American Hellenic Institute Foundation
AHIF is Accepting Applications for its Ninth Annual
College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus
June 21-July 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) is accepting applications for its leading travel abroad program the AHIF College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus aimed to help Greek and Cypriot American college students better understand the core foreign policy issues important to the Greek American community. The trip is scheduled for June 21 - July 7, 2017.
During the two-week trip, the students will have the opportunity to experience first-hand foreign policy issues affecting Greece and Cyprus, and the interests of the U.S. in the region. Prior to their departure, students will meet in Washington, DC where they will attend meetings and briefings with officials at Greek and Cypriot embassies, the State Department, Congress and think-tanks.
While in Greece and Cyprus the students will attend briefings with officials at the American embassies; various ministries, including Foreign Affairs; military; members of Parliament; religious leaders; think-tanks, and members of academia and the private sector. In Cyprus, the group will visit the Turkish-occupied area, receive a guided tour of old Nicosia Airport-UNFICYP in the demilitarized zone, and take a day trip to Paphos and Ayia Napa. While in Greece, they will participate in a day trip on a private boat and an exclusive tour of the Karaiskakis Stadium, the home stadium of Olympiacos FC.
AHI President Nick Larigakis will lead the group to Greece and Cyprus. “Since its inception AHIF has promoted a better understanding of Hellenic issues and strived to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and the United States and Cyprus,” he said. “Over the years we have held conferences on the future of Hellenism in America, and seminars pertaining to our issues and for the purpose of educating and informing U.S. policy makers. Through the College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus we are now able to offer a hands-on experience aimed giving college students a better understanding and connection of the issues that affect our community and better prepare them to be responsible leaders of the Greek American community.”
Although the AHIF does not have the capacity to provide academic credit, students can enhance their degree by doing so independently through their universities. Past trip participants have met with their academic advisors to obtain course equivalency approvals for major, minor, general education or other degree requirements as well as scholarships or funding possibilities provided through the university. We will be happy to complete any forms necessary to assist you with this process.
The program is open to undergraduate students (rising sophomores) and to graduate students with a full-time enrollment status and a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA. Students with a keen interest in US-Greek-Cyprus relations and policy challenges facing Greece and Cyprus will benefit from this program. Program size is limited, and participation is contingent upon acceptance by the program review committee. Our program operates on a rolling admission basis beginning in January; priority is given to applications received by March 31, afterward in a space-available basis.
Cost and Accommodations:
Hotel accommodations (McLean Tyson’s Corner Hilton, McLean, Virginia; Hilton Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus & Grande Bretagne, Athens, Greece) as well as most meals in Washington, DC, Greece, and Cyprus and transportation to and from the hotels, airport, excursions and meetings will be covered by the AHIF. Upon acceptance to the program, students will be responsible for purchasing their airline tickets. The approximate cost for the round trip ticket from Washington, DC-Larnaca-Athens-US is $2,400. All airline tickets must be purchased through a travel agency secured by AHIF. Those who wish to extend their stay in Greece should note that the cost for an extended trip will be higher.
All application materials are to be submitted together in one package by March 31:
*The $500 deposit will be returned to you after the evaluation form and 650-word essay have been received by AHIF at the conclusion of the program. No refunds will be given if you cancel after May 15.
Phone interviews are an integral component of the trip application. Applicants who have submitted all of their paperwork will then be notified by email that they have qualified for the interview, which is the next phase in the process.
Submitting the application:
All items must be received by March 31, 2017. Your application will not be reviewed until ALL items are received (including the $500 deposit). Application review begins in January; priority is given to applications received by March 31; after March 31, applications are considered on a space-available basis.
For more information about previous trips and the students’ experiences, please click the links below:
Photographic slideshow created and produced by 2015 participant Orlando Economou.
For more information about previous trips and the students’ experiences, please click the links below:
For more information contact Yola Pakhchanian at [email protected].
Student Testimonials and Reflections…In their own words…
The two weeks I spent in Cyprus and Greece were some of the most memorable and educational in all my life. I can’t think of another program that would’ve given me such an in-depth knowledge of these two tiny countries that often get pushed aside. Boston University, where I study history and international relations, offers neither classes on the modern history of Greece nor the history of Cyprus. The trip offered by the AHI is really a once in a lifetime experience that offers the chance to meet people and have experiences that would have been unthinkable otherwise.
