On Wednesday, November 16, during his visit to Greece, President Obama addressed the Greek people at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in a speech that was broadcast live, with over 1.6 million online users from Facebook alone tuning in across the globe, but with only few guests having the unique opportunity to attend the event in person.
The American College of Greece is honored to have been among the few academic institutions invited to attend. ACG was represented by 45 students from Pierce and Deree, as well as ACG Administrators, who were there as President Obama delivered a most impactful, inspiring, and hopeful speech.
“I came here with gratitude for all that Greece – ‘this small, great world’ – has given to humanity through the ages,” said the President, quoting the great Greek poet Odysseas Elytis. President Obama highlighted the importance of the timeless ideas of democracy and citizenship, born in this very part of the world 2,500 years ago:
“It was here, 25 centuries ago, in the rocky hills of this city, that a new idea emerged. Demokratia. Kratos – the power, the right to rule – comes from demos – the people. The notion that we are citizens – not servants, but stewards of our society… The belief in equality before the law – not just for a few, but for the many; not just for the majority, but also the minority.”
Watching President Obama’s speech live was a unique and most moving, as well as inspiring experience for us all. President Obama said, ‘I still believe there’s more of what Greeks call philotimo: love, and respect, and kindness for family, and community, and country… and a sense that we’re all in this together, with obligations to each other.’ He showed us how we, the citizens of all nations, can help make this a better world. I personally felt very proud, both for our Greek heritage and of ACG’s affiliation, as a leading academic institution, with the United States.
Claudia Carydis, Vice President, Public Affairs
I want to thank Deree for giving me such an opportunity! This overall experience and listening to Obama’s speech inspired me and gave me this fling of hope that students need from time to time to renew their determination! After today, I decided that I want to do my best to become an individual with a lot of courage and compassion in order to strive in this difficult and challenging situation of Greece!
Daphne Chrysomallidi, Deree student
I was amazed by the humbleness and awe of President Barack Obama when speaking about the history and civilization of Greece. It was a powerful speech, making Greek people feel proud of who they are once again; and not just for our past, but also for our future.
Evgenia Lykou, Deree student
It was a life-changing experience… I want to thank, among others, Deree for this opportunity. I feel emotional, grateful, and deeply appreciative of the impact such an institution has had on my life! I hope that one day I will be able to give back to my alma mater at least half of what it has given to me!
Ippolyti Chatzi, Deree student