ACG 150


Founded in 2019, the Institute for Hellenic Culture and the Liberal Arts (IHCLA) aspires to have an impact far beyond the academy by promoting a simple fact: Hellenic culture provides not only the basis for all liberal arts education but also the model for successful popular government based on principles such as personal and civic responsibility, civilian control of the military, resistance to tyranny, law applied without respect to person and the right to trials by a jury of one’s peers. Beyond its contributions to government and education, Hellenic culture arguably produced or advanced more scientific, aesthetic and intellectual disciplines than any culture before or since, including astronomy, geometry, music, drama, philosophy, history, ethnography and rhetoric. In a very real sense, the modern West and much of the rest of the world inhabit an intellectual and aesthetic space largely created by Hellenic culture.

The IHCLA differs from other centers focused on Greek culture by explicitly tying the liberal arts tradition to its origins in Hellas and by emphasizing its relationship to citizenship and popular government as well as the continuing influence of Greek culture on the world after the classical and Hellenistic ages. “Hellenic culture” as envisioned by the IHCLA incorporates such crucial features as the Neoplatonism of early church fathers and the research of Byzantine scholars; it includes the modern Greek nation’s struggle for independence and its resistance to twentieth-century totalitarianism; it honors the poetry of Cavafy and Seferis as well as the music of Theodorakis and Hatzidakis.


The IHCLA seeks to promote and foster appreciation of the significance and relevance of Hellenic culture and the liberal arts in the contemporary world in order to propel Greece’s cultural and economic growth in ways consistent with Hellenic values by means of research, academic and cultural exchange programs, fellowships, internships, lectures, policy papers, media productions, symposia and conferences.


Pericles called Athens an “education for Greece.” Today, Greece has a unique opportunity to offer an “education for the world,” providing an example of the ways the past informs the future and of the values needed to inspire and guide innovation.

Ancient Greece teaches us the importance of excellence (αρετή), competition, freedom, self-government, civic responsibility, individual in the community and education of citizens in the liberal arts. Byzantine Greece underscores the importance of values derived from faith, family, individual responsibility, duty, sustainability and stewardship (επιμέλεια). Greece’s history and experience in the modern world especially teaches us the importance of liberty (ελευθερία), endurance, innovation and heritage.

In the twenty-first century as in the fifth century B.C., Greece sits at the intersection of two worlds and is again poised to offer leadership in the face of international and local challenges. Greece continues to highlight the importance of looking back to remember and profit from history as we face the future.


Loren J. Samons, PhD
Chief Academic Advisor, The American College of Greece

Director - Demos Center

Dr. Mary Cardaras
Director - Demos Center

Assistant Directors

Dr. Alicia Simpson
Assistant Professor of History at Deree College; Assistant Director, IHCLA
Sophia Zevgoli, PhD
Assistant Professor at Deree; Assistant Director, IHCLA

Advisory Board Members

Professor Lucia Athanassaki
Department of Philology, University of Crete
Professor John Camp
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Classics, Randolf-Macon College; Director of Agora excavations, Athens
Professor Herbert Golder
Editor Arion: A Journal of the Humanities and Classics and Department of Classical Studies, Boston University
Dr. Kenneth Lapatin
Curator of Antiquities, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Professor Gonda Van Steen
Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, King’s College London

Fellows of the IHCLA

Georgia Giannakopoulou, PhD
Assistant Professor of Sociology at Deree-The American College of Greece
Thomas Giourgas, PhD
Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Deree – The American College of Greece
Eirini Karamouzi, PhD
Associate Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations Deree – The American College of Greece
Tobias Myers, PhD
Visiting Associate Professor of Classics, Deree – The American College of Greece
Ilay Romain Ors, PhD
Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, Deree – The American College of Greece
Metaxia Papageorgiou, PhD
Assistant Professor in Archaeology, History Program Coordinator, Deree – The American College of Greece
Angeliki Pollali, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History Deree – The American College of Greece
Nicolette S. Trahoulia, PhD
Professor of Art History, Deree – The American College of Greece
Haris Vlavianos, PhD
Professor of Modern European History and Politics, Deree – The American College of Greece

