Onassis Public Benefit Foundation Speakers

Evdoxios Doxiadis

Evdoxios Doxiadis is Onassis Visiting Professor at the Center for Modern Greek Studies during the Spring semester, 2012, where he will be teaching three specialized courses in Modern Greek History: "Greece and the Balkans," "Venetians and Ottomans in Greece" and "From Glory to Debt: Greece from the 19th to the 21st centuries," which concentrates on the recent debt crisis from a historical perspective. He has previously been a lecturer at the International Center for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies where he has been teaching courses in Greek and European history since 2008. Prior to this, he was a Ted and Elaine Athanassiades Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University from 2007-2008. He received his PhD in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 2007. He has also occasionally taught at the   Center for Modern Greek Studies and the History department at San Francisco State University. His book, 'The Shackles of Modernity: Women, Property, and the Transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Greek State, 1750-1850', has been recently been published by Harvard University Press. 


Gail Holst-Warhaft

Adjunct Associate Professor of Modern Greek, Cornell University

Mid-October through mid-November, 2009

A specialist on contemporary Greek music and literature and the author of the books The Road to Rembetika and Mikis Theodorakis, Gail Holst-Warhaft was a visiting Onassis scholar at the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University mid- October though mid-November, 2009. Professor Holst-Warhaft lectured on Modern Greek poetry and music. Gail Holst-Warhaft was born in Melbourne, Australia, and has worked as a journalist, broadcaster, writer, academic and independent scholar. She was music critic and Greek correspondent for Nation Review from 1972-76. In the 1970’s, while carrying out research for two books about Greek music, she performed as a keyboard-player with Greece’s leading composers, including Mikis Theodorakis, Dionysios Savvopoulos, and Mariza Koch. She is an adjunct Professor at Cornell University where she directs the program in Mediterranean Studies at the Institute for European Studies and teaches courses on Mediterranean literature and music. She also co-teaches a course in the Cornell Law School on water problems in the Mediterranean. Among her many publications are Road to Rembetika (1975),Theodorakis: Myth and Politics in Modern Greek Music (1980), Dangerous Voices: Women’s Laments and Greek Literature (1992), The Cue for Passion: Grief and its Political Uses (2000), and I Had Three Lives: Selected Poems of Mikis Theodorakis(2004). She has published translations of Aeschylus, and of a number of well-known modern Greek poets and prose- writers, including Nikos Kavadias, Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, Iakovos Kambanellis, and Alki Zei. Her poems have been published in journals in the US, the UK, Australia and Greece. Her first collection of poems, Penelope’s Confession, was published by Cosmos Books (New Jersey) in 2008. She is co-editor of a forthcoming book on water in the Mediterranean (Losing Paradise:The Water Crisis in the Mediterranean:. Ashgate 2010).


Dr. Sotiris Mousouris

Former Assistant Secretary General to the UN

March 9, 2009

"Balkan Transformations: The View of the UN from Athens" Dr. Sotiris Mousouris was born in Greece in 1936. He attended the University of Athens and Harvard Business School (DBA, 1967). In 1966, Dr. Mousouris joined the UN working in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as an economist. During his time with the UN, he served as Assistant Secretary General heading departments such as Political Affairs, the Centre Against Apartheid, and the Office of the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Pakistan. After retiring from the UN, he was appointed president of the Organization for the Construction of the New Museum of Acropolis. This talk was generously sponsored by University Seminars Programs of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


Professor Yannis Phillis

Specialist in Environmental Studies, Technical University of Crete

October 14-16, 2008

"Biodiversity: The Park for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna in Crete." "Changing Climate: The Greek Experience." 1. BIODIVERSITY – THE PARK FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FLORA AND FAUNA IN CRETE Man is nowadays causing a large number of species extinctions. Species provide us with food, clothing, cover, medicines, materials, climatic stability, a stable atmospheric composition, and esthetic pleasure. Biodiversity in Greece is suffering from illegal building in protected areas, forest destruction, uncontrolled hunting, lack of law enforcement, and indifference, ignorance, and corruption by public officials. The speaker has created an 80-acre park in Crete for the sake of the preservation of flora and fauna, which currently is visited by thousands of people annually. Such initiatives among others are needed to preserve the endangered biodiversity of Greece. 2. CHANGING CLIMATE – THE GREEK EXPERIENCE We use energy all the time, mainly from nonrenewable sources (oil, natural gas, coal) for transportation, household functions, industrial/agricultural production, food production, recreation, tourism etc. A major byproduct of these processes is CO2 which contributes to global warming. Greece lags behind other European countries in renewable energy generation, forest protection, energy-efficient house building and enforcement of energy-saving policies. Actions are described that, when taken individually and collectively, will contribute towards stabilizing the earth’s climate. This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)



