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November 23, 2000 Hellenic Studies to be expanded at Concordia



A lecture series, a summer course in Greece, a full academic program, an inter-university centre — members of Montreal’s Greek community have ambitious dreams for Hellenic studies.

The lecture series is a reality, thanks in part to Communication Studies Professor Nikos Metallinos, who has worked for many years to promote Greek language and culture at the university. Last September he was named co-ordinator of the Hellenic Studies Unit in the Faculty of Arts and Science by Dean Martin Singer.

The lectures have been financed through a $10,000 donation from Paul Kefalas, president and CEO of ABB, an engineering and manufacturing firm.

The series begins with a talk on January 30, when Professor Thanasis Maskaleris, Director of the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University, discusses the development of Neohellenic literature and arts. The lecture is timed to coincide with the celebration of Greek Literature and Arts Day.

Two more lectures are planned:

Friday, April 6: The Role of Byzantine Studies in the Development of Hellenic Studies Programs in North America, given by Speros Vryonis, Director of the Center for the Study of Hellenism, Rancho Cordova, California

Friday, May 25: Greek Archaeology: Modern Discoveries and Studies, John M. Fossey, Professor Classical Studies and Art History, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The idea for a three-credit summer school in Greece has been broached by Nicholas Katalifos, a Concordia alumnus and elementary school vice-principal with a lively interest in promoting Greek culture. He and a group of corporate friends have established the Hellenic Academic Foundation, and through it, they are supporting projects at CEGEPs and universities in Montreal.

They are organizing a summer course in Greece that will include the study of 20th-century Greek literature, tours of the major archeological sites, air fare and accommodation, for under $2,500.

Katalifos said that the Foundation is especially eager to work with Concordia because it has many Greek-Canadian students — he estimates 1,500 — and has a proven record of community initiatives.

Concordia currently offers an Interdisciplinary Cluster in Hellenic Studies. The Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics (CMLL) offers, as well as a full degree program in Classics, courses in Greek history, poetry, myths and drama, and the ancient Greek language, introductory modern Greek and this year, for the first time, Greek for native speakers. Efforts are now being made to bolster course offerings in modern Greek.

McGill University and the Université de Montréal also offer courses in Greek. Academic administrators there and at Concordia are working together to rationalize and develop an inter-university centre and program that will interest not only students of Greek origin, but others, as well.