The Modern Greek Studies program at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign managed to raise a total of 20,000 euros in a fund-raising event that was organized to support the program and helping it become a fully sustainable Department within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The event was organized by the Hellenic Studies Support Network – created by Modern Greek alumni students — as well as several Greek-American organizations in the wider area of Chicago. The aim of the “friend-raising” event was to support the Modern Greek Studies program, which is a way for non-Greek students to learn about the language and culture of Greece, but it also showcases the true meaning of Hellenism to the Greek community in the U.S.
In her speech, the Consul of Greece in Chicago, Ioanna Efthimiadou, thanked the organizers for their initiative to support the continuation and expansion of the program, which has existed since 2008.
She emphasized the importance of institutions that promote Greek culture and values, while supporting the Greek education and Greek language teaching in universities. “Give your children the chance to study the Greek language and express themselves through it,” she said.
Furthermore, the event’s keynote speaker was the program director, Stephanos Katsikas, who presented the program activities through videos and photos, showing the attendees about seminars, as well as study tours to Greece and Cyprus.
In 2008, the Modern Greek Studies program was created as part of the University’s Linguistics department. It is a small department with a limited budget. However, thanks to Dr. Stephanos Katsikas who managed to include eight full-time courses, students have the opportunity to receive a minor in Modern Greek.