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The 3rd Euro-Med Journalism Institute (EMJI)

The 3rd annual Euro-Mediterranean Journalism Institute (EMJI) took place October 18-26, 2008 in Athens, Greece. EMJI was organized by the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation(GAAEC) and The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), under the auspices of the Secretariat General of Information, Ministry of State, of the Greek Government.

EMJI brought together approximately 50 working journalists and journalism students from more than two dozen countries in the Balkans and Mediterranean regions, and around the world. EMJI was developed in response to a growing recognition that journalists around the world must be empowered with the knowledge and skills needed to objectively report on a variety of international political, economic and cultural issues. Instructors and guest lecturers at the Institute were drawn from the United States and the Euro-Med area. They include economic and public policy experts, journalists, government officials and corporate leaders.

On October 21, EMJI participants heard from Mr. Ierotheos Papadopoulos, Director of the Representation of the European Commission in Greece on "Contemporary Challenges of the European Union" and from Dr. Bernardino Gomes, President of the Portuguese Atlantic Commission and Advisory to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke on "Citizens' Society and the Citizens' Public Diplomacy-the Role of Atlantic NGOs." Dr. Aliki Mitsakos, I.P. President of Soroptimist Union of Greece and Chair WIIS Greece spoke on "Gender and Media."

Throughout the week, Bree Bang-Jensen of Oxford International Review (OIR) spoke on the use of polling data in the press and, along with Brett Keller, coordinated an interactive blogging exercise that is ongoing through the OIR blog.


Mr. Bernardino Gomes, Mr. Theodossis Georgiou and Ms. Michelle Jeffress Dr. Aliki Mitsakos


On October 22, EMJI participants visited the Hellenic Parliament, where Mr. Dimitrios Sioufas, President of the Parliament, spoke to the group. Participants also visited the Hellenic Broadcast Corporation, ERT, to understand the Greek public TV and radio broadcasting systems.

Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Dimitrios Sioufas, and EMJI Participants Dr. Stephanie Babst in the Panel Press Conference room of the Secretariat General of Information

The Greek Secretariat General of Information hosted a two-day seminar for EMJI participants on October 23 and 24. After an opening address by the President of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, welcoming the students, Mr. Achilleas Paparsenos, Director for Public Relations of the Secretariat General of Information, made a small intervention on behalf of the Secretary General. After, EMJI participants heard Dr. Stefanie Babst speak on "NATO Challenges on the way to NATO's 60th Anniversary - The Public Diplomacy" Dr. Babst is Assistant Deputy Secretary General, Public Diplomacy Division, NATO HQ, Brussels.

A panel discussion on the Media and Public Diplomacy, moderated by Mr. Dimitris Keridis, Assistant Professor at the University of Macedonia, featured:

  • Mr. George Koumoutsakos, Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece
  • Ms. Maria Karaklioumi, Deputy Spokesperson, PASOK
  • Mrs. Carol Kalin, Spokesperson, US Embassy, Athens

The seminar at the Secretariat General of Information also included a talk on "The role of Media in Promoting International Dialogue and Cooperation"by Mr. George Kapopoulos, Columnist, International Affairs, ERT and remarks on "The Current Financial and Economic Global Crisis" by Dr. Ioannis Karmokolias, Director ret., World Bank and UNIDO. Ambassador Vyron Theodoropoulos spoke on "Interdependence between Press and Diplomacy"

A panel on covering elections in general, the American presidential election in particular was featured Professor Rachel Yould and Mr. Antonio Borges de Carvalho, Author and former Member of Parliament, Portugal.

Mr. Antonio Borges de Carvalho and Prof. Rachel Yould Speakers in the Panel "The Work and the Experience of Foreign Correspondents Speech of Mr. Werner Van Gent at the Commencement Dinner

Finally, a true highlight for the participants was a panel on "The Work and the Experience of Foreign Correspondents." This panel included Mr. Werner Van Gent, Schweizer Radio DRS, National Radio of Switzerland, and President of the Foreign Correspondents Association in Greece, Mr. Philip Pangalos, Correspondent for The Sunday Times, Reuters and Mr. Dimitris Messinis, , Director of Photography for SE Europe of Associated Press.

On Sunday night, the students attended the Farewell Dinner in the Athens' Club. The President of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, Mr. Theodossis Georgiou lead the presentation of certificates, together with Ms. Michelle Jeffress, Director of International Programs of The Fund for American Studies and Dr. Rachel Yould. Mr. Werner Van Gent was also present and delivered a small but passionate speech to the participants.

At this point we have already received by e-mail this interesting remark by an American Journalist referring to the Program:

"A friend of mine just asked me in an email today: "anything new & interesting that was presented at the conference?" - since he knew I'd just returned from EMJI. It was hard to pinpoint a single highlight among such a varied stream of panelists & discussions, but I thought you'd enjoy hearing my answer:

"Probably the newest for me was to hear from some politicians about their challenges in communicating with journalists, and vice versa.. the confidentiality issue gets tricky when dealing with delicate diplomatic negotiations, for example. I also discovered some specific ethical challenges that journalists face depending on the situation in their home country: (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia, Kosovo, Palestine, Georgia.. The way that we read about these regions in the media only tells a very small (and biased) part of the story - so it is fascinating to have made friends from these places who can share their personal experience. Some of the panelists had also worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, etc.. so that we really learned about how foreign policy & conflicts interact with the media."

This event has been realized with the hard work and commitment of the staff of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, specially the Program Coordinator, Mr. Emanuel Baptista, the Program Assistant - Intern - Ms. Malgorzata Szewczuk, and the General Secretary, Ms. Marianna Fyrippi.

EMJI Participants outside the Hellenic Parliament

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