On March 30, 2018 the Fulbright Foundation in Greece hosted a Spring Get Together at the Athens Centre. This event provided an opportunity for U.S. Fulbright Scholars and Students to learn from one another’s projects and look ahead to their goals for the rest of their grant terms. The event kicked off with a keynote address by Sophia Papaioannou, a veteran Athenian journalist and editorial director who described how Greece’s media landscape has shifted over the course of her career. She emphasized the need for politically independent journalism and encouraged young people to create new platforms for digital news content.
Papaioannou’s address was followed by project presentations from U.S. Fulbright Scholars, Distinguished Teachers and Students. Fulbright Scholars Dr. Eleni Katsarou, Dr. Kristin Jacobson and Dr. Matthew Matsaganis described the university they teach in addition to their research progress. Matthew Schueller, a Greece-Bulgaria joint grantee, presented his cross-Balkan archaeological research, while Distinguished Teachers Vincent Gray and Joseph Talarico explained how their studies of Athenian classrooms will inform their teaching practices in Atlanta and Washington DC, respectively. Sara Abdel-Rahim, Aaron Beck-Schacter, George Katehis, Vishtasp Soroushian, and Annalisa Galgano also highlighted some initial findings from their first six months of research.
Finally, 11 Fulbright-HAEF Fellows shared their experience of interacting with students of all levels at Psychiko and Athens Colleges. The fellows have not only worked to teach essential English speaking skills to students; they have also incorporated discussions about American culture and politics into their classrooms. For example, Rebecca Deutsch has used the novel To Kill a Mockingbird as a springboard for conversations regarding US current events. The Fellows have gotten involved in extracurricular endeavors with their students as speech and debate coaches, literary magazine advisors, and theater directors. In each of their classrooms and research fields, Fulbright Fellows are not only learning about Greek history and culture; they are also serving as American cultural ambassadors as they exchange ideas and perspectives with their students, colleagues, and friends.