Greek cultural minister supports effort
By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
NEW YORK.- The Center for Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies at Queens College seeks $1.5 million for a special fund in memory of the late Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Yiannos Kranidiotis, who died three years ago in a plane accident. The issue was raised at discussions that took place during last week’s visit at the Center by Greek Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos. The Center’s Director and Founder Professor Harry Psomiades, along with Queens College President Dr Jim Muyskens, provost Dr Evangelos Gizis and Chairman of the Center’s Advisory Council Christos Stratakis, were present.
“What we plan is not really a chair, meaning to hire a full-time professor, but a fund/chair,” Professor Psomiades told Greek News.
“We seek $1.5 million from donors, half a million from Greece, half a million from Cyprus, and we will raise half a million here. This money will give us about $60,000 a year from interest; and we will use this amount for conferences, publications, visiting professors and lectures, special lectures. Things that are important but the College cannot pay for. We have been greatly supported by the Onassis Foundation for the last six years, but that is on a yearly basis. We need something to give us roots. So with this fund, we will be able to plan ahead of time instead of wondering from year to year whether there will be funds.”
Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos told Greek News, “It is very important for Greece to participate in the new fundraising to organize a new chair at Queens College in memory of Yiannos Kranidiotis. I am absolutely committed to this goal, not only as Minister of Culture, but also for a substantial personal reason. Yiannos was a very close friend of mine.”
Professor Psomiades expressed hope that the Center will get some support from the Ministry, and he was pleased that Minister Venizelos has indicated it will be forthcoming.
“He was most particularly interested in what we do, not only in terms of our classroom work, but also in terms of our publications, journals. What impressed him was that this was a real center with a concentration and a bachelor’ s degree attached to it.
“He said that the Ministry is supporting a number of centers with collaboration with Greek Cultural Foundation and with other ministries.”
Speaking to Greek News, Minister Venizelos praised Queens College, the Center for Byzantine and Hellenic Studies and Professor Psomiades for offering this real academic center for the Greek-American community, which is a very important academic point for the government of Greece and especially the Ministry of Culture.
“The network of different centers and chairs of Hellenic Studies in the United States, Minister Venizelos said, is a very important project of our ministry because it offers the opportunity to promote not only the classical and Byzantine studies, but also studies of the modern Greek phenomenon including the transformation of the Greek economy and Greek society in the post-modern and digital era.”