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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 October 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 OCTOBER 2018 23 FEATURE plines and to make Modern Greek studies competitive. If, therefore, European programs of Modern Greek Studies are not modernized but remain introverted selfabsorbed literary (pseudo-literary) courses, within a decade they'll have no students and will be abolished. The number of students attracted by each university department is a measure for its longevity or its abolition. This is the case in daily practice. What are the prospects of Modern Greek Studies at international level? By its nature and content, the discipline of Modern Greek Studies has an interdisciplinary relation with many academic areas, and as such, Modern Greek Studies is the academic discipline that dynamically opens the way towards dealing with contemporary European and international issues on a wide scale. Some American universities have successfully expanded and enriched their Modern Greek programs across disciplines, which has resulted in a significant rise in student numbers. Allow me to add that, in my opinion, it is no coincidence at all that a colleague from an American University was recently chosen by the academic committee for the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek & Byzantine History, Language & Literature at the Department of Classics of King's College in London. Furthermore, the positive development of Modern Greek studies in China today confirms the importance of these studies internationally. At the International Summer School for Greek Language, History and Culture, organised every August in Thessaloniki with the support of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, every year we welcome excellent students from the Universities of Beijing and Shanghai. This year, one Chinese scholarship holder who participated in the higher linguistic level of the Program, is writing her PhD thesis on the Greek civil war. I will also mention that at the Thessaloniki Summer School this year we had four Ministry of Culture and Sports scholarship holders (three male and a female student) from the International University of Moscow. This university is well-known for educating the future Russian officialdom and senior diplomatic officers. The aboventioned three students, aged 19 to 21, have Greek language and culture as their major (principal area of study) at the International University of Moscow, while the female student is major- ing in economy and studies Greek language at a lower level. I would add that the two Russian professors of Greek language and culture at the International University of Moscow have also been scholarship holders of the Ministry of Culture and Sports in the Thessaloniki "International Summer School for Greek Language, History and Culture". One could list more examples indicative of the importance of promoting Modern Greek Studies. Would you like to elaborate on the activities of the European Society of Modern Greek Studies? The European Society of Modern Greek Studies (ESMGS) was founded in Athens in 1995 with the moral and financial support of the Greek Ministry of Culture. It is based in Athens and is a non-profit organisation. It has a federated structure, with 18 National Societies of Modern Greek Studies (Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Germany, Georgia, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Scandinavia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) as full members. In its 23 years of activity, the Society has consistently pursued the objectives set out when it was established. Among other things, for the first time after World War II, it systematically organized six international congresses of Modern Greek Studies in six different European university campuses: Berlin (1998), Rethymnon (2002), Bucharest (2006), Granada (2010), Thessaloniki (2014) and Lund (2018). The Society also published the proceedings of its first five congresses, comprising 17 volumes (approximately 12,500 pages). ESMGS has also taken in- novative steps to promote the broader participation of researchers from the fields of economics, sociology and political science in its conferences. Since the very first European Congress of Modern Greek Studies, which we organized 20 years ago in Berlin, in October 1998, we have been fostering interdisciplinarity in independent specialist areas, which constitute the wide range of Modern Greek Studies, both in university teaching and in research. ESMGS is currently operating as an effective vehicle for the international promotion of Modern Greek Studies, as the vigorous global interest at its quadrennial congresses testifies. It has also substantially contributed to the rescue of Departments of Greek Professor Konstantinos Dimadis. in European universities that were at risk of closing down after 2000. Last but not least, it promotes young researchers with a view to their professional integration. In this context, it offers them support on matters of scholarships and research programs. Vassilios Sabatakakis: We aim to outline a strategy for revitalising Modern Greek Studies Senior Lecturer Vassilios Sabatakakis is the director of Classical and Romanian Studies and member of the Board of the Lund University Centre for Languages and Literature. He is Vice- President of the European Society of Modern Greek Studies.He has done research in the areas of the language and literature of the byzantine poetry, and of the renaissance poetry of Crete. Since 2015, he is the editorin-chief of the annual peer review journal Scandinavian Journal of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, which was published since 2002 under the title the Scandinavian Journal of Modern Greek Studies. The journal is a collaboration between the Modern Greek