International Educational Program “Kernels of Our Future 2008”, took place from the 8th to the 24th of July in Chania, Crete and Athens. The 2008 session was very special, as it was the 5th Anniversary of the program and the special programme “Leadership in practice” was held parallel to the main event.
“Kernels of Our Future” program was organized by G.A.A.E.C., in cooperation with Bulgarian Euro Atlantic Education Initiative, Hungarian Atlantic Council, State Institute for Civil Education of Germany, Atlantic Council of Turkey, EURISC Foundation, The Fund for American Studies, and Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania.
Throughout the 17 days of the program around 40 teenagers from all over the world attended lectures, participated in workshops, simulations and lively debates about these main topics: The function of International Institutions (United Nations, European Union, NATO, etc.); Human Rights; Gender Issues; The Art of Conflict management; Civil Society and Its Contemporary Role; Microeconomics and Trading; Media Techniques; Development of Intellectual and Social Skills for Personal Leadership; Relationship Networking; How to exploit the spirit of common values using the foundation of history; Perspectives in career orientation. The lectures were given by Dr. Aliki Mitsakos, Chairperson of the Committee of Education and Science of G.A.A.E.C. and the founder of this program; Mrs. Avgustina Tzvetkova, President of Euro-Atlantic Education Initiative of Bulgaria; Mrs. Jessica Townsend Teague, faculty member of the Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Business and Government Affairs at Georgetown University USA; Prof. Zehra Odyakmaz, professor of Administrative Law, Turkey. Also Kernels’ participants had an opportunity to attend lectures and workshops offered by visiting professors and guest lecturers: Dr. Michael J. Collins from Georgetown University, USA; Stefano Pilotto from University of Trieste, Italy; René Repasi from University of Heidelberg, Germany; Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, President of the American Community Schools of Athens, Greece; Dr. Sofia Hilentzaris, business management professor from Greece; Michelle Jeffress, Director of International programs of the Fund for American Studies, USA.
The program was created on the basis of “non-formal learning” and on continuous feedback between participants and instructors of the program, what made all the classes very creative and interactive. Students participated in the North Atlantic Council simulation, conducted by Mrs. Barbora Maronkova, from Public Diplomacy Division of NATO.Moreover they were all involved in the simulation on Climate, and also learned about Media Techniques and Photography with Mr. Statul Karabashev, journalist from Bulgaria.
Furthermore, the Kernels participants also had other interesting activities: excursions to surrounding sites and to Knossos (the birthplace of Europe), trip to the national hero’s, E. Venizelos, grave; intercultural role-plays; sport championships (tennis, football, basketball, etc.); movie screenings; going to the beach and having fun together at country parties almost every evening, making every minute enjoyable andexciting.
As it was the 5th Anniversary of the program, a special program “Leadership in Practice” was set up for this occasion and alumni reunion was held on 15-24 July, 2008. The program started in Chania, Crete, where participants were able to join IIPES students for the lectures by Prof. Frank Ambrosio and Prof. Michael Collins from Georgetown University. Alumni also participated in the International Politics simulation game. Moreover, they participated in cultural program, country presentations and were given free time in Chania. On Sunday, July 20th both alumni and Kernels’ participants left for Athens. They had a chance to visit Acropolis and learn about Ancient History by Mrs. Nikolis, archeologist, as well as to have a bus tour around Athens, including the Olympic installations. Participants of the program also visited Parliament of the Hellenic Parliament, and were given the opportunity to meet the president of the Parliament Mr. Sioufas, as well as Vice Minister of Education Mr. Lykourentzos. Mr. Nikitas Kaklamanis, the Mayor of Athens, also met with the young leaders in Athens Town Hall. Visits to the National Radio-Television Company and General Secretariat of Information and Press were also included in the program. During the last day, they had relationship networking workshop by Prof. J. Teague. The graduation ceremony of the 5th edition of Kernels took place in the prestigious Officers’ Club in Athens with the presence of the representatives of the embassies of the countries involved.