10-Year Anniversary of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece
"Like its mother institution in the United States, the CHS in Greece is dedicated to researching ancient Greek civilization and the humanistic ideals of the Greeks, which continue to be relevant to the arts and sciences," remarks Ioannis Petropoulos, Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. "Now in its tenth year, the Center in Greece has achieved a unique intellectual and cultural personality and voice—and role—in the Hellenic Republic and well beyond," he continues. The Center in Greece has transformed over the years from a CHS branch office to an institution parallel to its twin Center in Washington, DC; its mission has evolved from classics-oriented academic support to interdisciplinary nexus for Harvard University abroad, fostering collaboration between scholars, students, and researchers worldwide.
Gregory Nagy, Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Comparative Literature at Harvard and Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, points out that an ideal that drives the programs of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece is what he once described as an Ecology of Civilization in Classical Inquiries 2018.02.08:
"Such an ecology comes alive in the words of an oath sworn in ancient times every year by new generations of young Athenians on the occasion of their initiation into citizenship: 'I will leave to the next generation,' they swore, 'the land of my ancestors in a condition that is not diminished but instead greater and better than it had been before.' This sacred wording, known today as the Oath of the Ephebes (῎Εφηβοι), equated the safeguarding of the Environment with the preservation of Democracy.
I see here an encoding of Civilization or Πολιτισμός itself—as the ancient Greeks understood it. Such is the legacy of Greece today, in a troubled world where people both young and old are longing for a restoration of Nature and of Humanity itself—by striving to rediscover the ideal of a true Democracy."
The Center has evolved into an important node of Harvard's international network. In this context, it organizes, co-organizes and/or supports programs, study abroad seminars, workshops, as well as lectures, symposia and other activities addressed to the Harvard community as well as to the Greek and global academic community and the general public. These activities focus on humanities, but also include other academic and scientific disciplines such as social sciences, while new programs and activities with a focus on science are already being planned, based on the interdisciplinarity that characterizes the planning of all of the Center's activities.
The Center has collaborated with many educational, research and cultural institutions (such as schools, institutions of higher education, museums, etc.) in Greece and the United States, as well as in other parts of Europe and around the world.
The CHS has welcomed and hosted thousands of school students, undergraduate and graduate students, etc. in organized, co-organized and/or supported activities and programs. It is worth mentioning that even before its formal operation, the Center has supported Harvard University activities in Greece (2002-2007), in the hosting of dozens of students and Harvard faculty. From 2008 to 2017, the Center's activity has been constantly expanding, while in 2018, still in progress, it has opened up even more, bringing along Harvard to the world and the world at Harvard.
The Center has developed several important collaborations at the University for activities and programs taking place in Greece, but also in Cambridge, MA.
Collaborations that start with the office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and include departments, Centers and other Harvard entities.