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Monday, 25 November 2013 15:19

Kernels of Our Future 2006

Since 2004, the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation (GAAEC) has been organizing one of the most innovative youth programs, "Kernels of Our Future". This year, under the direction of Dr. Aliki Mitsakos-Georgiou, Responsible for Education and Science within GAAEC, the organization hosted the third edition of this annual summer event for teenagers (aged 15-18), co-financed by the European Union as part of their Youth for Europe/Action 1 program, with the aim to teach them about the international community, conflict management and leadership.
  "Kernels" is a unique three-week program, as it not only responds to the growing need of educating the next generation of leaders, but also offers the opportunity of international and intercultural learning and understanding.
This year, the young participants, coming from Hungary, Romania, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Denmark and the US, had the opportunity to take part in a new program component, "Leadership in Action".
Held in Athens on the 7th of July, “Leadership in Action” allowed the students to meet with leaders of today and discuss political and economic issues with them.
Students had the chance to visit the Parliament of the Hellenic Republic, to experience the daily work of the parliament and to meet with the PM of the New Democracy Party of Arcadia and member of GAAEC, Mr. Andreas Lykourentzou, as well as several young parliamentarians, which resulted in a productive meeting. Participants were able to meet with Dr. Marietta Giannakou, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, and to ask her questions about the current educational system in Greece, as well as discuss the major problems that the public Greek education system is facing nowadays. In addition, students were received at the Town Hall by the Vice Mayor of Athens, Mrs. Katerina Watsabe.

The highlight of “Leadership in Action” was undoubtedly the special workshop "NATO, European Security and Greece in the 21st Century", held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This workshop included lectures by distinguished professors and experts such as Mrs. Ino Afentouli (Information Officer for Greece, NATO Public Diplomacy Division), Mr. Panayiotis Tsakonas (Aegean University), Mr. Athanasios Dokos (Director of |Studies, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy), Mr. Aristotelis Tziampiris (Lecturer, University of Pireus, Member of Educational Council, Institute of Democracy "K. Karamanlis"), and Mrs. Polina Lampsa (Political Scientist, Secretary of International Relations, PASOK), and was chaired by Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, Chaiman of GAAEC.
Consequently the students were honored to attend and participate in a lively discussion with the Secretary General of NATO, the Honorable Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The Kernels were enthusiastic about the privilege to share their thoughts, curiosities and doubts with the Secretary General. The Leadership in Action Program offered the students a broader dimension of politics and political-diplomatic life.
During their stay in Athens, the participants attended lectures on Greek Archeology, visited the Acropolis and its museum as well as the Olympic Installations, were treated to a bus tour around the city, and enjoyed traditional Greek food at a Monastiraki restaurant.
After Leadership in Action, the program moved to Chania, Crete. From July 9th till July 23rd this beautiful seaside town provided the ideal backdrop for an international and multicultural event such as Kernels of Our Future. In Chania participants stayed on the campus of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh), where most of the activities took place.
Professors included Dr. Fabrizio Luciolli, Secretary General of the Comitato Atlantico, Professor Zehra Odyakmaz from Ankara University, Professor Peter Trummer of the State Institute for Civic Education in Baden-Stuttgart, and Mrs. Jessica Teague, Lecturer at Georgetown University of Washington DC.

The lectures covered a wide range of contemporary issues, including among the others classes on political philosophy, economics, and the role of international institutions and organizations in the contemporary world. The participants had the opportunity to discuss gender and security issues and environmental and human rights challenges, and to find and share common historical heritage. Thus, a variety of topics was addressed, in an international and open atmosphere. In addition to this, the Kernels visited significant Cretan archeological sites such as Heraklion and Knossos.
Apart from the lectures, students had the chance to participate in simulation games, including a simulation on Israel-Lebanon crisis, turning theoretical bases on conflict management into practical use. Athletic championship games and other entertaining events, such as the country presentation night, were organized in order for the participants to get to know each other.
  At the end of the program all participants took a final examination and were awarded with certificates during a grand graduation ceremony. After three weeks they left for their home countries enriched, not just by the knowledge and skills acquired but also by the intercultural experience, proud of their achievements and of their contribution to this unique international phenomenon of leadership education.