The most memorable experience would have to be the visit to the occupied area of Cyprus. It is the best example of something I never would’ve seen if it weren’t for this trip. It’s one thing to sit at a table with a government official and have them tell you what goes on in the occupied area. It is a completely different thing to go there and see the abandoned cities and desecrated churches yourself. It wasn’t until that visit that I truly started to care about issues I previously thought unimportant.
—Allie Martin is a sophomore at Boston University in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts in History and International Relations with a focus on foreign policy in Europe as well as a minor in Modern Greek Studies.
As a proud Greek American with a strong love for both my Hellenic culture and my American citizenship, this was a transformative trip. AHI quite literally opened doors for us to witness the horrendous wrongs still committed due to the ongoing occupation of Cyprus, and the frustration faced by the Hellenic Armed Forces by daily Turkish invasions of their airspace and Exclusive Economic Zone. This trip armed me and the other participants with the knowledge to speak intelligently for these issues at our universities and communities. I hope to use the knowledge and experience I gained from this trip, and the skills I learn in law school and to weave advocacy for my heritage into my career. While I do not yet have a specific plan for how I might do this, right now being a successful student and a strong attorney is the best way I can use my talents to help bring solutions for these concerns both now and in the future. At our meetings, we were introduced as new “ambassadors,” a word that I believe accurately captures the mission of the trip. I am very grateful to Mr. Larigakis and AHI for this unparalleled opportunity. I hope the investment AHI made in me this summer is not wasted, and that I can be a worthy “ambassador” now and in the future.
—Anastasia Kourtis graduated magna cum laude from Boston University in May 2015 with a B.A. in Classical Studies and Anthropology, and a minor in Modern Greek. During her time at BU, Anastasia served as founding Vice President and President of the Boston University Philhellenes, a student organization with a mission to promote the ideals and appreciation of Hellenism, both ancient and modern, within the BU and greater Boston communities. Anastasia will attend Boston College Law School in the fall.
I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in the AHIF Foreign Policy Trip. Not only did I have the chance to meet and learn from various leaders and experts, but I left the program far more knowledgeable about the issues pertinent to the Greek American community. Furthermore, I now have the confidence to speak and debate openly about these issues.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this trip for me was when I was able to visit Cyprus, the land of my grandparents, for the first time. As an American, it was previously very hard for me to fully grasp what it would be like to have an invading force on your land or to have to be a refugee in your own home country. Visiting the occupied area brought this, as well as the stories of my grandparents, to life. Overall, I am deeply thankful for having had the chance to participate in the AHIF Foreign Policy Trip, and I am passionate about helping to fight for the issues facing Greece, Cyprus, and the Diaspora.
—Anastasia Matiatos, an Honors student at the University of Arizona, is double majoring in "Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law" and "Fine Arts" with minors in Classics and Spanish.
I came on this trip not knowing what to expect. I am pleased and honored to have been a part of it. This trip has been such a great learning experience for me on so many different levels. Not only was I able to reconnect and learn more about my culture, but I was also able to become informed on the different social, economic, and political issues that go into foreign policy making. The experience I had on this trip was incredible; the things that we accomplished were so great I will never be able to forget them. The meetings the American Hellenic Institute gave me access to were so informative and special, I have no doubt that I would not have been able to learn as much as I did without the high end clearance that they provided everywhere we went. This program is really special not only for foreign policy majors but also for any student with a passion for Hellenism and the desire to learn more about the issues that affect Greece and Cyprus. I am blessed to have been a part of this trip, and I am incredibly grateful to the American Hellenic Institute for allowing me to come along for this journey.
—Arthur Dedoulis is a rising sophomore at the Catholic University of America pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Busch School of Business and Economics.
The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) has changed my life by taking me on this trip. Before leaving for Cyprus and Greece, I was just a Greek American with little insight on issues happening in my homeland, only hearing the occasional news report about Greece’s troubles. I had no idea of the depth and amount of the issues, and I knew barely anything about Cyprus. But now, having experienced and been exposed to the gravity of the international affairs in that section of the world, I have a completely new perspective about Greece and Cyprus. I was able to meet with so many high ranking officials who gave us the complete view of their experience in the government, military, or religious sphere. This is a trip of a lifetime, one that a college student would otherwise never even dream of; one that I know my peers would die for. Although I was not a foreign policy major, I was able to learn about the issues through the perspective of a social justice advocate and a Greek-American. I cannot express my gratitude to AHIF for making this trip possible. I am very excited to go back to my university and share what I learned with my peers and to hopefully bring the issues some much needed media and discussion by the future leaders of the world.
—Eleni Papageorge is a sophomore at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is double majoring in Speech Pathology & Audiology and Psychology, and minoring in Deaf Studies.
