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Stanford & Deree Students Workshop the Crisis

On Wednesday, January 27, Deree was honored to host students of the Bing Overseas Studies Program of Stanford University, from the center in Berlin. The program coordinator who organized this visit to the ACG campus was our alumna Nefeli Varthaliti. The students, from all sorts of majors, came from California to experience Europe in a semester abroad, including several trips to see EU member states other than Germany, but also to experience first-hand the effect of the crisis.

The event began with a short speech by President David G. Horner, who discussed several underlying factors that have led to, and continue to affect, the current financial situation in Greece. Dr. Horner also contrasted Greek and US higher education establishments, and concluded by stressing the importance of rebuilding Greece’s “human capital engine,” adding that education is one of the many areas requiring re-engineering for sustainable prosperity.

The President was followed by a succession of short presentations from professionals including former Greek Minister of Finance, Philippos Sachinidis, who outlined lessons learned from the Greek crisis concluding that, “Now that we have almost balanced the primary deficit, it is time to reconsider the speed of fiscal consolidation in order to give the economy space to breath and to fight unemployment”.

The panel of academics began their presentations after a short break for coffee and mingling, with Dr. Antonis Klidas, Head of Department of International Business, moderating the discussion and workshop. Following the presentations, each academic shared a question with the audience, who broke up into mixed Stanford-Deree-student groups to workshop and present their solutions.

Dr. Anna Visvizi, Professor of International Business at Deree, briefly analyzed the transatlantic dimensions of the crisis and Germany’s leadership role, recalling the infamous Kissinger question of the 70’s, “If I want to call Europe, who do I call?”

Dr. Uli Brueckner, visiting professor for European Integration at Stanford University, argued that though Europe “remains a construction site” there is more to it than often meets the eye. “There is a glue that holds the whole thing together,” he said referring to the fundamental ideas upon which EU was based, arguing that the national interest of each member state is also a European interest.

Dr. Ritsa Ventouratos-Fotinatos, Deree professor of Industrial and Social Psychology and British Psychological Society Committee Member, presented recent findings on the economical crisis, focusing on who truly bears the economic burden, rather than who or what is to blame. Professor Ventouratos shared hair-raising facts like the climb in suicide and crime rates; the increase in workplace bullying, micromanaging, and an abrasive style of management; the 60% youth unemployment and how it translates into loss of identity; overloaded work schedules, increased sick days due to depression, anxiety, and burnout.

This was the first time the Berlin Center visited Greece, and after a productive and educational trip, we hope that – beyond a wonderful collaboration of the academic establishments – this can lead to intercultural understanding.