Monday, 25 November 2013 15:13

Kernels of Our Future 2008

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.

Monday, 25 November 2013 15:01

Kernels of Our Future 2010

The “Kernels of our Future” is an original international, educational summer program for young leaders aged 15-18 years. The Kernels program was established in 2004 by The Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, under the Direction of Prof. Dr. Aliki Mitsakos, M.D., Ph.D.

The participants of the program are young people, aged from 15 to 18, from a variety of countries (this year’s program saw delegations from Greece, Palestine, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria and the United States) who distinguished themselves to make a positive contribution to the future society, to educate them on broader citizenship and help develop trust and understanding among the next generation of leaders. It is the only such program ever developed on an international scale.

The program took place this summer from July 19 to August 5 on the University campus of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania in Crete and Athens for the sixth time, and brought together 25 students from 6 nations.

The program consists of a series of activities and games destined not only to promote their personal development but also to entertain them and guarantee that they will have a great time and make good friendships. Besides an important personal development, the chosen activities activate leadership skills as well as provide the Kernels with valuable knowledge on international relations and organizations, conflict resolution, their contribution to the civil society, Democracy and relevant contemporary issues. The way to achieve these goals is through lectures, debates, informal games and activities, simulations, cultural trips, sport practices, and a valuable constant interaction among them within an international context.

The lectures, integrated as a part of the informal education, are administrated both by organization members and international guest speakers specialized in a diversity of fields. This year, the Kernels of our Future had the opportunity to be lectured on International Organizations, with a particular relevance on NATO, the U.N. and the E.U. Following the initial insight on these International Institutions by Prof. Zehra Odyakmaz from Turkey, they initiated their learning of basic concepts of public law and constitutional law.

In a special “NATO days” session, they were introduced to the topic of NATO and its operations by guest lecturer Barbora Maronkova from the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, who then challenged the students to a simulation about  NATO’s New Strategic Concept

 Furthermore, the Kernels received lessons on the role of the Civil Society, the importance of Human Rights and Gender Equality by program director and founder Prof. Dr. Aliki Mitsakos . Additionally there were a series of lectures covering many other topics such as Political systems, International security, “The Good Society” by guest speaker Prof. Michael Collins and a simulation game on Politics, Business and Environment.

In a simulation game conducted by Prof. Rene Repasi from Germany, the Kernels engaged in a very interesting and passionate debate on the challenges facing the globalization and carbon trade, taking the different roles of countries and businesses.

The highly level of expertise of the speakers and the interactive learning environment, accompanied with multimedia presentations, videos, games and encouraging constant interventions, made these lectures much more valuable and interesting for the Kernels than the formal day-to-day education.

Together with the lectures, the Kernels also engaged on a number of debates, both on the issues discussed on the lectures as well as topics of their personal interests. These discussions, such as the “Full moon night owl discussion” taking place in a more informal environment, gave the students a free environment for expressing their opinions also outside of the classroom setting.

Regarding the informal games and activities, they provided the Kernels with a great a way to discover their potentials and develop their skills, through a fun and relaxed environment, followed by reflections on what they have accomplished with the exercises.

The practice of sport activities in an international context also contributed to these purposes. The healthy competitions that the Kernels engaged with team mates from different nationalities made these competitions to be embedded of the Olympic spirit. They learn how to act as a team, to manage their different perceptions and to interact together with people from diverse cultures.

After fulfilling days of lectures, games and sports usually at night the Kernels organized thematic parties divided by each delegation where they share their cultural habits, food and music with the each other, offering a good way for them to taste specialties from different countries as to know the other’s social habits.

