The strengthening of the collaboration between Greek and US Universities was announced during the “Pharos Summit 2022: Greek – U.S. Collaboration in Higher Education” that took place in Greece from November 5th to 11th in the framework of the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) operating by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs in partnership with the International Institute of Education (IIE) since December 2019. The Greek government has been focusing in the last years on the internationalization of Greece’s higher education removing bureaucratic barriers and facilitating the academic and student mobility. Through proper legislation encouraging the opening of the Greek Universities, targeted partnerships with international institutions and the allocation of funding programmes the Greek Ministry of Education is trying to make Greece an attractive study destination.

In this context, representatives from 30 U.S. universities, the largest university delegation that the Institute of International Education has ever sent to a single country, came to Greece in order to reinforce existing partnerships but also explore new academic collaboration opportunities. Harvard, Yale, John Hopkins, Columbia, Tufts and Princeton are among the US Universities that participated in the U.S. delegation. The representatives from the U.S. Universities visited Greek Universities not only in major cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki (National Kapodistrian University of Athens, National Technical University of Athens, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) but also in islands such as Corfu and Rhodes (namely the Ionian University and the University of the Aegean respectively), participating in seminars and meetings.

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The academic representatives discussed the opportunities to develop joint and dual degrees, distance learning, summer programmes, academic and student exchanges, or other learning opportunities. The creation of joint research centers particularly in innovation domains such as Precision medicine or Environmental health is also on the agenda aiming to attract in Greece distinguished international or Greek diaspora researchers. Available funding from the EU Recovery Fund will equally attract more synergies with universities and research centers around the world.

These new opportunities to study and do research in a remarkably open Greece will certainly enhance the image of Greek Universities making the country a global education hub. At the same time international students and researchers that will chose to study and work in Greece will have the opportunity to cooperate with talented and distinguished academics, in an ever-growing hub for culture, ideas and innovation. Needless to say, Greece’s favorable conditions in terms of hospitality, weather, culture and food is adding value to the country as an attractive student destination.

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Two remarkable initiatives were announced during the Pharos Summit 2022. First, the creation of a Columbia Global Education Center in Athens (of New York’s Columbia University) was announced starting its operation in September 2023. A Global Center in Athens will offer the University a greater understanding and appreciation of key ancient, medieval, and modern Greece and the surrounding region. From classical antiquity and Byzantium, to contemporary culture and current challenges such as migration and climate change, Greece offers a unique opportunity for engagement across all levels of the University – for faculty, students, staff, and alumni. 

The second initiatiative has to do with the postgraduate student exchange program between the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA) and Yale University that will most likely launch within the current academic year. In this context, Greek students who will participate in the joint program will be exempted from paying tuition fees. As part of this new partnership, EKPA postgraduate and doctoral students will be able to take one-semester or one-year courses at Yale’s science, medical and environmental schools, which will count toward their degree.

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