Letter from Athens

Letter from Athens

As 2020 is coming to a close, we want to bring you up-to-date with news from Fulbright Greece and express our appreciation for your support and enthusiasm.
Now more than ever, in this time of uncertainty, Fulbright builds on its firm foundations, its standards of excellence, and its ongoing commitment to fairness, equity, respect, and inclusion, and continues to create opportunities for educational and cultural exchanges between Greece and the United States.

The summer and autumn have been quite busy for Fulbright Greece. The Covid-19 pandemic and the spate of lockdowns in the U.S. and in Greece have created numerous challenges for our grantees and for us. Our team has been working closely with the more than 60 Greek and U.S. scholarship recipients for the 2020–2021 academic year—students, scholars, researchers, teachers, and artists—to fulfill their grants safely and productively, either by moving online (for graduate students) and/or to hybrid programs, or by deferring to a later date.

The team of the Fulbright Greece EducationUSA Advising Center has helped countless prospective students explore their educational opportunities in the U.S. We enjoy hearing from our advisees and learning about their academic successes and personal achievements. Many have taken the time to tell us how important the Advising Center has been to their educational and professional journey.

In early October, approximately 100 U.S. universities participated in the Fulbright Greece Virtual University Fair, attracting more than 600 students interested in studying in the United States.  According to the Open Doors 2020 survey, published by the Institute of International Education, there has been an increase in the number of Greek students who choose to study in the U.S. as well as a growing number of U.S. students, scholars, and researchers who select Greece as an education destination. Greece is now ranked 12th globally among study-abroad destinations for U.S. students, with close to 6,000 American students studying in Greece during academic year 2018–2019. Fulbright Greece is pleased to contribute to this increase in educational and cultural exchanges through our outreach programs.

At a time when in-person exchanges are difficult, Fulbright Greece has launched Virtual Exchanges, a new initiative to enhance collaboration between U.S. and Greek academics for the benefit of their students. We kicked off the program in the fall of 2020 with a collaboration between North Dakota State University and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens that consisted of a series of lectures on Political Science.

The Art Supports Education program is growing stronger, with more than 30 Fulbright alumni artists participating to raise funds for the scholarship program. We are pleased to present the recently completed online catalogue featuring wonderful artworks and information on participating artists. We invite you to build an art collection and help raise funds for Fulbright scholarships.

Alumni are integral to the success and impact of the Fulbright Program. We continue to develop programs and activities that engage alumni in Greece, the United States, and other parts of the world where our alumni reside. We are pleased to expand the Mentor–Mentee program, which started more than a decade ago and was designed to help new grantees navigate their Fulbright experience. Mentors and mentees alike have found this collaboration rewarding, so we have introduced formal guidelines to create a more structured program.

In 2021, Greece will celebrate the bicentennial of the 1821 Greek War of Independence. To honor the occasion, current U.S. Fulbright grantee and Professor at New York University Yanni Kotsonis is collaborating with the Athens School of Fine Arts on the project entitled Five Empires and a New Nation: The Story of the Greek Revolution. Fulbright alumna and Gennadius Library Director Maria Georgopoulou is curating an upcoming exhibition entitled American Philhellenes and the Glorious Struggle of the Greeks. 

Next year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright worldwide program. Fulbright Greece takes pride in being the first Fulbright Program in Europe and the second oldest, continuously operating program in the world. Together with colleagues from around the world, we will examine Fulbright’s continuing, significant impact across all academic and artistic disciplines.

In these turbulent times, your support is especially important. The continuity and growth of the Fulbright Program would not be possible without the commitment and support of our donors and friends. While primary funding comes from the government of the United States, with help from the government of the Hellenic Republic, we are thankful for the many friends who help sustain Fulbright Greece. Fund raising—or, better yet, friend raising—is essential.

Stay safe and healthy.

Wishing you a New Year filled with Light and Goodwill,

Artemis A. Zenetou
Executive Director