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Johns Hopkins University Inaugurates New Program for Bright Greek Students

By on October 10, 2013
CTY Executive Director Elaine Hansen, U.S. Rep. John Sarbarnes, Anatolia College President Panos Vlachos, Stavros Niarchos Foundation President Andreas C. Dracopoulos, Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels

CTY Executive Director Elaine Hansen, U.S. Rep. John Sarbarnes, Anatolia College President Panos Vlachos, Stavros Niarchos Foundation President Andreas C. Dracopoulos, Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. PHOTO: CHARLES BECKMAN

CTY Greece, a new partnership designed to challenge and engage bright, pre-college students from Greece, was lauded as an incubator of ideas and innovation that provides real hope for the future at a celebration of the program held this past September at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Created with a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, CTY (Center for Talented Youth) Greece is part of the foundation’s efforts to help relieve some of the serious consequences stemming from the financial crisis in Greece.

“We are big believers that in today’s complicated, and very demanding world we all need to work together in order to be able to improve our societies like the one in Greece suffering from the dire consequences of a prolonged economic crisis,” Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, told the audience. “Thanks to the Johns Hopkins CTY program, we at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation are very happy to collaborate on such an amazing effort. It can bring both certain relief and as important, real hope for the future, especially to youth, with CTY Greece becoming an incubator of ideas and innovation.”

The event celebrating CTY Greece drew 100 people, many of them prominent members of the region’s Greek American community. Other speakers included Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels, CTY Executive Director Elaine Hansen, Anatolia College President Panos Vlachos, and U.S. Rep. John Sarbarnes. Several local leaders of the Greek-American community attended the reception, including Aris Melissaratos, Anna Z. Pappas, Nick Larigakis, Deputy Mayor Kaliope Parthemos, Kostas Alexakis, Dr. Kostas Lyketsos and Dr. Vasili Koliatsos and George Petrocheilos.

Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins, praised the vision of the project and the commitment of its partners and thanked those present at the event and others who were unable to attend, including the Greek Ministry of Education. In his speech, Daniels evoked the Greek mathematician Archimedes, who once said “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth,” and noted that CTY, together with partners from around the world, provides both the lever and the place to stand

“We know, only too well, how critical this leverage is,” Daniels said. “In our increasingly interconnected world that’s buffeted by the strain of economic turmoil and political unrest, it’s more important than ever that we identify our most exceptionally talented young people and nurture their exceptional gifts by bolstering their abilities, engaging them early in intellectual problem solving, igniting in them a passion for the world of ideas. We’re not only laying a foundation for their success, but indeed ensuring our own. Whether they’re helping to transform Greece’s economy, create new art forms, or discover novel treatments for cancer, they are the next generation of thinkers and leaders who can and must grapple inventively and fearlessly with our most pressing concerns. For sharing this vision and our commitment to realizing it, we’re indebted to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, our partner Anatolia College, Congressman Sarbanes, and our many friends in Baltimore and Thessaloniki who are dedicated to moving the earth one CTY student at a time.”

George Petrocheilos, Andreas C. Dracopoulos and Aris Melissaratos

George Petrocheilos, Andreas C. Dracopoulos and Aris Melissaratos

Every year, more than 9,000 bright, pre-college students participate in CTY summer programs, which are held at 24 sites in the United States and Hong Kong on campuses ranging from Johns Hopkins and Princeton to Stanford and Berkeley. Another 13,000 students take CTYOnline courses annually, and more engage in family programs. Based in Baltimore, CTY draws extraordinary students from some 120 countries worldwide. The Center also partners with countries from around the world whose leaders seek to develop educational strategies to encourage creativity and innovative thinking among their future citizens.

“One of the most wonderful things about our international work is how it focuses the attention on something that is easy to forget: Under the skin, beneath the divisions and differences, human intelligence is a force that knows no geographical or linguistic or ideological distinctions,” said Elaine Hansen, executive director of CTY. “While not all high ability students learn the same way, there are common practices that develop talent in any culture – a curriculum and a pedagogy focused on inquiry, encouraging creativity and curiosity, rewarding engagement and collaboration, and giving the freedom to pursue ideas beyond the conventional certainties and limits to the very edge of what’s known. These are universal ways to discover and develop the leaders of the future.”

CTY Greece, which will be operated by Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, will open in summer 2014 and enroll more than 100 students who will be able to choose from 10 CTY courses. The program will identify and offer academically advanced students aged 7 to 18 comprehensive summer, online, and weekend programs. CTY Greece will feature challenging coursework, innovative teaching methods, and new academic experiences designed to foster a love of learning and encourage critical thinking skills.

“The creation of CTY Greece is a milestone in the history of the Greek educational system,” Panos Vlachos, president of Anatolia College, said. “It does not only address a long standing need, by providing unique educational opportunities to talented young people in Greece and the region, but also aims to educate teachers, parents and the society at large on how to pay close attention to exceptional talent.”

Training of CTY Greece instructors and staff began this summer, when faculty members from Anatolia College participated in CTY’s International Educators Institute in Baltimore before heading to a number of CTY sites in the U.S. to observe and co-teach courses in engineering, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and biology. Also this summer, 10 students from Greece studied at CTY’s Summer Program site at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Among these students was Georgina Kypriotaki, 15, who took a three-week course in the history of disease. Spending seven hours a day studying how diseases like leprosy, smallpox, and tuberculosis shaped society may seem like an unusual way to spend one’s summer vacation. But for Georgina, having the chance to learn and live on a college campus alongside other academically advanced students proved to be an invaluable experience.

“This has been such a great opportunity,” says Georgina, who lives in Crete. “Even though I go to a model school we don’t learn as much in a day as we do at CTY. I love having a roommate. I love staying on campus. And I love connecting with people from all over the world.”

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