assistant Professor of Classics Aikaterini- Nina Carvounis, respectively. 

Professor Plantzos welcomed new and returning students, and talked about courses in archaeology and ancient history that form part of the syllabus. He also referred to the on-site classes and museum and archaeological site visits expected to take place in 2021-22, after a year of lockdown that limited any physical contact to an absolute minimum.

Assistant Professor Karvouni mentioned that “The study of ancient Greek literature here in Athens offers ample opportunity to appreciate landmarks of world literature in their original form and contexts, and it promises to be a particularly fulfilling pursuit."

Specific guidelines were finally given to the students by the Secretary of the program and Doctor of Prehistoric Archaeology, Dionysia Marinou who also encouraged the students  to enjoy their time in Athens.

Except from the students who have been selected for the entire 4-year program, foreign University students have been accepted to study for one year. For the current academic year, students from the Southwest University of China (SWU) have joined for one-year studies in the framework of bilateral cooperation agreement between NKUA and SWU. Last academic year, 5 SWU students had also attended the first year of the program. Similar opportunities are under discussion with other partner Universities.

The Program has entered its second year of academic operation, following an upturn in its structure, gaining international recognition, concluding bilateral cooperation agreements with renowned Universities abroad, such as the USA as well as Australia, China, the United Kingdom, attracting distinguished professors from foreign universities and so on.

The event ended with the delivery of souvenirs to the students.