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Ambassador of Greece to China Leonidas Rokanas visits prestigious Chinese Academic Institutions Yenching Academy

Thursday, 08 December 2016

Ambassador of Greece to China Leonidas Rokanas visits prestigious Chinese Academic Institutions  Yenching Academy

On December 8, 2016, upon an invitation extended by the Yenching Academy of Peking University, Ambassador Leonidas Rokanas, visited the Academy and delivered  a speech in the Ambassador Speaker Series. On behalf of the Academy John Holden, Associate Dean of Yenching Academy, greeted the Ambassador and the Greek Embassy delegation.

Ambassdor Rokanas' speech titled “GREECE’S ROLE IN THE SE MEDITERRANEAN REGION AND GREECE-CHINA RELATIONS” pinpointed the key, pivotal role played by Greece today in the broader area of Eastern Mediteranean region. Greece, is a beacon of stability, security and prosperity in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and SE Europe, thanks to the country's participation in all major and regional intl. organizations, its top ranking in GDP in the region, its systematic and successful efforts to overcome the consequences of global economic crisis,  and its strong armed forces.

The Greek Ambassador underscored the fact that Greece has systematically spearheaded several key political and economic initiatives in the Mediterranean region to promote inter-country cooperation, prosperity and stability. Greece also plays a key role in contemporary world energy flow linking Central Asia and Europe. Besides, Greece possesses one of the most skilled and hardworking labor force today. Its is also a leading maritime power in the world carrying over 50% of China's trade and the majority of the energy sources imported to China, while heavily investing in Chinese shipyards with orders of hundreds of ships over the last years, thus injecting much-needed capital to Chinese ship-building industry.
While referring to Greece - China relations, Amb. Rokanas highlighted the historical bonds between the two countries, from the ancient times (when the Greek technological advancements in maritime affairs as well as the campaign of Alexander the Great in Asia from the 4th century BC contributed to the multiplication of contacts which acquired particular momentum in the 1st-2nd centuries AD and during the Byzantine era) until today, in the context of the China - initiated OBOR policy.  Greece shares with China the same view on the importance of the modern Silk Roads linking Asia to Europe, and highly values the synergistic, inclusive, and win-win chief traits of the OBOR project, aiming at enhancing multilateralism and world governance, and promoting global economic development, cultural and educational exchanges, techno-science co-operation and people-to-people contacts.

In this respect Amb. Rokanas referred more specifically to the key-investments by COSCO in Piraeus, underpinned by Greece's unique geographical position in the maritime Silk Road, providing a faster and cheaper access to European goods markets, saving at least 10 days in the transport of Chinese exports to the EU. Concurrently, Investments from China have grown significantly in recent years and are expected to rise further, as Chinese firms established in Greece are now expanding their capacity and are investing in complementary projects, such as infrastructure, logistics hubs, R&D centers, ICT, energy  etc.

A number of major agreements were signed during the important  visit (July 2016) of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Bejing and Shanghai, a visit that provided a new, major impetus to the bilateral relations between the two nations, 10 years after the establishment of their strategic cooperative relation in 2006. During 2015 the two countries celebrated their Year of Maritime Cooperation and this year is a Year of Cultural Cooperation and Cultural Industries Exchanges. 
Yenching Academy profile (source:

The Yenching Academy of Peking University builds bridges between China and the rest of the world through an interdisciplinary master’s program in China Studies for outstanding graduates from all over the globe. This initiative brings together young people who show promise to lead and innovate in their fields in an intensive learning environment where they can explore China and its role in the world - past, present, and future. The Academy aims to thereby shape a new generation of global citizens with a nuanced understanding of China and its role in the world. Founded on the ideal of fostering global connections and dialogue, the Yenching Academy is a fully funded residential program offering a wide array of interdisciplinary courses on China within broadly defined fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Working closely with their academic mentors, Yenching Scholars are granted the flexibility to create their own study paths by choosing from six academic concentrations and a variety of extracurricular activities. Studying at the Academy represents a unique opportunity not only for intercultural and academic exchange, but also for personal and professional development. The Yenching Academy Ambassador Speaker Series seeks to provide a platform for students to interact with Ambassadors, learn about their experiences and thoughts, and benefit from their advice. Through the lens of the Ambassadors, students can contextualize China’s development in the international setting.

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