Posted by: Joseph J. Skarzenski | July 16, 2009

Half way through the second week.

Students with Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard at the US Embassy

Students with Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard at the US Embassy

This morning students turned in their cultural journals for class. Tomorrow, their interview assignment is due, and on friday morning, final essays must be turned in.

Today in class, Dr. Dimitriou focused entirely on post -World War II Greece. For many students, this lecture on a more modern history provoked a lot of interest. Class began with discussion on the civil war that almost immediately followed World War II. Political division, social unrest, and other aspects of the period were all covered. We then moved on the period of Greece under King Paul.

We then moved onto a period that covered the majority of today’s lecture, the military junta. Under Constantine II, Greece from 1964 to 1973 was a very “different” period that was full of controversy. Some of the practices under the junta caused students to pose questions regarding its policies and reasoning. At this point, Dr. Dimitriou reintroduced one of Greece’s biggest foreign policy concerns, the Turkish invasion of Cypress. After a background on the issue, we continued with the abolishment of the junta.

The last part of today’s lesson was an introduction to modern Greek politics. Dr. Dimitriou introduced the major political parties that play a role in Greek policy making. We learned about the family legacies that have dominated the leadership positions of the two largest parties, New Democracy and PASOK. This led to questions regarding the rise of minority parties such as LAOS and the KKE. The lesson then concluded with a reflection on Greece’s current political state and the perception it receives from its people.

After class, students rushed to get a quick lunch before the next event on the day’s schedule. By 2:30 PM we were en route to the metro station in Syntagma Square. Within little time we arrived at the United States Embassy. Following our clearance from security we entered one of the main buildings to meet U.S. ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard. The ambassador opened our meeting with a fantastic speech that covered his reflections on working in Greece. He also spoke about the potential he sees in the country and where its future is going.

Ambassador Speckhard continued with an introduction on where the United States stands regarding importance issues to Greece. The presentation of facts soon led to an entertaining Q and A session. Numerous students posed questions regarding specific foreign policy issues, such as Greco-Turkish relations and where the United States fits in as an ally to both nations. After addressing issues students wish to hear about, the ambassador took a group photo with us.

Most students spent the rest of their afternoon working on their final essay or finishing their interview assignment. Later at night, some students went to Glyfada to surprise Dr. Dimitriou with a surprise dinner at Oscar’s. Wishing him a happy birthday, we enjoyed each other’s company on one of the final nights of the JTG session one.

To see photo’s from today’s visit to the embassy, please click the link below.


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