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US and Greek institutions seek collaboration

US institutions are looking to collaborate more closely with counterparts in Greece, with a renewed focus on academic partnerships.

George Mason University and Ionian University are two institutions that have created programs around intercultural tourism and event management. Photo: pexels

To date the International Academic Partnership Program has launched 18 new or expanded partnerships between the two countries

The US Department of State and the government of Greece, together with the Institute of International Education, will host 54 higher education institutions at the Pharos Summit 2022 in November.

The in-person event, part of the International Academic Partnership Program Greece, aims to assist institutions to develop partnerships and foster collaboration.

“US and Greek higher education leaders share a mutual passion for and commitment to partnerships,” said IIE CEO, Allan E. Goodman.

“By bringing together these institutions, with the support of organisations such as IIE and both the US and Greek governments, we are able to create impactful connections between students and faculty alike, fully realising the potential and power of international education.

“If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that collaboration and education will not only continue, but it can thrive and overcome any challenges that may lie ahead.”

“Collaboration and education can thrive and overcome any challenges that may lie ahead”

US representatives will visits sites in Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, among others between November 6-12, including a high-level forum with rectors from more than 20 Greek universities.

The US Embassy in Greece’s capital is “excited to be making history as we welcome the largest American university delegation that IIE has ever sent to a single country”, according to US ambassador to Greece, George J. Tsunis.

“This history-making delegation and the Pharos Summit underscore Greece’s importance as a destination for international education, as well as Greece’s position as a partner of choice for the US,” he said.

“I am confident that the deepening institutional partnerships between American and Greek universities will help advance joint-degree programs, research, more American students studying in Greece, more English language programs in Greek universities that will attract international students, more exchanges and collaborations between academics and university administrators, and more Greek students coming to the US.”

To date the International Academic Partnership Program has launched 18 new or expanded partnerships between the two countries.

Minister of Education and Religious Affairs of Greece, Niki Kerameus, noted that the partnership comes at “an all-time high” in relations, where there is “strong political will on both the US and Greek side to foster stronger, deeper collaborations among our universities”.

“The Greek government has set the internationalisation of Greek higher education at the top of its reform agenda,” Kerameus stated.

“The bold legislative initiatives we have undertaken, to facilitate the creation of foreign language programs and international partnerships, coupled with extensive funding for the internationalisation of Greek HEIs, render this an ideal time to broach partnerships with Greek universities.”

In 2020, the minister told The Financial Times that the country was hoping to welcome between 40,000-50,000 international students to enrol in classics classes by 2024.

“We want to internationalise [Greek universities] and render them a hub for [tertiary] education in south-east Europe,” she said at the time.

Along with collaboration now with US institutions, universities in Greece has also sought partnership opportunities in the UK.

“Both the Greek and US universities are eager to pursue and enhance these partnerships”

In the past three years, Greek universities have “embraced” the new direction, Kerameus continued.

“More importantly, both the Greek and US universities are eager to pursue and enhance these partnerships – an eagerness which was clearly demonstrated by the enthusiastic participation of both Greek and US higher education institutions in this program,” she said.

“As such, at this very moment all of the critical factors are aligned: eagerness on the part of the universities of both countries, and substantive and visible support on behalf of both the Greek and US governments.”

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