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Birthright Program Reawakens Hellenic Connection

From the moment their airplane landed in Thessaloniki, Greece, the participants of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation's Hellenic Birthright program have expressed excitement and amazement for the opportunity to experience their ancestral birthplace.  Greece has been nothing short of breathtaking,” says Alexa Moulakis, a junior at Loyola University in New Orleans, who comes from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  For Anna Colby, who is a Music and Ethnic Studies major at Azusa Pacific University in Hawaii, being a participant is a long-awaited dream come true.  She has been dreaming of visiting Greece since she was 12 years old.


                     2012 Hellenic Birthright students in front of the Parthenon for the first time  


Hellenic Birthright, the Foundation's newest program created in collaboration with the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), is a five-week cultural enrichment and study-abroad experience for college students who have never been to Greece.  “We created Hellenic Birthright because we discovered that many Greek American college students have never visited Greece,” says Chris Tomaras, Chairman of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation.  Hellenic Birthright gives these young people the opportunity to explore their ancestral roots and strengthen their connection to Hellenism,” continued Tomaras.


In the past three weeks, participants have taken excursions to Athens, Delphi and Corinth.  They have also toured the city of Thessaloniki and seen the ancient ruins of Pella, Vergina and Miesa, where Aristotle established his school. As students study about Alexander the Great in one of the two accredited courses offered by the American College of Thessaloniki, participants are able to connect their studies with their visits.  Dimitrios Roumeliotis, an International Business and Finance major at Georgetown University says he is looking forward to “learning more about the leadership and military prowess of Alexander the Great through a Greek perspective” after having visited Pella and Vergina. The ruins at Delphi have also made an impression as many students have expressed that it is one of their favorite sites, thus far.


     Acropolis Museum, Athens           Olympic Stadium, Athens           Ancient Site of Delphi

Last weekend, an group excursion to Corfu seemed to bring out the participants' appreciation for Greece's natural wonders. “I have fallen in love with the beauty of Greece,” says, Evanthia Arianas from Wood Dale, Illinois, who is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  “The beaches are absolutely breathtaking. It is a priceless experience,” continued Evanthia.


Participants have also expressed their gratitude to the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation and donors for making this trip possible.  Anna Colby's comment sums it up best. “I was hit with an encapsulating gratefulness—to God, my family, and to the donors who made it possible for me to be in the land of my ancestors.”  The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation expresses its gratitude to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the many donors who have supported Hellenic Birthright. THANK YOU!


For more information on the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation please visit our website and join our mailing list, or call (312) 357-6432.