Posted by: Joseph J. Skarzenski | July 31, 2009

Politics and the Arts

Students with U.S. Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard

Students with U.S. Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard

Thursday afternoon provided JTG students with a very unique opportunity. Following lunch, we all returned to apartments to change our clothes and prepare for a special briefing at the U.S. Embassy. One metro ride and short walk later we found ourselves going through the security entrance of the embassy. We were joined by Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard after sitting down in a special conference room.

Ambassador Speckhard began the meeting by providing students with a background on his and his experiences with Greece. He also gave a background on Greek foreign policy and stances the U.S. takes on major issues. Within no time the ambassador began to listen to questions posed by students. The opportunity was perfect for students in the Greek Foreign Policy class who are currently working on projects that relate to the issues the United States has stances on. The FYROM name dispute, Ecumenical Patriarchate, and U.S. negotiations as a mediator between Greece and Turkey were just a few of the topics discussed during the rewarding “Q and A” period. We ended our visit at the embassy by taking a group photo with the ambassador. Students were then given the opportunity to personally meet and converse with him.

Students in front of the Harry S. Truman statue

Students in front of the Harry S. Truman statue

From the U.S. Embassy we hopped back on the Metro towards Syntagma Square. Some of the students returned to UIndy to attend their 4:00 PM class, Ancient Greek Plays. The rest of the group continued their afternoon at the Benaki Museum. The first floor of the museum featured a huge variety of ancient Greek pottery and art. Moving our way up, the second floor included a fantastic iconography exhibit. Students took pictures of a variety of icons while listening to our guided tour. The third floor featured a mix of art and authentic Greek folk costumes. The galleries provided much insight to Greek folk culture. The best area of the entire museum had to be the top floor, which included weaponry, art, photographs, and clothing from the Greek War of Independence. The pieces also displayed items from other parts of modern Greek history, such as the country’s involvement in World War I.

By 7:30 PM we were back at our apartments, ending another busy today. Tomorrow students will be able to enjoy a free afternoon after meeting with the IOCC in the morning.

To see photos from today’s visits to the U.S. Embassy and Benaki museum, please click the link below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39885149@N06/sets/72157621904053014/show/

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