Prof. Manolis Varvounis
Dean of the School of Classics and Humanities
Democritus University of Thrace
Address at the closing ceremony of the International Conference “The Greek World and India: History, Culture and Trade from the Hellenistic period to Modern Times” that was organized by the Greek Chair “Dimitrios Galanos” at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Studies (Venice) from 12 to 14 December 2022 at the Convention Center of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
The School of Classics and Humanities of the Democritus University of Thrace, in the context of the cultivation of modern Greek studies, has already been cooperating with the chair of Greek Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University of India.
It is worth mentioning that recently the Scientific Council of the Laboratory of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature during its second meeting for 2022 unanimously decided to appoint Dr. Anil Kumar Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Greek Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, as External Honorary Member of the Laboratory of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature of the Department of Greek Philology, Democritus University of Thrace.
One of the department’s priorities is to cultivate the teaching of Modern Greek language, as well as a comparative approach to Greek and Indian literature. For this and as a practical recognition of Mr. Singh’s contribution, he was awarded the title of honorary partner of the laboratory. One of the aims of this collaboration, moreover, is to have a closer exchange of teaching staff and students, while lectures have already been initiated in the context of reciprocity.
This decision is a tangible expression of recognition of Prof. Anil Kumar Singh’s contribution to the cultivation of Hellenic Studies in India and in particular at the Chair of Greek Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi where he has been teaching Greek Language and Culture since 2011. The purpose of the Chair is to develop collaborations, beyond Athens and Thessaloniki, and with universities in the region, such as the Democritus University of Thrace, which produces significant work in its field and has a rich and long experience in international exchange programs, such as Erasmus Mundus.
The expertise of our university would be crucial for the two universities to decide to launch exchange programs for students and teaching staff to further develop academic cooperation between the two countries. Besides, our School has already developed similar collaborations with centers of modern Greek studies and corresponding university research centers in other countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, Libya, Spain, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Argentina, France, Austria, Albania, Turkey, the United States of America and Italy.
Our strategic goal is the development of modern Greek studies at an international level, through our cooperation with their institutions around the world. And in this direction, in 2019 we organized in Komotini the “4th International Conference of Neo-Hellenists of the Balkan Countries”, in which approximately 200 speakers from many countries took part, and whose proceedings have already been published in four multi-page volumes. And it is in this context that we are directly interested in consolidating and strengthening our collaboration with the chair of Greek Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India. And this will be done through the pioneering and innovative work of distinguished colleagues, such as Professor Nikos Mavrelos, of the Department of Greek Philology of the School, who is always eager to enter into new academic collaborations, that yield significant.
In my capacity as the Dean of the School of Classics and Humanities of the Democritus University of Thrace, I welcome the conference “The Greek World and India: History, Culture and Trade from the Hellenistic Period to Modern Times (4th c. BCE – 18th c. CE)”, which is organized in collaboration with the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Studies in Venice, an extremely active and internationally recognized research institution, with which our School already cooperates.
Our common goal is the internationalization of Greek science, and this can be perfectly achieved through collaborations, such as the one taking place today. After all, the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Studies in Venice, under its current active and efficient leadership, is a pioneer in such actions, and is one of the best ambassadors of Greek science at the international level.
With these thoughts I welcome the conference, wish it success in its work and I look forward to our further cooperation in the directions mentioned above, as for our School these are expected, welcome and desirable.