NEW YORK – The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Institute of International Education (IIE), in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, invite Greek scholars to apply for the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program (GDFP). Selected fellows will have the opportunity to conduct research, mentor undergraduate and graduate students in research, and design new curricula, furthering collaborative academic exchange among Greek scholars worldwide. The program is exclusively supported by the SNF.
Greece experienced a wave of emigration in the wake of the global economic crisis of 2008, primarily among highly educated young people seeking to escape high youth unemployment levels. In the first years of this crisis, the youth unemployment rate was above 50 percent, and only fell below 40 percent as late as June 2018, according to the Greek Statistics Authority ELSTAT.
“One of Greece’s greatest assets is the extraordinary pool of talent, knowledge, and experience held by Greeks of the diaspora. Academic institutions in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa host a considerable number of Greek scholars, excelling in all fields, who want to contribute to education and research in their country of origin,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “At a time when resources at Greek institutions are scarce, the GDFP formally and more fully activates unofficial lines of collaboration with Greece that have always existed. It encourages a flow of top scholars into Greece to teach and work with students, conduct research, and develop programming, resulting, rather than in brain drain, in global intellectual circulation.”
Research collaborations conducted by GDFP hosts and alumni have resulted in academic journal articles, conference presentations, seminars, and workshops. Project topics ranged from developing computational tools for surgical planning to examining the social networks of Jewish Holocaust survivors. After the end of the fellowship terms, many alumni have continued to work with the institutions and scholars who hosted them in Greece. Nearly 90 percent of all fellows are continuing to collaborate on research projects with their counterparts at host institutions.
“While for most of these Greek-born scholars, myself included, moving back to Greece permanently may not be feasible, the opportunity to mentor graduate students, collaborate with research faculty, and create institutional partnerships that enable the bilateral mobility of students and faculty, is unparalleled,” said GDFP alumnus Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris, professor at Michigan State University. “In essence, this program is unique in that its very mission is like dropping a pebble into a calm pond and causing ripples that continue to expand.”
Aimed at strengthening connections among Greek academics and institutions globally, the GDFP has shown itself to strengthen research capacity at host institutions and build the professional networks of fellowship participants. In the first two selection cycles, the GDFP supported 49 fellowships, creating collaborative, mutually productive engagements between and Greek and North American academics and universities. In the new selection cycle, the program will continue its work with North American institutions, but will now also be open to Greek scholars living in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, broadening its global reach.
GDFP alumni from the first two selection cycles said that their GDFP experience stimulated new ideas for research, according to the 2017 IIE GDFP final evaluation report. The majority of alumni reported that they derived great personal value from the program by learning new ways to approach their research and develop curricula relevant to the Greek higher education system.
Applications from interested scholars and prospective host institutions will be accepted until July 31, 2019. Another application cycle will follow from August 15, 2019 to January 12, 2020. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is not involved in the review of applications or selection of participants in any way.