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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstantinos Vlassis’ speech at “Building International Bridges: Opening Greek Universities to the World” (Athens, 24.01.2020)

Friday, 24 January 2020

Dear Minister of Education Niki Kerameos,

Secretaries General,



Good morning to everyone,

I would like to welcome you to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and thank you for being here. On the occasion of the United Nations “International Day of Education”, we are here today to present the opportunities offered by Greek Universities in the field of English-speaking educational programmes.

In today’s interconnected world, education and openness go together. Socrates, a man of wisdom, used to say: “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world”. One cannot but totally agree with him.

Our students travel abroad in order to pursue their studies, widen their horizons and get valuable experiences. Erasmus and several other exchange programmes between Universities reaffirm that mobility is the key in understanding the dynamics of our world.

Mobility is what creates strong people-to-people ties, allows the diffusion of knowledge and shapes future citizens of the world. It allows us to better understand each other and promotes tolerance and mutual respect. Mobility is a skill and a powerful asset, especially for the young people. It is something that we have to invest on.

In this context, Greek Universities open their doors to the rest of the world. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Minister Kerameos and the Greek Government, have put particular emphasis on the openness of the Greek Academic Institutions, thus allowing them to reveal their huge potential. In his recent speech in the Greek Parliament, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to the initiatives that have been already undertaken in the field of higher education. Enhanced cooperation between Greek and prestigious foreign Universities, English-speaking programmes in classical studies, upgrade of the wider framework for university studies. These initiatives bring a wind of change and mark the start of a new era.

Being myself a member of the academic community, as an associate professor in the Medical School of Athens, I know very well the excellent level of the academic staff as well as the quality of the education offered by our Universities.

However, for many years, due to the lack of English-speaking programmes, Greek Universities have been missing the chance to open themselves to students from all over the world. Times have changed though, and we are ready to seize all opportunities.

As you will discover today, Greece has many comparative advantages that make it an attractive destination for university studies. I wholeheartedly encourage you to get this information back to your country and inform the relevant authorities about the opportunities Greece offers to young students, eager to pursue their studies abroad.

Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, I will not be able to stay throughout the event. I apologize for that.

I would like to personally thank the Secretaries General, Mr. Alexandris from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Dimitropoulos from the Ministry of Education for this initiative.

Thank you very much.