Ambassadors hope for new Hellenic studies centre

In an effort to expedite plans for an inter-university centre for Hellenic studies, a delegation from Greece paid Concordia a visit on one of the more blustery days of the year so far, during the peak of a storm on Monday, February 14.

"On a day like today, I'm sure we'd all prefer to meet in Greece," quipped Arts and Science Dean Martin Singer during the courtesy visit by Efstathios Lozos, ambassador of Greece, responsible for North America, Ioannis Thomoglou, ambassador of Greece in Ottawa, Ioannis Papadopoulos, consul-general of Greece in Montreal, and David Hatton, ambassador of Canada in Greece.

Greek ambassadorsThe plan proposes that the Montreal inter-university centre involve the collaboration of three universities: the chair will reside at McGill, the curricular infrastructure will come from the Universitˇ de Montrˇal, and the students will come from Concordia. The university already has a Greek studies cluster in Arts and Science, not to mention the highest percentage of students of Greek origin of any university in Quebec. It will probably be another year before the centre and chair are established.

The government of Greece has decided to help fund four chairs in Canada, Thomoglou explained. The first was at Simon Fraser University, and Montreal was a natural choice for another location. "However, we can't help all the universities in Montreal, so this seems to be the best way to proceed," he said. York University in Toronto will also have a fully funded chair.

"If we can resuscitate Homer with you, we would be grateful," said Ambassador Lozos, referring to Who Killed Homer: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (Free Press, 1998). Authors Victor Hanson and John Heath argued that Greek studies are crucial to a well-rounded education and analyzed why they are vanishing from our educational systems today.

Rector Frederick Lowy said at the meeting, "It is common for us to be collaborating with other Montreal universities. We welcome this initiative because it is unthinkable that someone could have a good undergraduate education without some exposure to Greek studies."

Ambassador Hatton added, "The human bridge between Canada and Greece in the future will not be built on immigration, but education."

Besides Drs. Lowy and Singer, Concordia representatives included John Economides, Governor Emeritus, Marcel Danis, Vice-Rector Institutional Relations and Secretary-General, Dennis Murphy, Arts and Science Vice-Dean of External Affairs, Georgios Vatistas, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Efie Gavaki, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. The meeting was organized by Balbir Sahni, Director of the Centre for International Academic Co-operation, and Hˇl¸ne Cossette, Protocol and Special Events.

The Greek delegation also was to meet with several Montreal-area companies, such as Bombardier and ABB, and with officials at McGill. - Eugenia Xenos

Photo: At left, Ioannis Thomoglou, Greek ambassador to Canada, and at right, Efstathios Lozos, ambassador of Greece, responsible for North America.

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