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Euro-Med Journalism Institute

Euro-Med Journalism Institute (3)

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


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.



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.



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