Ambassador Tsunis Remarks at Pharos Summit Opening Ceremony

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

November 7, 2022

(As Prepared)

 Kalimera sas!

Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Minister Kerameus, Assistant Secretary Satterfield, President Goodman, Fulbright Director Zenetou, esteemed guests, it is an honor to join you for this opening ceremony of the Pharos Summit that highlights all of the great work the United States and Greece are doing to advance our people to people ties and shared education goals.

For the last several years, my team at the U.S. Embassy has worked closely with the Government of Greece, and the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs to support the internationalization of Greek universities.

The United States is proud to be Greece’s number one partner in academic cooperation, and the Pharos Summit further solidifies this outstanding partnership.

The U.S. government prioritizes this partnership at the highest levels and we see great potential for success across so many fields of endeavor.

This is why I am so happy to welcome our Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Lee Satterfield, who has made a special trip to help launch this summit.

The bilateral relationship between our two countries has never been stronger.  We were proud that the Government of Greece approached the United States to put together this summit – one of the most groundbreaking and significant projects to date in the realm of international education.

The United States and Greece are natural partners in academic internationalization.  We share democratic values.  We share the same foundations when it comes to education, democracy, social prosperity, and academic freedom.

The Pharos Summit is a major effort to further enhance student mobility and to strengthen and increase university partnerships.

We’re making history.  At the inception of this project, we anticipated a delegation of about 12 representatives.  But look around – this historic summit has attracted the largest university delegation that the Institute of International Education has ever sent to a single country.

We are so proud to welcome representatives from 30 U.S. universities to Greece.  Universities that represent the diversity and ingenuity of the U.S. educational model.  These universities are here today because they see the great potential that Minister Kerameus has unlocked.

It is clearer now than ever: U.S. universities are looking to Greece for the future.

The U.S.-Greece bilateral commitment to education is not a new phenomenon.  Greece hosts the oldest Fulbright Commission in Europe and the second oldest in the world.  Through this program, more than 6,000 Greek and American fellows have traveled to one another’s countries in the last eight decades to learn, to grow, and to serve as cultural ambassadors for our countries.

Just as I want to see more Americans studying abroad in Greece, I also want to bring more Greek students to the United States.  We want to see more students and academics moving in both directions.

When we internationalize our campuses and increase student mobility, we produce graduates who are better equipped for the job market.  In this way, increased educational collaboration between our countries increases employability.  That strengthens and creates opportunities for both of our economies.

Our educational collaboration will produce graduates in Greece who have U.S. experience.  This in turn strengthens the recruitment pool for U.S. companies in Greece and further incentivizes U.S. corporate investment in Greece.  It’s a virtuous cycle.

Our cooperation also helps build a work-ready labor pool for Greek companies seeking to invest in the United States.

By deepening U.S. and Greek academic ties, we will produce graduates who are ready to face global challenges together and effectively meet the demands of our rapidly changing world.

With that, I would like to congratulate Minister Kerameus for her leadership and her vision, and thank the Ministry of Education, the Institute of International Education, and the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, for bringing this delegation together!