Home Community UIC Celebrates Investiture of Inaugural Foundation for Hellenic Studies – Illinois Chair...

UIC Celebrates Investiture of Inaugural Foundation for Hellenic Studies – Illinois Chair in Hellenic Studies

CHICAGO, IL – Greek News USA

On September 12, 2023, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) held an investiture ceremony to install Professor Nicholas Doumanis as the inaugural Foundation for Hellenic Studies – Illinois Chair in Hellenic Studies.

The Chair was established by the Foundation for Hellenic Studies – Illinois (Foundation) and is supported by its endowment. The Foundation’s mission is to celebrate the Hellenic experience and promote its understanding and importance through courses, content, and programs that focus on Hellenic history, culture, and the modern Greek language.

Professor Nicholas Doumanis is a distinguished historian whose expertise is on the history of Greece, modern Europe, global empires, and the Greek diaspora. He has written extensively on modern Greece, the late Ottoman Empire, and Greek migration and has presented at conferences, workshops, and seminars throughout the world. Prior to joining UIC, Professor Doumanis taught at a number of universities in Australia, particularly the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

In keeping with his interest in world history, Doumanis is currently writing a history of the eastern Mediterranean since the Palaeolithic, which will be published in Wiley Blackwell’s “History of the World” series.

The ceremony included remarks by UIC Chancellor, Marie Lynn Miranda; UIC Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Lisa Freeman; Consul General of Greece in Chicago, Emmanuel Koubarakis; Foundation President, Loukas Kozonis; and Professor Doumanis himself.

“Greek history is not just about the establishment and the extension of the Greek State and the society within that State. Greek history refers to something more than Greece. It includes Cyprus, but it also includes that Greek world, that Oikoumene, that wider word that people have always needed and made their home”, Professor Doumanis said inter alia.

The Consul General

Addressing the audience Consul General Koubarakis said he considered this day, as one of the most important during his two years tenure in Chicago.

“Today, in this room, we are planting a seed. All of us today, “we plant a tree in whose shade we know we shall never sit” and we are witnessing our community grow. Because that is how communities grow: with the efforts of its members towards the future generations”, he noted.  “When the first Greeks arrived in this country, not by choice but by need, they built schools before they built their own houses. When my family arrived in Chicago two years ago, before anything else, we enrolled our daughters to the Greek Saturday school of Saint George in Chicago”, he added.

«Η δίψα για μάθηση»/The thirst for knowledge has over time been one of the characteristics of our communities worldwide and we take special pride in it. Across the United States, the Greek American community has made a remarkable progress socially, scientifically and financially and it is our duty to ensure that the future generations continue this successful path”, the Consul General of Greece said, welcoming the investiture of the Chair for Hellenic Studies in Illinois.

“Two of our greatest poets and Nobel prize winners, Georgios Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, during their acceptance speeches, both acknowledged the importance of the language in maintaining the Greek identity. Their words of wisdom should remain with us. The Greek American community is counting a presence of more than a century in the United States. To this day, we meet people of Greek origin in every state, in every smaller or bigger city, people who have kept their identity alive, who speak Greek and live like Greeks. They are, as we like to say, the informal Ambassadors of Greece abroad. They have created a very positive image of Greece among the American citizens who visit Greece and want to know more, not only about our country, but about Hellenism which is a much wider notion that transcends the boundaries of the Greek state”, he noted.

“I know”, he continued, “how long and hard this process has been and I would like to thank the numerous people, Greeks and non-Greeks, who have worked hard to make this Chair a reality. I deem these Chairs as beacons of Hellenism in the United States”.

“These Chairs are not designed for Greeks, quite the contrary. They are aiming at attracting non-Greeks, the new generation of Philhellenes. The Philhellenes have rendered significant support to our country during our struggle for Independence back in 1821. Now again we need modern Philhellenes to love and advocate for Greece internationally”.  

Concluding, Consul General Koubarakis warmly congratulated Professor Nicholas Doumanis for his investiture and wished him every success in his challenging mission. “He has a difficult task on his shoulders, but I am confident that he will accomplish it successfully. The Consulate General of Greece in Chicago is looking forward to working with you, Professor Doumani, and to support you in your mission”, he said.