American College of Greece
February 12, 2018
Thank you Claudia and thank you David for inviting me here tonight to be a part of the dedication of this fantastic new facility.
This is the second time in a week I’ve had the opportunity to visit the American College of Greece and meet with your students and staff. My visits here underscore the importance the Embassy places on the relationship between our two institutions and on the wider goal we share of promoting the American system of tertiary education here in Greece.
To this end, the U.S. Government has long been a supporter of the American-affiliated schools here in Greece. The history of our support for education in Greece can be traced back to our desire to see Greece, and Europe as a whole, emerge from the devastation of the Second World War. Last year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, a clear symbol of that commitment. This year we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, which has provided opportunities for more than 5,500 scholars in the last seven decades.
Alongside the launch of the Marshall Plan, the U.S. Agency for International Development started its American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, or ASHA, program. Since its inception in 1947, ASHA has provided assistance to over 300 institutions in 80 countries through grants which have supported construction, renovation, and the procurement of scientific, medical, and educational equipment.
Here in Greece, ASHA has provided over $36 million to American-affiliated educational institutions, including more than $9 million was provided to the American College of Greece. These funds have gone toward a wide range of projects here at ACG, ranging from the construction of Pierce high school, the purchase of books and IT equipment for the library, to the renovation and outfitting of the Simulated Trading Room we are gathered to dedicate tonight.
This trading room is going to offer a unique educational tool for students of DEREE’s Business School and the ALBA Graduate Business School. The facility will serve as a laboratory and classroom which will replicate a real-world trading experience, providing students from Greece and the Balkans experience that they can use when they begin searching for jobs in financial services or banking.
Which brings me to two, quick final points I would like to make. When I was here last week, I was asked by a young DEREE student from Montenegro what could be done to attract more international students to Greece. Of course, having state-of-the-art facilities will go a long way to attracting the best and the brightest from the region, and beyond, to come study here in Athens. But having those facilities is only one part of the equation. The high-caliber staff that DEREE is able to recruit to teach is what draws students here in such large numbers.
And finally, to circle back to my original point about the long standing and deep commitment of the U.S. Government to promoting the model of American education here in Greece; let me be clear, this is in no way a rejection of the Greek system. As I meet with students and professors throughout the country, I continue to be deeply impressed with the level of scholarship and education provided by the Greek public university system. I strongly believe that both systems can coexist and complement one another. Having that mutual reinforcement is good for the students, for scholarship, and for Greece.
With that, let me say congratulations to the American College of Greece and I wish all those who study here in this new facility every success. Thank you.