Boston.- Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who was awarded an honorary law doctorate by Tufts University on Sunday, told students that a culture mix in education was conducive to understanding political, social and economic problems around the world.
“The multinational environment fostered at Tufts, an environment where differences are understood and respected, broadened my perspective and gave me a wider view of the world, as I know it did for all of you,” Karamanlis told students and staff in the university’s keynote graduation address.
“The friendships and discussions I enjoyed here with young people of different races, religions, countries and economic backgrounds gave me a firsthand global perception of the political economic and social problems that still plague the world,” said Karamanlis during a visit to the USA that included a meeting with President Bush.
The premier, himself a graduate of Tufts in the mid-1980s, said his government intended to help turn southeastern Europe into a region of stability, cooperation, prosperity and peace, employing its privileged status as a member of both the European Union and NATO.
“To accomplish that task we will need the strong support of both the EU and the United States. We look forward to working closely with both to help bring a lasting peace to an area long known as history’s cauldron, a maelstrom of ethnic and religious strife for over a century,” Karamanlis said.
“Last year, Athens was the host city of the Olympic Games, which were founded in Greece in 776 BC and revived in Athens in 1896. Everyone predicted that we would not be ready and the Games were going to be a disaster, but we proved all the armchair Cassandras wrong by producing the most inspiring, the most creative and the safest Games in history,” he noted.
The premier said that a late president of the republic, Konstantinos Karamanlis, after whom the chair in Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies at Tufts is named, was a visionary who led the reconstruction of Greece after World War II and guided the country to full membership of the EU.
“It is the task of our generation to bring our country to the forefront of European development, to fully integrate our broader neighborhood into the European institutions and give all young people the opportunity to excel themselves. And, furthermore, turn our country into a center of education and culture to the benefit not only of Greece, but of all the peoples of the region,” he underlined.
“These are difficult challenges, and you will face tasks just as daunting in the fields you have chosen as a career. How can you do it with confidence and resolve? Your experience here at Tufts should help you, as it did me, because the other part of Plato’s definition of education -?learning to love what should be loved?- also characterizes this university,” the premier said.
Before the graduation ceremony, Karamanlis chatted to award-winning actor William Hurt, another graduate of Tufts.
– Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis welcomed strong ties between Greece and the USA, including the ethnic Greek community.
“We cannot forget the warm contribution of the Greek-American community, and the USA itself, to Greece throughout the 20th century. From the Balkan Wars to the Asia Minor catastrophe, the Great War to World War II,” said Karamanlis before a reception held for him on Saturday by the deputy governor of Massachusetts, Kerry Healey.
“From the economic support for post-war reconstruction to the close, effective cooperation we have today, cooperation that has greatly contributed to exceptional bilateral ties, as confirmed by my meeting with President Bush. We cannot forget our long-term strategic friendship with the USA”, Karamanlis said.
The prime minister added that he would welcome economic cooperation with the state of Massachusetts.