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The 1st Euro-Med Journalism Institute (EMJI)

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The Euro-Med Journalism Institute (EMJI) constitutes a new educational program, first envisioned by Mr. Randal Teague of The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) and Mr. Theodossis Georgiou of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation (GAAEC). Following the success of IIPES (the International Institute for Political and Economic Studies), these two leading organizations in the educational field united their skills and knowledge for an institute aimed at young journalists from around the globe with a particular interest in international affairs. On September 16th, 2006, 42 participants from 25 countries came to Athens to learn more about the developments in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Middle East, and to discuss its implications on professional journalism.

For this intercultural program, with its strong focus on issues in the broader Euro-Mediterranean region, Greece, crossroads of the European Union, the Balkans, Asia Minor, the Middle East and Northern Africa, provided the perfect backdrop. Under the auspices of the Secretariat General of Information of the Hellenic Government, the Institute addressed a variety of international, political, cultural, and journalistic issues in order for the participating journalists to report accurately on these topics in their own countries.

September 16th, 2006 saw the official start of the program with a welcoming dinner in waterfront resort Glyfada, offered and attended by Mr. Panos Leivadas, Secretary General of Information of the Hellenic Government. This was followed, on the next day, by a sightseeing tour of the old city of Athens, after which participants departed for theisland of Andros, where they were accommodated near the capital town and treated to three days of lectures, discussions, and panel sessions from various specialists.

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Guest lecturers on Andros included Mr. Bruce Clark, of The Economist, Prof. Michael Poulantzas, Amb. Vyron Theodoropoulos, and Dr. Charalambos Tsardanides.

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In addition to this, various specialists gathered for a panel session. The students had the opportunity to discuss with Amb. Dusan Batakovic (Balkans specialist), Dr. Stefanos Vallianatos (Middle East specialist) and Dr. John Strivis (Black Sea specialist) and ask them their questions on the developments in these particular regions.

Upon their return in Athens, participants paid a visit to the Hellenic Parliament, where speakers included Mr. Vassilis Magginas, MP of the governing New Democracy party, and Mr. Nikos Konstantopoulos, MP and former leader of Synaspismos party.

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Following the session at the Hellenic Parliament, participants departed for the studios of ERT (Greek National Radio and Television), where they were addressed by Mr. Christos Panagopoulos, President of ERT, and Mr. Konstantinos Kekis, its Executive Director. A tour of the various radio and television studios of the complex gave the participants an insider's view of this massive hive of professional journalism.

The evening of the 21st provided the participants with a formal dinner in the Ceremony Hall of the Officers Club of Greece. This dinner was attended by a large number of ambassadors and embassy delegates to Greece of the participants' home countries, and this gave the group a chance to interact with diplomats from their own country. The dinner was further enlivened by a speech of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Theodoros Kassimis. His words were particularly interesting to the audience as Mr. Kassimis has worked as a journalist himself for a long time.

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The next day saw the participants visiting the Secretariat of Information of the Hellenic Republic. The group was treated to a range of lectures by Mr. Theodoros Roussopoulos (Minister of State), Mr. Theodoros Skylakakis (Secretary General of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Georgios Mergos (Secretary General of National Economy), Ms. Fani Palli-Petralia (Minister of Tourism), Mr. Christos Zahopoulos (Secretary General of Culture), and Mr. Christos Hatziemmanouil (President of Olympic Building S.A.). The lectures were followed by a panel session, consisting of representatives of NATO, the European Union and Worldbank.

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During the evening, participants were invited to the residence of Mr. Thomas Countryman, Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy to Greece. The garden ofMr. Countryman's residence provided a pleasant environment for his presentation on the views of the United States on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Mr. Countryman's presentation was followed by a garden dinner in an informal atmosphere.

The day before the departure of the participants had the group evaluate the program and discuss the various aspects with Prof. Yould. Following this closing session, a farewell dinner was offered in the ballroom of hotel Athens Imperial. Dinner started with a lecture by Prof. Aliki Mitsakos on Gender, Politics and Media, and was concluded by Ms. Michelle Jeffress, Director of International Programs of The Fund for American Studies, who presented each participant with an official certificate.

The dinner marked the end of the organized part of the Institute, and brought an end to an enjoyable and constructive pioneer session of the Euro-Mediterranean Journalism Institute.

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