In addition to these activities the participants still had the possibility to enjoy Cultural Trips on the Island of Crete, visiting archeological sites, like the Therisso gorge and visiting museums and sightseeing in the city of Chania. All these trips were preceded by detailed explanations on the importance and history of each location. Also a more relaxing component was not forgotten and the students enjoyed trips to the local beaches, including a trip to the famous Stavros beach where the movie “Zorba, the Greek” was filmed. The screening of the movie is a tradition in Kernels of our future and could not be left out this year.

 Although the cultural interaction is present throughout the program, it was strongly enforced with a cultural presentation night where each delegation had the opportunity to present their country and culture in the way they feel that represents them best. The creativity and commitment that the participants demonstrate in these presentations was truly amazing.

After a session of examination and Evaluation of the academic part in Chania, The Kernels and Alumni traveled to Athens for a special program were they had the honor to be a guest in the Parliament and visit the Town Hall as well as the Presidential Palace. They also had the great opportunity to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where a staff member of the Ministry gave them an insight of the work of a diplomat and then answered different questions from the young people. Additionally The Kernels made a visit to the the offices of Kathimerini Newspaper and Skai Television. Of course there was also the opportunity to discover the beauty of Athens, modern and ancient. The Kernels went to see the Acropolis, visited the districts of Plaka and Monastiraki and spent a very interesting afternoon in the New Acropolis Museum.

A very pleasant commencement ceremony marked the end of the program, during which the Kernels were awarded participations diplomas and the “Outstanding Alumnus” award was presented to Mr. Nikolay Kolev from Bulgaria, who has shown his enthusiasm for the program by continually supporting and developing the Kernels idea as an Alumnus and participating every year since being a “Kernel” for the first time in 2005.


The Kernels of our Future 2010 would like to thank their Partners, Sponsors and Donors for their kind and generous support of the program and its mission to build a world of greater tolerance and understanding through educating the future generation. Without their help, this program would not be possible.

Monday, 25 November 2013 14:47

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

Monday, 25 November 2013 14:37

The 2nd Euro-Med Journalism Institute (EMJI)

After the success of last year, the second edition of the Euro Mediterranean Journalism Institute was held in Athens from September 29th until October 7th. The Institute lasted for one week and counted with the representation of 45 participants coming from 22 different countries. It was co-organized by Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation and The Fund for American Studies; under the auspices of the Greek Secretariat General of Information.

Following the success of the first edition, the Institute curriculum emphasized on the way of perceiving the role of a free press in promoting the values of a free society and accurately reporting on international, political, and economic conflicts.

The program took place in the City of Athens. The participants were accommodated in a 4 star Hotel located in the heart of the city. It provided the students with comfortable accommodation, an excellent conference room, a pleasant buffet restaurant with healthy Mediterranean food and great access to the city; the hotel was considered to be a very suitable place to perform a program of this nature.

A considerable contribution was made by the guest lecturers: Mr. Alkis Courcoulas, Bureau chief of the Athens News Agency in Turkey, offered the ground for a meaningful discussion on the Role of Journalism in Promoting International Dialogue. Mr. Bruce Clark, Chief Editor of The Economist, shared with the journalists his vast professional experience that gave food for thought about their personal career development. Dr. Aliki Mitsakos, President of the Soroptimist Union of Greece made a presentation on Gender and Media Coverage, pointing out the effects on Women representation in the Media world.
 Taking advantage of the academic background developed during the courses, the participants were able to carry out activities on a professional level held in the Greek Secretariat General of Information and the Hellenic Parliament. Both visits included Presentations, Press Conferences and Discussions with significant speakers and panels.
In the Secretariat General the students had a welcome discussion with the Secretary General of Information, Mr. Panos Leivadas. Afterwards, the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. George Koumoutsakos took the floor. During the day, the participants had the opportunity to discuss on the issue of “Interdependence between Press and Diplomacy” with one of the most experienced Greek diplomats, the Ambassador Vyrom Theodoropoulos. The session included not only guest lectures but also possibilities of interviews and discussions in Panels. The first remarkable Panel consisted of the presence of Mrs. Despina Afentouli from NATO Public Diplomacy Division, Dr. Ioannis Karmokolias, retired Director of the World Bank and UNIDO, Mr. Grigorios Vassilokonstantakis, acting Director of Greece-US Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The discussion topic was “Public Diplomacy and Media”. 

