Students from the Hellenic Academy visit the Research Center

On Saturday, February 24, 2024, the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center (AMPHRC), in the city of Chicago, hosted thirty-three students and four educators from the “Greek American Academy” of Deerfield. The group was welcomed to the Center by its president and founder, George Mavropoulos.

 

During his address to the group, Mr. Mavropoulos emphasized that the Center’s mission is to offer its well-developed educational program to Greek schools in the state of Illinois. Mr. Mavropoulos noting, “Our educational program informs and educates teachers and students about the glorious history and ultimately about the Great Catastrophe of Hellenism in Asia Minor, Pontus, and Eastern Thrace”.

 

The program began with educator Yannis Konstantinidis, whose introductory presentation covered the Greek presence in Asia Minor and Pontus from ancient times. His remarks also covered a brief timeline of colonization from 1500-1200 BC, and the development over the centuries until the final uprooting of Hellenism from its ancestral homelands in 1922-1923.

 

The next presenter was educator Ms. Anastasia Spyridi-Skoupas, a junior high school teacher and a former President of the Pontian Association of Chicago. Ms. Spyridi-Skoupas also is a member of the Center’s Board of Directors. Ms. Spyridi-Skoupas has for many years organized and participated in a variety of workshops and seminars devoted to the history of the Greeks of Asia Minor. Addressing this group of attentive students, she noted, “Today you will learn about the achievements of the most renowned Greeks of Asia Minor, who contributed to Philosophy, Mathematics, Physics, and generally to culture. Unfortunately, a hundred years ago, the three-thousand-year continuous presence of the Greeks in Asia Minor and Pontus came to an end. Those who survived after the catastrophic events of the years 1913-1923, were forced to leave their homeland and become refugees in other countries, mainly in Greece. My grandparents, who were from Pontus, were forcibly made to abandon their villages and reach Greece in 1923.”

 

Following her riveting speech, Ms. Spyridi-Skoupas distributed to the students the Center’s educational guide, “The Manual of Hellenism of Asia Minor.” The manual covers the history of the first Greeks, the great thinkers of antiquity in Asia Minor, and the historical events that led to the end of the Greek presence in Asia Minor.

 

Offering her own assessment of program, she noted, “The students were fully engaged in their group activities, and it was a fascinating experience for them.” Spyridi-Skoupas concluding, “Very few of them know this forgotten piece of history. it is very interesting to have this opportunity to teach our history to the next generations. We must continue this important educational part to make sure that the world will learn about the Genocide of the Greeks.”

 

At the conclusion of the program, the students stayed for a while to meet the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr. Georgios Kotsiras, who was visiting Chicago with the Consul General, Mr. Emmanouil Koumparakis. Mr. Kotsiras congratulated the teachers and students and expressed his admiration of the Center’s work and its contribution to the community and to Greece.