Professor Theodore Pelagidis

Professor of Economics, University of Piraeus

April 21 , 2008

"Comparing Administrative and Financial Autonomy of Higher Education Institutions in Seven EU Countries." In this lecture, Theodore Pelagidis investigated the correlation between autonomy (administrative and financial) with scientific output in 7-EU member-states. Specifically, he looked at the ability of universities to hire and reward their academic staff according to their own criteria, to select their incoming students and to freely determine the content of their academic program. He also examined if the universities have been granted sufficient policy discretion over the allocation of the funds that are put at their disposal. Subsequently, he examined if these administrative and financial autonomy are granted together with increased accountability, with regard to both financial and academic matters. He then briefly presented and analyzed evidence concerning the educational outcomes of the policy reforms implemented in the 7-EU countries under examination. He measured scientific outcome through publications per million of population and highly cited publications, and correlated them with academic freedom. He then constructed an index that measured the autonomy and accountability of the academic institutions. He also related public expenditure on R&D and academic performance as well as scientific output with labor market performance. "Expensive Living Under the Euro (with a focus on Greece)" Apart from its widely accepted direct advantages, the introduction of euro has been accompanied by a surge of inflation in most of the EU member-States. At the same time, wages of the unskilled in particular, are relatively losing ground while the purchasing power of the average European seems also to have weakened since the introduction of the single currency. In this lecture, Pelagidis dealt with five relevant central issues to interpret expensiveness in a southern eurozone state, namely Greece in particular. Despite the focus on Greece in this Onassis foundation lecture, most of the issues responsible for expensiveness apply to most of the eurozone countries. First, he examined to what extent recent inflation trends are attributable to the constraints imposed by Monetary Union, namely negative demand disturbances in certain Greek regions. Second, he investigated to what extent these patterns are also due to the adoption of the euro including conversion period effects- over domestic rigidities such as product market rigidities. Third, he investigated the impact of seasonal effects on inflation, in the context of the Greek so-called traditional petit-bourgeois capitalism. Fourth, he explored the extent to which unemployment is another factor that drives wages and purchasing power down. Fifth, he applied the Balassa-Samuelson effect to see whether it constitutes the culprit for non-tradable products price hikes in particular. He found that all the aforementioned factors contribute to the Greek expensiveness. This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)

Platon Mavromoustakos

Professor of Theatre Studies, The University of Athens

February 21, 2008

"Skene vs. Scena: Ancient Drama and Theatrical Space" "Who Are We to Ridicule These Men? Heritage and Innovation in Performing Ancient Drama in Modern Greece." "The Art Theater of Karolos Koun and Modern Greek Theater Practice" Platon Mavromoustakos is Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Athens, where he has been teaching since 1991. He received his Doctorate in Theatre Studies at the Institut d’Etudes Théâtrales, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris III, in 1987. He has collaborated with many state theatres in Greece and has directed several research projects on the history of Modern Greek theatre, the reception of Italian Opera and the history of ancient drama performances in Europe and Modern Greece. He has widely published including the study Theatre in Greece 1940-2000: A Survey (Athens: Kastaniotis, 2005) and is the General Editor of Moliere’s Complete Works in Greek. This public lecture was sponsored by the University Seminars Programs of the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


Antonis Kotidis

Professor of Art History, Aristotle University of Thessanloniki, Greece

May 2, 4 & 5, 2007

Two seminars and a public lecture on Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Greek Art "A Survey of the Art of the 19th Century in Greece (1840-1900)" "A Survey of the Art of the 20th Century in Greece: From Modernism to Post-Modernism" "Greek Art and National Identity: Issues of a Regional Reception of Modernism in the Interwar Period" Dr. Antonis Kotidis is Professor of Art History in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He studied History and Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and was awarded his Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Athens in 1982. He has studied Western art (from the Middle Ages to the present) at institutions, museums, private collections and art galleries in Europe and the USA. Among his publications are the books: The Painter Maleas(Thessaloniki, 1982), On Parthenis (Thessaloniki, 1984), Modernism and "Tradition" in the Greek Art of the Interwar Period (Thessaloniki, 1993), Greek Painting of the 19th century (Athens, 1995), Maleas (Athens, 2000), Alexis Barkoff (Athens, 2000),Post-War Greek Art:1948-2000 (Athens, 2000), Triantafyllidis: An Alternative Style in Painting of the Greek Thirties (Thessaloniki,2002). He has participated in collective editions, among others, the Greek edition of Rizzoli's Raphael (Athens, 1995), World Art Volume of the Educational Greek Encyclopedia (Athens, 1998), Tetsis (Athens, 1999), Dictionary of Greek Artists: Melissa (Athens 1997-2000), The History of Greek Nation: Ekdotike, XVI, (Athens, 2000), National Gallery, The Centennial : Four Centuries of Greek Painting (Athens, 2000). He has published numerous essays in art historical periodicals and freelance articles in the dailies I Kathimerini and To Vima. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of The National Gallery, Athens, and has served as Chairman and Vice-President of the State Theatre of Northern Greece. This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