No person—Greek, Cypriot or American—can have the same access to the diplomats, experts, officials as we did through the American Hellenic Institute. This is truly a unique experience as any individual who wishes to gain insider knowledge in Southeastern Mediterranean affairs and policy will have a first-hand account plus a life time of memories.
—Jack Dulgarian is a senior at the University of Arizona earning a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with emphasis in International Relations and minors in Business Administration and Classics/Modern Greek.
I have no doubt that the American Hellenic Foreign Policy Trip is one that all collegiate students will gain tremendously from in one-way or another. I went into the trip with little confidence in the role that I could play as an advocate for these issues. However, the trip and all the opportunities it provided, allowed me to realize the importance of my role as a Greek American. Discussing and seeing these issues first hand gave me the passion and confidence that I can bring what I learned to America and its Greek American communities. The AHI foreign Policy Trip taught me to be both proud and displeased with America, Greece, Cyprus, and their current relations. The experience instilled a passion in all of us to want to advocate for these issues.
Thanks to the American Hellenic Institute for bringing me closer to my country far from home. But most of all, I’m thankful that this program instilled in me a greater passion for the “rule of law” between all countries.
—Kaliopi Batistas is a sophomore at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is a prospective Global Development Studies major.
The AHI foreign policy student trip exposed me to sides of Greece and Cyprus I had never seen before, and allowed me to see these countries through the eyes of not a tourist, but a young diplomat. It brought me closer to my heritage through visits to historical sites, meetings with top government officials, and lifelong friendships among my peers and group leaders. It reminded me that we as young people have a responsibility to not only the people we met, but to ourselves, to spread awareness. We need to take a stand for what is just, especially with the power we hold not only as Greeks, but as visiting Americans. In my opinion, the AHI foreign policy student trip is the ultimate embodiment of the word philotimo; in other words, loyalty to one’s people, and a deep desire to do right. There are many issues in Greece and Cyprus that will still take years to resolve; however, by using our newfound experiences, educating, and encouraging more Greek American millennials to get involved regarding Greek and Cypriot affairs, I am confident that we can shorten the time needed, reach solutions sooner, and ultimately find peace.
—Kelly Kollias is a sophomore at Tufts University studying English with a minor in Media Studies and a minor in Business.
The opportunity to attend the AHIF Foreign Policy Trip to Greece and Cyprus is one which I feel so fortunate to have been given. Being able to meet, speak with, and question officials of the Cypriot, Greek, and American governments is an experience which is not available to so many individuals - the access to such senior officials was simply unparalleled - and having partaken in this program has given me knowledge and information regarding a variety of issues facing Cyprus, Greece, and the Cypriot and Greek American communities, as well as the U.S. and the American community at large.
One visit which struck me was our visit to the occupied Cyprus, specifically Famagusta and the edges of Varosha. To see so many people going about their daily life in such close proximity to bombed-out buildings and a deserted city was eerie, and the constant presence of the Turkish military only added to that feeling. But most importantly, having the chance to be the first person in my family to go to the occupied territory since before the invasion was eye-opening for me and my family as I was able to share my photos and experience with them.
—Matt Kokkinos is a junior double-majoring in International Affairs and Political Science at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Beginning in August, Matt will work for the European Public Law Organization in Legrena, Greece until December, where he will be supporting the organization in developing and promoting environmental, human rights, and comparative law initiatives and policies.
One word that perfectly summarizes my experience during the AHI Foreign Policy College Student Trip to Greece and Cyprus is “enlightening.” I am currently enrolled in the University of Miami's Master’s Program in International Administration. I frequently took courses where we received lectures, read material, and wrote research papers on security issues the world over. The AHI Foreign Policy College Student Trip gave me practical experience in these matters; practice that very few people in the midst of their studies receive.
I got to meet and discuss policy issues with ambassadors, admirals, generals, and even the President of Greece. The other delegates and I did not just meet with these esteemed individuals in nondescript offices. We held meetings in such locales as at the two American Embassies, Salamis Naval Base, the various bases in Souda Bay, the Old Royal Palace, just to name a few. These individuals not only opened their minds to us, but they frequently would open their hearts to as well they would make regularly make jokes and talk about their personal lives. I holistically learned about foreign policy from true difference makers, all while being in stunning settings. The AHI Foreign Policy College Student Trip enhanced my understanding on foreign policy; an understanding that will enhance my education and my future career prospects.
—Philip Bachas Daunert is currently enrolled in the University of Miami's Master’s Program in International Administration.
For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.