The second Panel developed on the problematic of “Fires in Greece, the Economic, Political, and Environmental Aftermath. It was composed by Mr. Efstathios Sagias, Forest Engineer, retired Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Petros Katsakos, ERT Journalist covering the fires at the time, and Mr. Spyros Spyridon, Secretary General of Western Greece. All the panels were moderated by Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, Chairman of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation


In the Hellenic Parliament, the students had the possibility to visit the senate room, having a welcome presentation by the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Dimitrios Sioufas. A productive discussion with government and opposition parties’ members followed; Mr. Savvas Tsitouridis and Mr. Simos Kedikoglou representing New Democracy; Mrs. Sofia Giannaka from PASOK – Panhellenic Socialist Movement, main opposition party; Mr. Giannis Banias from SYRIZA – Coalition of the Radical Left; and Mr. Adonis Georgiadis from LAOS – Popular Orthodox Rally. After the end of the session the participants were offered a special- guided insight of the Parliament.

Besides the full day activities, the participants were also engaged into Formal Dinners with distinguished guests where they had the possibility of establishing off the record contacts and discussions. Under this frame, the first dinner was held in the Residence of the United States Ambassador, counting the presence of Mr. Thomas Countryman, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., US Embassy to Greece. Several diplomats of the American Embassy attended the dinner, mainly experts on the Press Office field.  The following dinner took place in the Ceremony Hall of the Officers Club of Greece, where a number of Ambassadors and several countries’ Diplomatic Representatives were present. The Keynote Speaker was the Ambassador Ioannis Bourlogiannis-Tsaggaridis, Director General for International Relations, Ministry of Defence delivering a speech on the behalf of Mr. Theodoros Kassimis, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Institute’s schedule embraced a cultural dimension aiming to familiarize the participants with the country’s history; thus, promoting strong friendship bonds and the construction of a future professional network of sharing common work experiences and interests.

In so doing, a visiting tour of the Acropolis was organized followed by a pleasant lunch in the historical area of Plaka, where the participants had the opportunity to enjoy traditional Greek cuisine.


At the end of the program the students were awarded of participation diplomas, during a formal commencement ceremony. The ceremony took place in the Athens’ Club initiated with open remarks by Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, Chairman of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, as well as, professional and career advices by the Greek journalist Mr. Athanassis Ellis, Greek correspondent in Washington, D.C. Selected students were asked to give their personal testimony to the audience. The ceremony concluded with the Diploma delivery led by Ms. Michelle Jeffress, Director of Programs of The Fund for American Studies. The end of the program indicated the beginning of their participation to an already vast international alumni network.

The general overview about the EMJI program is that endows young journalists with an important academic background, fruit of the experience of the Professors and guest lecturers. It is adequately complemented with practical experience, including Political Press Conferences and Presentations by notorious panels that would otherwise be very difficult to obtain by young journalists. The visiting tours of Greek Media references offered the participants a coherent perception of the way that journalism works in Greece. The dinners and receptions were also an important component in the sense they could practice informal contacts with Diplomats, Politicians and other keynote figures. They were able to create a diversified international network, very important to the field of the current journalism. They shared their experiences and opinions, both professional and academic, and got in contact with the reality of journalism in different countries and cultures. The success of the first two editions guarantees the program’s continuation in the long term.

Monday, 25 November 2013 14:08

The 1st Euro-Med Journalism Institute (EMJI)


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.

