Columbia in Greece
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.
Beyond classics, archaeology, Greece oﬀers academic opportunities in climate, business, public health, education, economics, migration and integration, art and culture, and much more.
Climate change is of critical importance as it will have a profound impact on the health and well- being of the population, on agricultural production, tourism patterns, Greece’s coastline (with 90% of the country’s tourism infrastructure on coastal areas), and lead to an increase in energy usage.
With migration having reached unprecedented levels, much of it triggered by the eﬀects of climate change and economic and political instability, Greece has become the main point of entry for migrants heading toward Europe desperately seeking a better life, resulting in mounting asylum applications, an inadequate immigrant-detention system, and societal tensions.
The still-lingering impacts of the Greek and Eurozone ﬁnancial crisis oﬀer a unique case study in business and economics, and the entrepreneurial landscape that emerged from the crisis has slowly grown into a powerful economic force in the country. Global companies have already recognized Greece’s potential. As recently as October 2020, Microsoft announced its plan to build new data centers that will establish a Microsoft Cloud region in the country, adding Greece to the world’s largest cloud infrastructure footprint and delivering access to low-latency, enterprise-grade cloud services.
Athens is in the vanguard of the artistic avant-garde scene. In 2017, the contemporary exhibition German Documenta was co-hosted in Athens. The opening, in November 2019, of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation–with one of the most important private collections in modern and contemporary art internationally–and the re-opening of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, in February 2020, and of the National Gallery, in March 2021, have placed Athens ﬁrmly on the map of global artistic capitals, alongside New York, Paris, London, and Berlin. This is complemented by the presence of global private galleries that opened branches in Athens in the past few years.
Each of these thematic areas–as well as others such as engineering, technology, sports, health, education, ﬁlm, and politics–oﬀer opportunities to collaborate with other Global Centers around the world, allowing for diverse regional perspectives and adding vibrancy and nuance to the activities of the Athens Center.
The Greek higher education landscape has 24 public universities, located in all regions of Greece. The Athens Global Center will be able to tap into this rich network in order to oﬀer Columbia undergraduate and graduate students robust learning opportunities, academic engagement, as well as internship opportunities at Greek and Greece-based international organizations.