History and Mission of Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece

The Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece (CHS Greece) was inaugurated in 2008 by way of a joint decision between the Provost and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Housed in the historic Iatrou building, formerly home to the municipal town hall of Nafplio, CHS Greece began as an office of the Center of Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., and has evolved into a Harvard base of operations and twin institution to its counterpart in Washington, D.C. A joint American and Greek Board of Directors supervises the Center.

When Professor Gregory Nagy was appointed Director of CHS DC in 2000 he tried to bring together Paul Mellon’s vision to "give a fresh impetus but also a new direction to the study of Greek and hence to its effect on our own age," and the Center’s mission to “rediscover the humanism of the Hellenic Greeks.” Professor Nagy decided to proceed with a series of vital changes that would prominently affect the Center’s operation. One of the most significant developments to that direction involved the Center’s international presence and profile. Internationalization was a key initiative for Harvard during the same period, as well as a paramount issue for the office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs.

CHS Greece utilizes the knowledge and expertise of Harvard’s faculty and research Centers and is a key part of Harvard’s continuing effort to expand its international presence. The Center serves as an important nexus for the network of international Centers operated by Harvard around the world, with the significant differentiation that from the very first moment it was organized, operated and developed by being accessible and free of charge to the general public and having two main and equally significant operational priorities: to offer to the Harvard community as well as to the Greek and wider global community. Other Harvard international offices can be found in Santiago, Chile; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Mumbai, India and Shanghai, China. More information on Harvard's international initiatives can be found on the Harvard Worldwide website.

In 2018 the CHS in Greece completed ten years of operation. Over these years, the Center for Hellenic Studies has left its imprint on the intellectual, educational and cultural life of Greece and beyond. The Center in Nafplio has been transformed from a CHS branch office of classics-oriented academic support to an interdisciplinary hub for Harvard University abroad, achieving a unique intellectual and cultural personality –and role– and fostering collaboration between scholars, students, and researchers worldwide.