Vassilis Colonnas

Professor of Architecture, University of Thessaly

April 25-27, 2006

Three lectures on Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Greek Architecture "Thessaloniki Before and After the Fire of 1917" "Urban Space in Cavafy's Poetry" "Greek Architects in the Ottoman Empire. The Case of Constantinople (19th-20th Centruries)" Professor Vassilis Colonas graduated from the School of Architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1979 and continued his studies in Paris, in the fields of monument restoration (Centre des Études Supérieures d’ Histoire et de Conservation des Monuments Anciens, 1979-81) and art history and museology (University of Paris I, 1979-1985), while at the same time working in the French Academy of Architecture (1982-1985). He earned his doctorate from the School of Architecture at Aristotle University in 1992. He has taken part in numerous academic conferences in Greece and abroad, and has published studies in Greek and foreign books and periodicals. He has been involved in the rehabilitation and restoration of historic monuments and complexes and won awards in related architectural competitions. He has worked in the fields of exhibition organization and museology, and has been a member of numerous research programs relating to the architectural heritage of the 19th and 20th centuries in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean countries. He has taught in post-graduate seminars at the Metsovion Polytechneion of Athens (1998-2001), Princeton University (1994, 1998) and the University of Crete (2000-02, 2005). Since 2002, he has held the post of Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Thessaly. In 1999 he was awarded the title of the Chevalier of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for his work on 19th-century Italian architects in the Ottoman Empire. His last book is a study of the Italian Architecture in the Dodecanese (1912-1943), (OLKOS Publications, Athens 2002). This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


Dr. Theodore Pangalos

Former Greek Minister of External Affairs and Former Greek Minister of Culture

March 13, 2006

"Cyprus and U.S. - Greek Relations" Dr. Pangalos lectured on the political history of Cyprus against the backdrop of U.S. - Greek relations, culminating in his perspective on the recent Annan Plan that has been proposed by the U.N. This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


Costas Gavras

Greek Filmaker

April 21, 2005

Costa Gavras is known for his rare talent to merge controversial political issues with the entertainment value of commercial cinema. Law and justice, oppression, legal/illegal violence, and torture are common subjects in his work, especially relevant to his earlier films such as Z. Costa Gavras is an expert of the “statement” picture, an art form slowly vanishing from the studios of cut-throat, capital-driven cinema. In the five decades of his career as writer and director, Costa-Gavras has explored some extremely difficult terrain. State of Siege (screenplay, 1973) concerns the systems of torture and violence present during the conflict between Uruguay’s government and the Tupamaro guerrillas in the early 1970s.L'Aveu (The Confession, direction, 1970) follows the path of Artur London, a Czechoslovakian communist arrested for treason and espionage by Stalin’s regime. A more recent work, Amen, (screenplay & direction, 2002) returns to the WWII story of Pope Pius XII, who refused to publicly condemn the holocaust despite repeated pleas from an SS officer, Kurt Gerstein. Costa-Gavras was born to a poor family in the village of Loutra Iraias, Arcadia. His family spent the Second World War in a village in the Peloponnese, and moved to Athens after the war. His father had been a member of the left-wing EAM branch of the Greek Resistance, and was imprisoned after the war as a suspected communist. His father's record made it impossible for him to attend university or emigrate to the United States, so after high school Costa-Gavras went to France, where he began his law studies in 1951. In 1956, he left his university studies to study film at the French national film school, IDHEC. After film school, he apprenticed under Yves Allegret, and became an assistant director for Jean Giono and Rene Clair. After several further positions as first assistant director, he directed his first feature film, Compartiment Tueurs, in 1965. Costa-Gavras was president of the Cinémathèque française from 1982 to 1987. This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


The Honorable Dimitris Avramopoulos

Former Mayor of Athens, Greece

May 9, 2003

"Cities' International Diplomacy" Mr. Avramopoulos studied Law and Political Science at the University of Athens and received his Masters degree in European Studies at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. He joined the Greek diplomatic corps in 1980 and served in a variety of distinguished posts. He became a special diplomatic advisor to the former Greek Prime Minister, Constantine Mitsotakis. He was elected mayor of Athens in 1995 and served in that capacity until the end of 2002. Mr. Avramopoulos is also the founder of the World Institute of Global and Cities' Diplomacy and the World Union of Olympic Cities. He is a member of numerous international organizations and has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors from many nations and institutions such as Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and The Vatican. Most recently he was a Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. This event was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)


Dimitris Tziovas

Professor of Modern Greek Studies and Director of the Center for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham (UK)

February 24-25, 2002

"From Community to Privacy: Greek Culture in Transition" "Self-identity and the Poetics of Manhood in Kazantzakis' Freedom of Death" "Literary Responses to Censorship: Seferis' 'On Aspalathoi...'" These lectures were sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA)