Sakis Gekas, York University associate professor of history and Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair, was awarded a prestigious fellowship by the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Greece and work at the University of Crete.
Gekas is one of 21 Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars, hailing from a cross-section of 16 prominent U.S. and Canadian universities, who will travel to Greece to conduct academic projects with their peers at Greek universities.
During his visit, Gekas will work alongside Professor Sokratis Petmezas, Department of History & Archaeology, on a project called “Empire, Colonialism and Global History in the Mediterranean World: Research Collaboration, Graduate Teaching and Student Mentoring.”
Gekas and Petmezas plan to expand teaching and research collaboration in the above-mentioned fields more systematically to jointly develop the curriculum for graduate course(s) on empires and global history. The main curriculum development activity will be to design and co-teach a four-week seminar on the history of empires, colonialism, the Mediterranean and global history; in turn, the course will complement and enhance the curriculum and teaching for a graduate seminar and course at York that is part of the global/transnational history field in the Department of History and the graduate program.
The Department of History & Archaeology at Crete will also benefit from the curriculum. Such a curriculum on global and transnational history and the history of colonialism can inform graduate history courses within a quickly growing historiographical field that is attracting an increasing number of graduate students and attention from historians.
Gekas’ fellowship will foster relations between York University and the University of Crete, and facilitate the visit of students from the University of Crete to York as part of the SNF Undergraduate Scholarships Program. Such a development would significantly contribute to one of York’s main stated aims, to promote internationalization, by attracting more Greek students to our York campus.
Scholars selected for the fellowship program will work in areas that range from public health to chemical genomics research, and from English language curriculum to continuing education studies in urban food security. Twelve Greek universities were selected by the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program to host the fellows for collaborative projects that meet specific needs at their institutions and in their communities, through proposals submitted by faculty members and administrators at the Greek universities.
The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program is designed to help avert Greece’s “brain drain” and develop long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations between universities in Greece and the U.S. and Canada. It is managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is thrilled both with the appeal and interest the program has generated among academics of the diaspora, as well as the wide ranging expertise of the first round of Fellows,” said Stelios Vasilakis, director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at SNF. “We look forward to these partnerships, which we believe will build long-lasting relationships and be beneficial to all parties involved. We are grateful to the Institute of International Education for their dedication to the program as well as the invaluable input of the esteemed Advisory Council.”
Over a period of two years, the program will award fellowships to 40 U.S. and Canadian-based academics to collaborate with universities throughout Greece to develop curricula, conduct research, and teach and mentor graduate students in priority areas identified by the Greek universities.
“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s generous support for these fellowships demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to expanding Greece’s human capital and investing in the country’s long-term economic recovery,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education.