department in Lund and the department of Greek at Uppsala University. Dr Sabatakakis has worked on the etymology of words and he has written entries for Swedish encyclopaedias. He has translated Byzantine, Modern Greek and Cypriot literature to the Swedish language. What is the objective of the 6th European Congress of Modern Greek Studies? Τhe 6th European Congress of Modern Greek Studies is organised by the European Society of Modern Greek Studies (ESMGS), in association with the Department of Modern Greek Studies at Lund University in Sweden, and the Lund University, one of northern Europe's oldest universities which ranks among the world's top 100. We wanted to highlight the importance and specific weight of Modern Greek Studies at university level, in the aftermath of the crisis that Social and Humanitarian Studies undergo across European universities. At a time when entire uni- versity departments across Europe are being closed due to funding shortage or lack of teaching and scientific staff, our objective is to emphasise thedynamic of Modern Greek Language and Literature. To that end, the Congress offers the Departments of the European universities and the neo-Hellenists an opportunity to get together, talk and jointly outline a strategy for revitalising Modern Greek Studies at universities abroad. Such a Congress could only benefit our scientific field both at the level of teaching, in undergraduate and postgraduate programs, and at the level of research. The Department of Modern Greek Studies at Lund University, which has long acknowledged this issue, as it has suffered the effects of the sector's shrinking, co-organises this Congress with theEuropean Society of Modern Greek Studies (ESMGS), trying to provide an opportunity for discussion on this decline. We believe that it is high time we discussed in detail the future of Modern Greek Studies in Europe's universities having as a common ground our shared love and interest for our scientific field and its promotion. Which is the target audience of the Congress? The European Society of Modern Greek Studies is aimed at neo-Hellenists, and in particular young researchers, from a broad spectrum within Modern Greek Studies (linguists, philologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, theatrologists, historians, art historians, educational historians, sociologists, musicologists, political scientists, and those engaged in international relations studies, comparative and cultural studies). The 6th Congress' areas of interest (Greek language, Greek literature, Greek history and historiography, Mass and Social Media, theater and cinema, among others) promote the (comparative) study of the Greek world in the period from 1204 until the present day, within the framework of the general theme of the Congress. It is a European Congress in which all Modern Greek Studies Departments of the European Universities participate. However all the neoHellenists from all over the world are welcome. Neo-Hellenists from US, China and Australia will also participate in this Congress. The Lund University in Stockholm. The Department of Modern Greek Studies at Lund University is the only one left in the Nordic countries. Would you like to tell us a few things about that? Founded in 1666, Lund University ranks among the world's top 100 universities and is the leading university of Sweden. The Centre for Languages and Literature, which is part of the Humanities Faculty, was established a decade ago with a view to highlight and deepen the study of classical and modern languages and literature, as well as European and other studies. The Centre offers courses on more than 30 subject areas, employs about 250 employees, and has around 3,000 students. The Modern Greek Studies Department, which is now part of the Centre for Language and Literature, was founded in 1957. The first who taught in the Department was the neo-Hellenist Antonis Mystakides, who came from Romania. Mystakides inspired Scandinavians to study Modern Greek, leading to the creation of Departments at various Universities in the Nordic countries: Lund, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Oslo. Today all of the above have been closed, with the exception of the Department of Lund. In Copenhagen, despite many efforts of the academia (teachers and researchers), the Department was closed in December 2015. The Modern Greek Studies Department at Lund University is financed by the Swedish State, as is the case for all Swedish Universities. What is the Modern Greek Studies Department curriculum? The Department of Modern Greek Studies at Lund University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses both at the Centre for Language and Literature and online. The Department cooperates, under the Erasmus programme, with several Greek universities and has developed a six-year cooperation with the University of Jordan in Amman. Furthermore, the Department directs, organises, edits and publishes the Scandinavian Journal of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, which is a successor to the Scandinavian Journal of Modern Greek Studies. The journal is open for unpublished articles and book reviews related to Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies in the fields of philology, linguistics, history and literature. It is published in collaboration with the Greek and Byzantine Studies Department at Uppsala University and we welcome contributions not only from Scandinavian colleagues, but from scholars all around the world. * Nicky Psychari is the Head of Press and Communication Office of the Embassy of Greece in Stockholm - the interviews were edited by Florentia Kiortsi. ** Originally posted on Greek News Agenda, an online English language platform launched by Secretariat General of Information and Communication of the Hellenic Republic.
20 October 2018
3 November 2018