Photo: Mariza Kapsabeli SNFCC
The two-day Forum on April 26-27, 2018, was organized by Fulbright Foundation in collaboration with the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens) and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center to celebrate Fulbright’s 70 years of academic and cultural exchanges between Greece and the United States.
Academic leaders and Educators from K-12 and Higher Education institutions joined leaders from the business world for two days of critical discussion about the kinds of learners the world needs today and whether academic institutions are preparing their students for the challenges of our rapidly changing world.
The Forum highlighted the importance of developing educational systems designed to enable students to become productive, responsible, civic-minded global citizens, ready to contribute proactively to societies in transformation.
Keynote Speakers included Allan Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education, and Edward Burger, President and Professor at Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.
Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education, in Greece - What does the Odyssey teach us about Fulbright?
As far as I know Homer has given us the first account of the transformative process of study abroad. For many, like Odysseus, it is not initially a willing journey. Nor for his son Telemachus who goes in search of his father. Both needed a push and a mentor. Mentor, of course, is the form Athena takes when she counsels each.
Odysseus “learns the minds of many distant people,” or as another Odysseus (Elytis, who was also a State Department grantee), put it when he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979 the importance of following “an open path... towards that which surpasses us.” Seeking and acquiring that kind of knowledge is perhaps more important than ever, as the world we share becomes more polarized. It is also key to mutual understanding since it places a high value on opening one’s own mind to different ways of reacting and thinking. Indeed, as knowledge becomes so specialized, and often confined to a single campus, city, or country, both poets remind us that we should seek it expansively and in all its differences. And that to have minds open to the world, you cannot do this by staying home or glued to an iPhone.