American Hellenic Institute Foundation
AHIF is Accepting Applications for its Seventh Annual
College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus
June 17-July 3, 2015
Call for Applications
WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) is accepting applications for its travel abroad program aimed to help Greek American college students better understand the core foreign policy issues important to the Greek American community. The program is open to Greek American and Cypriot American college students who are in good academic standing and who are studying political science, international relations, history, government, law and foreign affairs. The trip is scheduled for June 17 - July 3, 2015.
During the two-week trip to Washington, DC, Greece and Cyprus the students will have the opportunity to see and experience first-hand foreign policy issues affecting Greece and Cyprus, their relations with the U.S., and the interests of the U.S. in the region. Although the schedule will be packed with briefings and meetings with officials, the students will also have free time to visit historic and other cultural sites in both Greece and Cyprus.
Prior to departure students will meet in Washington, DC to attend a mandatory briefing about their trip. They will also attend meetings and briefings with Greek, Cypriot and U.S. officials in Washington, Greece and Cyprus. Emphasis will be placed on understanding Greek-Cyprus-Turkish relations, issues affecting the southeastern Mediterranean involving Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
The program is open to undergraduate or graduate students (rising sophomores to second-year graduate students) with a full-time enrollment status (12 credit hours per semester), and have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA. Program size is limited, and participation is contingent upon acceptance by the program review committee.
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 conferences pertaining to our issues to educate and inform 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 at our college students to help them have 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.”
Cost and Accommodations:
Hotel accommodations, local transportation and most meals in Washington, DC, Greece and Cyprus will be covered by AHIF. The students will be responsible for the airline tickets from Washington to Larnaca, Cyprus and Athens, Greece and return to the United States (approximately $2,400). The AHIF has secured the services of a travel agency to ease with your travel needs and all arrangements will have to be made through this travel agency. Students will have to make their own arrangements to get to Washington. However, the travel agent will be available to help those that need assistance. Those who wish to extend their stay in Greece should contact the travel agent directly to make those arrangements and make a notation of the dates in the application form. Please note that the cost for an extended trip will be higher and additional form will be required to be completed and signed by you and your parents.
$500 Refundable Deposit
A $500 refundable deposit is required along with your application. You have the option to pay the deposit with a credit card or check payable to “AHIF.” Students selected for participation will have 5-business days to reply to the offer, before the offer may be made to other qualified applicants. Once you have accepted the offer the $500 check will be deposited. If you are not selected for the trip or if you cancel prior to the May 1st deadline, the $500 deposit will be refunded directly to your credit card or your check will be returned back to you. You will only lose your deposit if you were confirmed on the trip and accepted and later cancel. The $500 deposit will be returned to you after the evaluation forms and essays have been received by AHIF at the conclusion of the program.
Who is eligible?
The program is open to Greek/Cypriot American undergraduate or graduate students (rising sophomores to second-year graduate students) with a full-time enrollment status (12 credit hours per semester), and have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA. While students who are studying political science, international relations, history, government, law and foreign affairs would benefit the most other students who have a keen interest in US-Greek-Cyprus relations will also benefit from this program.
How to Apply?
Submit all the items listed below. All items must be received by April 15, 2015 to consider an application complete. Application review begins in January; priority is given to applications received by April 15; after April 15, applications are considered on a space-available basis. Students with an expired passport or who do not have a passport should not wait until they have been accepted to the program to renew or apply for a passport.
After we have received your completed application form with all the items listed below (including the $500 deposit), you will receive an email from AHIF confirming that your application is under consideration and asking you to provide us with a date/time to schedule a phone interview. The review committee will review your application and interview report and inform you of your status (acceptance, denial) shortly after April 15th.
Check List of items to be submitted by April 15, 2015:
Submitting the application:
Please send an e-mail to Yola Pakhchanian at [[email protected]] with the subject line AHI STUDENT TRIP APPLICANT: [Your Name]. In a single e-mail, please attach your documents as a Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files. The letters or recommendation and transcripts can be emailed directly with the subject line AHI STUDENT TRIP APPLICANT [Your Name].
ALSO, COMPLETED AND SIGNED Application forms and checks need to be mailed to:
AHIF Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus
How to make your travel arrangements?
Upon acceptance to the program a form will be emailed to you asking you to state the dates of travel and the cities that you will be traveling from. This form will be forwarded to the travel agency. The approximate cost for the round trip ticket from Washington, DC-Larnaca-Athens-back to the US is $2,400. There is an additional cost for those who pay by credit card. Those who wish to extend their stay in Greece should note that the cost for an extended trip will be higher.
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…
My experience on the AHI foreign policy trip was both enriching and life altering. The knowledge I gained and the experiences I encountered will help me so much with my future endeavors. The trip really made me feel as if I have a strong connection to Greece.
-- Alexandra Veletsis, a sophomore at the University of Miami pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a Spanish Language Minor.
Quite simply, the AHI Foreign Policy trip is invigorating. On our trip we had students that varied greatly on how connected they were to Greek culture…Regardless of where we started, by the end of the trip we all felt amazingly connected to our homeland. The trip inspires you to do more with what you were given at birth, your Greek identity. The people you meet are astonishingly important and the information you learn is extremely interesting. I would absolutely recommend this trip to anybody who wants to gain a perspective on how public policy, foreign policy or how Greece operates at any level. I will never forget what I learned on trip, the people I met and the memories I’ve created.
-- Evan Frohman a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Legal Studies and Economics at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois.
The AHI Foreign Policy trip provided an unforgettable experience which allowed valuable insight into foreign policy and government which would be impossible to attain from any book or lecture. The Greeks and Cypriots were incredibly warm and welcoming. To be able to learn and interact with others who share a passion for their heritage and gain incredible new friends while doing so was a part of the trip that will always be especially memorable.
