The Demos Center

The Demos Center 

“Devote the rest of your life to making progress.” – Epictetus

The Demos Center at Deree – The American College of Greece is a part of the Institute for Hellenic Culture and the Liberal Arts. We promote democracy by fostering civic engagement, multiculturalism, and inclusivity through the practice of engaged and effective citizenship.

We celebrate, create programming around and study the pillars of healthy democracies. This includes promoting dialogue, debate and civil discourse as we aspire to develop sustainable global societies that work together toward building: 

  • Accountable government and public policies that serve the people first
  • Free and unfettered news media environments
  • Arts and entertainment communities that flourish
  • Leadership and rhetoric that move people to action for the public good
  • Equity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism, providing a framework to respect the human rights of all
  • A healthy, sustainable planet emanating from all communities, large and small
  • Equity in education for all people
  • Just economic systems that lift all boats
  • Just laws and judicial systems
  • The 21st-century Agora, the public sphere, where communities can flourish and grow through constructive debate, civil discourse and dialogue
  • Cultures that invite the participation and voices of all its people
  • A framework that inspires the notion of becoming a true global citizen in our students  

The diversity of our programming and partnerships will reflect these values.

There is no better place to discuss and study democracy, citizenship, and civic engagement than in Athens. It is one of the most consequential cities on earth, and where these concepts were born, came to life, and where the culture itself invites reflection and participation.

The Demos Center operates from both its Plaka building at 17 Ipitou Str. in the heart of Athens and from its sprawling, beautiful campus at 6 Gravias Str. in Aghia Paraskevi. 

For information about The Demos Center or The Institute, contact the Director of The Demos Center, Dr. Mary Cardaras @ [email protected].

“Citizenship must extend far beyond just casting a vote.”

— Mary Cardaras, Director, The Demos Center

“The most important office in any country is not president or prime minister. The most important title is ‘citizen.’ And in all of our nations, it will always be our citizens who decide the kind of countries we will be, the ideals that we will reach for, and the values that will define us. In this great, imperfect but necessary system of self-government, power and progress will always come from the demos | from ‘We, the people.”

— President Barack Obama, November 16, 2016 

Why Athens?

Welcome to Athens, the historical capital of Europe and the birthplace of democracy, arts, science, and philosophy of western civilization! Home of Plato, Socrates, Pericles, Euripides, Sophocles, and Sappho, Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities and its influence is still felt throughout the world. Athens is frequently known as the “birthplace” of democracy, drama, philosophy and civic engagement — ideals which have formed the cornerstones of all modern democracies. 

Today, Athens is not only the capital of Greece but one of the most important cities in modern Europe. An important center for world business, finance, shipping, trade, education, art, and tourism. What makes Athens such a fascinating laboratory for learning is the combination of diverse cultures in the same city. With almost 4 million people, Athens offers almost everything imaginable: museums, magnificent churches, concerts, street art, ancient ruins, incredible food and nightlife, and “philoxenia” (the Greek word for hospitality and generosity to those who are far from home).

Helpful Links:

Devote your life to making progress at... ACG!

The American College of Greece (ACG) hosts the Demos Center as it is the perfect place to launch and foster such a Center because its leadership embraces innovation as an integral part of its DNA. By choosing ACG, you will:

  • Study abroad at the oldest and largest American educational institution in Europe.
  • Explore Athens and the nearby Greek islands while using the ACG campus as your springboard.
  • Mingle with ACG students and be part of an international student body from 78 countries worldwide.
  • Enjoy a top-notch secure and safe environment at the idyllic, 64-acre ACG campus at the foothills of Mount Hymettus.
  • Live in the modern ACG Residence Complex situated just a short walk from campus, nearby grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and shopping centers.

Blue Sea Greece, a study-abroad environmental, experiential learning program

Blue Sea Greece will include SCUBA certification for a specialized environmental program that focuses on the sustainability of Greece's pristine beaches, sea bottoms, marine life and archeological sites.

Learn More

The Jews of Greece: An Historical Odyssey - a cultural study - abroad program

Coming soon: The Jews of Greece: An Historical Odyssey, a study-abroad offering to include travel to Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Ioannina, and Corfu.

The Demos Center Fellowship Program

Coming soon: A fellowship program to include scholars, filmmakers, authors, journalists and artists.

Gap Year Demos

Coming soon: The Demos Center will invite students to take a gap year at Deree - The American College of Greece from September through June. Two courses (in fall and in spring) related to citizenship, civic engagement and human rights will serve as our foundational courses which will inform and enrich a student's interest in the other courses they will choose to sample. 

Demos Fellows

Dr Piers von Berg is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Law, Criminal and Social Justice at Birmingham City University. His research centers on citizenship and human rights education at university and youth justice. More broadly, he is interested in theories and innovative methodologies for teaching and learning at higher education, and the effective participation rights of children and young people. Piers also provides consultancy work internationally on human rights and citizenship education, and is proud to be associated with the Demos Center. He is a member of the steering committees of the Global Transformative Education Network and the International Association of Human Rights Education, both of which help connect researchers and practitioners to disseminate new work globally. 

Before studying for his Doctorate in Education at the Institute of Education at University College London, Piers practiced at the Bar of England and Wales from 2010-2018 in criminal, family and administrative law. He edited the first comprehensive guide to challenging abuses of power using judicial review in the criminal justice system, specialising on children and young people. He worked on technical assistance projects in the Caucasus and Central Asia from 2000-2006 leading or supporting projects funded by USAID and DfID on democratic governance and citizenship education.


Follow Piers on X at @PiersvonBerg

LinkedIn: piersvonberg


A dream whose time has come: The Demos Center

Introducing the Demos Center, a powerful collaboration with Deree and visionary initiative that seeks to empower students to tackle global challenges, foster innovation and critical thinking, and cultivate the next generation of change-makers who will create a sustainable and equitable world through education, collaboration, and action.

Apply Now

The Demos Center is coming this summer 2023 and is a unit of The Institute for Hellenic Culture and the Liberal Arts.  

For information about The Demos Center or The Institute, contact the Director of The Demos Center, Dr. Mary Cardaras @[email protected].