Ambassador Pyatt’s remarks at the American College of Greece

Alumni Association Pita Cutting Event
Grande Bretagne Hotel
February 20, 2019; 8.00 p.m.

Thank you, Panayiotis.

Kalhspera sas. Kali Xronia!

It is a real thrill for me to be here with you tonight.

And it’s always a pleasure for me to visit with the alumni of the American College of Greece and to see firsthand how the experience of an American education has shaped all of your lives and perspectives.

I want to take a minute at the beginning of this evening, because I wasn’t able to do so earlier to acknowledge the passing of Dr. Bailey and to honor his legacy as the former President and Chancellor Emeritus of the American College of Greece. During his 33-years as President of ACG, Dr. Bailey was a source of inspiration for the generations of students who benefited from his guidance and leadership, and for the broader educational community in Greece. Under Dr. Bailey’s leadership, the American College of Greece grew to become one of the most distinguished educational institutions in this region, and with Dr. Horner today at the helm, it continues to grow and thrive.

One of the key pillars of the U.S.-Greece relationship is our people-to-people ties which are built on the foundation of education and educational exchanges – you are a reflection of these ties as graduates of ACG.

The U.S.-Greece relationship over the past year has experienced several high points with the success of the Thessaloniki International Fair – where all the American institutions of education in Greece had a presence, and subsequently with the launch of the U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue in December. Greece was represented at the Strategic Dialogue in Washington by the Ministry of Education’s Director General for international exchanges who committed there to continuing to strengthen our educational connections. Indeed, tomorrow I will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Katrougalos and officials from a broad range of Greek government agencies as we discuss how to move ahead concretely on the foundation that we laid in December, and people-to-people educational issues will be an important part of that conversation.

We also addressed in Washington the longstanding concerns over the lack of recognition of degrees from educational institutions in Greece like Deree. I’ve raised this issue on numerous occasions with the Minister of Education and he’s indicated that he is working hard on finding a solution, but rest assured, the U.S. Government will continue to raise this matter (inaudible) until it’s resolved.

On a positive note, I want to announce how excited we are to move forward with the support of the Ministry of Education on the launch of a new education exchange program – the Future Leaders Exchange Program, or FLEX. FLEX will provide scholarships for ten Greek high school students to study in the United States for a year–a truly transformative opportunity.

The FLEX program will give more Greek high school students the chance to experience a U.S. education –just as you have done at the American College of Greece – and to let them share those experiences upon their return to the country.

So as we look forward to this New Year, we are confident that we will be able to continue working with all of you and to build our incredibly strong foundation for U.S. educational and cultural exchanges. I want to wish you all every success and of course–
Happy New Year, Kali Xronia!