The economic challenges facing Greece are well known, yet being able to observe firsthand allowed for an understanding I never expected. The time spent in Cyprus was especially insightful for me because prior to the trip I was only vaguely aware of the history and current problems of the country. I have always been proud to be Greek and now that I am more well-informed, I can share my newly acquired wisdom with others in order to help raise awareness.
I can’t say enough about what a fantastic experience AHI provides and all the good work Nick and the entire team do to raise awareness and advance issues that are important for Greeks, Cypriots and Greek Americans.
-- Matthew Moramarco a native of Andover, Massachusetts and a senior at the University of Arizona. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Development in the School of Geography and Development with a thematic minor in Management Strategies.
My time spent in Cyprus and Greece was an extraordinary learning experience. The knowledge that I have gained about the Cyprus conflict and the challenges Greece faces, paints a clear picture of the disparity the Hellenic people have been forced to endure. I enjoyed having direct communication with politicians and high-profile government officials, asking them questions about their policy initiatives and predictions about their country’s future…
Having had meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in both Cyprus and Greece, the American ambassador to Cyprus, the President of the House of Representatives, and many more, I understand the role I have to pursue as a Greek American and serve as a voice for my extended family and friends in Greece and Cyprus both in my community and in Washington. Additionally, this experience has enhanced my affinity toward my Greek culture; the more I learned each day the stronger I felt about making a difference to embrace a moral obligation. Looking forward after the AHI Foreign Policy trip, the personal development I have garnered was priceless. I will continue to be a leader in my Greek community, the Hellenic Society on my Villanova University’s campus and praise the rich heritage that I carry.
-- Paulina Likos a junior at Villanova University pursuing a double major in Political Science and Spanish with a concentration in Communication.
The AHIF student foreign policy trip gave me the opportunity to study the foreign policies of the United States, Greece and Cyprus firsthand. Travelling to Washington DC, Cyprus, and Greece, and meeting with government officials, private sector organizations, and other individuals such as professors and journalists allowed us to gain insights into the current and past issues concerning each country. I especially enjoyed that we were encouraged to ask questions at the meetings and that those questions turned into lively discussions…As a Greek American, I value my education and feel very grateful to have had such an opportunity to learn about the political spheres of the United States, Greece, and Cyprus, and how their foreign policies fit into a more global context. I hope to use the knowledge that I gained in a meaningful way in the international community.
-- Christiana Metaxas is a junior pursuing a double-major in Linguistics and French at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
The AHI Student Foreign Policy trip was a unique experience unmatched by any other program. The sheer amount of influential people who briefed us on policy matters in both Greece and Cyprus was incredible. The meetings that we had were a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity, one that could never be bought with money. These important officials all took time out of their busy schedules running the government, military and businesses to have long, thought provoking discussions with Greek American students on important policy issues. The official meetings were not the only luxury afforded to us; we also visited many important sites, toured the beautiful landscapes of Greece and Cyprus, and were welcomed with extreme hospitality that made it one of the most fun trips of my life. This program provided me with one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Visiting the Turkish-occupied region of Cyprus really brought home how devastating the invasion and continued occupation of the island is till this day. The amount of destruction, desecration of Orthodox churches, and forced upheaval was shocking, and the atrocities committed there have yet to be resolved. In Athens, however, we experienced a more positive note as officials and citizens alike had a fever to them that the economic crisis in Greece was reaching its end and that the road to recovery was beginning. Overall, this program has helped to make me a stronger advocate for a solution to the problem in Cyprus and stronger U.S.-Greek and U.S.-Cypriot relations. It also helped to strengthen my knowledge in international relations and will help with my future career. I would highly recommend this program that AHI so generously provides.
-- Peter Milios is a junior at Florida State University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in both International Affairs and Political Science with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies.
The American Hellenic Institute Foreign Policy trip was one like no other. It was experience I would never trade anything for. I learned and gained so much knowledge about issues that I did not know much about but are very near and dear to my heart now as a Greek American. AHI and Mr. Nick Larigakis gave us an opportunity to go to Cyprus and Greece and see things that were just absolutely incredible and went to places that I probably will never be able to go again and met and spoke with people and high officials that was also incredible. Along with being able to go to amazing places and meeting incredible people this trip brought me 8 new amazing friends and we were able to make so many memories on this trip. It was definitely a trip that I will never forget.
-- Tiffani Wills, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, majoring in Psychology.
I specifically remember being on the beach in Famagusta with the Dead City behind us, all yellow and cold, and people laying down on the beach sun-tanning. I didn't even have to take a picture because I was shocked at the site…The Dead City still seemed alive somehow with the memories the Greek Cypriots had in these buildings and streets and that is something no one can ever take away…
We also had the privilege of meeting the President of Greece, Mr. Papoulias. This was something I never thought I would get to experience…
The farewell dinner hosted by AHI, gave the students as well as other members to hear about our experiences of the trip with a few words. At the end of the day we learned that politics do matter but that trying to help others who need it, matters even more. I thank AHI, not only for giving me an opportunity to learn and meet people who are trying to make a difference in the world, but for also giving me even more of a reason to come back to Greece and make a difference for my people.
-- Zacharo Diamanto Gialamas a rising senior at the George Washington University, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Creative Writing.
American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc. (AHIF), established in 1975, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt educational and research organization devoted exclusively to the study of the issues confronting the Greek American community. From our Hellenic House headquarters, just steps from the White House, AHIF’s professional staff works to advance the best interests of the U.S. on issues of importance to Greek Americans.
For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.
2015 Foreign Policy Study Trip