Friday, 22 November 2013 16:33

The Fund for American Studies


The Fund for American Studies was founded in 1967 to instill in college students an appreciation for the traditional principles that underlie the American political and economic system. In partnership with Georgetown University, The Fund for American Studies sponsors twelve Institutes that educate more than 700 students each year. More than 7,500 students from more than 80 countries have attended Fund programs. The Fund sponsors five Institutes in Washington, DC: The Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems, The Institute on Political Journalism, The Bryce Harlow Institute on Business and Government Affairs, The Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service, and the Capital Semester Program.

In 1993, the Fund created its first international program at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. The American Institute on Political and Economic Systems hosts students from countries of Eastern and Central Europe and studies the political and economic transition process of the post-Communist era. TFAS was among the first organizations of its kind to recognize the need to engage students from the Eastern Mediterranean in an intellectual discussion of the ideas of democracy and market economies. A partnership was formed with the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, led by Theodossis Georgiou and Aliki Mitsakos-Georgiou. Together they created the International Institute for Political and Economic Studies (IIPES) by drawing from the democratic traditions of ancient Athens and spirit of peaceful interaction characteristic of the ancient Olympics. Now held on the island of Crete, the program includes a workshop on conflict management and discussions on how democratic and market institutions foster peaceful cooperation and prosperity.

Other TFAS international programs include the Asia Institute for Political Economy, the European Journalism Institute and Institute for Leadership in Americas.

For more information please visit: or

Friday, 22 November 2013 16:27

American Council of Young Political Leaders


ACYPL (American Council of Young Political Leaders), founded in 1966, is an organization that conducts bipartisan international exchanges, enabling emerging leaders (aged 25 to 40) to experience firsthand the political and cultural dynamics of other countries.

The exchanges are intensive two-week study programs conducted in conjunction with ACYPL's counterpart organizations in every region of the world including: Asia & the Pacific Rim, Central & Eastern Europe, Central & South America, Indian Subcontinent, Middle East & North Africa, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa.

During the program, delegates engage in candid dialogue with senior government and political officials, industry executives, and community leaders on a wide range of political, cultural, and economic issues. For many rising leaders, an ACYPL exchange program provides their first substantive experience abroad and early exposure to international affairs.

Since the founding of ACYPL, more than 6,000 promising young leaders from around the world have participated in ACYPL exchanges.

More about ACYPL...

Friday, 22 November 2013 16:24

Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies


The Eastern Institute (full name: Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies) has since its inception in 1992 been active in the field of co-operation among European countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. Various projects conducted at different levels have been adding to creation and development of political, economic, cultural and scientific ties among states in the region.

The most important project of the Eastern Institute is the Economic Forum in Krynica. Over the period of more than ten years, the Forum has become an important and recognized event in this part of Europe. In its efforts related to the Forum, the Eastern Institute is supported by the Programme Council. The Council sets the content and programme of the Forum, and gives direction to its further development.

Other statutory projects:

  • organising international seminars, workshops and study visits;
  • publishing economic analyses and reports;
  • organising internships for Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian students in top Polish companies.

More about the institute...


The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is an independent, non-governmental organization providing professional support to electoral democracy. Through field work, applied research and advocacy, IFES strives to promote citizen participation, transparency, and accountability in political life and civil society.

Every IFES project is staffed by local personnel and partnered with local organizations. With this homegrown approach, IFES ensures the expertise it offers fits the needs of the country or client and the benefit of assistance outlasts the life of the project. IFES work is nonpartisan and also includes projects that:

  • Help citizens participate in their democracies;
  • Increase politicians' accountability to the electorate;
  • Strengthen government institutions.

Since its founding in 1987, IFES has worked in more than 100 countries - from developing democracies such as Liberia, to mature democracies such as the United States.

The Greek Association for Atlantic & European Cooperation is the affiliate member of IFES providing effective support in the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Middle East region.

Learn more about IFES...

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