Visiting Fellows

Dr. Foteini Dimirouli
Outreach and Early Career Development Fellow, Keble College, Oxford; Cavafy, Greek literature
Professor Christofilis Maggidis
Christopher Roberts Chair and Associate Professor of Archaeology, Dickinson College; President, Mycenaean Foundation; Field Director, Lower Town Excavations, Mycenae
Dr. Ryan Rabett
Senior Lecturer, Human Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast; Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London; ICOMOS member; Director, SUNDASIA archaeological project, Tràng An World Heritage Site
Dr. Niki Tsironi
Historian-byzantinist and systemic counselor
Dr. Karim Arafat
Former Director, Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London; Greek pottery, art, architecture; Pausanias

Fellow Emerita

Professor Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous
Classical literature and culture

Members of the IHCLA

Dr. Eleni Drakaki
Art history and archaeology
Dr. Georgios Gatopoulos
Economics; Greek economy; IMF representative office in Athens
Dr. Sükrü Ilicak
Ottoman state and society; Greece from Ottoman perspective
Dr. Marina Kolokonte
Dr. Maria Kyriakaki
Dr. Tatiana Papageorgiou
Music performance and theory; Theodorakis
Dr. Stergios Pardalis
Sociocultural anthropology; identity, ethnicity, and nationalism; Greek language and influence in Sicily and southern Italy
Professor Ioanna Patsiotis
Aristotle and Plato; ancient philosophy; ethics
Professor Elly Pirocacos
Plato; ancient philosophy
Angeliki Pollali, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History Deree – The American College of Greece
Eva Simatou
Acting Instructor at Deree, The American College of Greece
Dean Katerina Thomas
Frances Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts (Bronze age, archaeology and art history)

Affiliated Faculty of the IHCLA

Elena Athanassopoulou
Balkan, Mediterranean, Middle eastern nationalism, authoritarianism, identity
Anna Degleri
Modern Greek history, ancient history
Georgia Lagoumitzi
Greek diaspora; sociology, industrialization

Specific Initiatives of the IHCLA

1. Research and Teaching: Faculty development and curricular enhancement

  • Fellows of the IHCLA           

    The IHCLA offers ACG faculty competitive fellowships carrying teaching reductions, salary incentives and research/curricular development funds in order to encourage research in fields related to the institute’s mission and faculty development, as well as the creation or revision courses and programs emphasizing Hellenic culture and the liberal arts and/or incorporating such approaches in current curricula. 

  • Visiting Fellows of the IHCLA

    The IHCLA invites scholars from around the world to ACG to teach and/or conduct research on Hellenic culture and the liberal arts and their relationship to contemporary thought, society and government. Visiting Fellows are eminent scholars, usually working in areas directly relevant to the ACG 150 initiatives, which focus on fostering Hellenic values like “excellence, stewardship and liberty”.  Visiting Fellows retain their (non-voting) Fellow status and certain privileges after the formal term of their fellowship ends.

  • Scholars of the IHCLA

    The IHCLA solicits recommendations from ACG academic departments in order to appoint students who perform at a superior level as IHCLA Scholars. Scholar status may also be gained by any student who achieves exemplary performance in three courses recommended by the IHCLA. Scholars collaborate with faculty on Focused Research Projects as well undertaking independent research in Hellenic culture and the liberal arts. Exemplary completion of an identified IHCLA curricular pathway or five recommended courses results in the indication of this achievement upon graduation as a “Scholar of the IHCLA.”

  • Internships 

    Closely associated with the Scholars program are IHCLA internships, created in cooperation with private-sector partners and ACG academic departments. Affiliated private-sector entities have first access to the IHCLA Scholars, enjoying a “pipeline” of young talent trained at ACG and the IHCLA. Internships are partially funded by the IHCLA, making these interns even more attractive to private-sector partners.

2. ACG Programs in Hellenic culture and liberal arts

The Executive Director and the IHCLA Fellows work with Pierce, Deree and Alba academic leadership and faculty in order to develop and foster secondary, undergraduate and graduate programs and pathways incorporating elements of Hellenic culture and the liberal arts. As part of this initiative, in the summer of 2022 ACG will launch the Hellenic Studies Summer School at Deree College. In a related effort, the IHCLA partners with the Mycenaean Foundation (MF) in order to allow ACG/IHCLA faculty and students to take advantage of the MF’s superb facilities at Mycenae and Mystras.

3. Cultural Exchange and Enhancement

The IHCLA serves as the organizational hub for ACG cultural exchange initiatives with a particular focus on supporting and empowering Greek diaspora programs, including and building on ACG’s partnership with the National Hellenic Society (NHS) and Heritage Greece (HG). Potential NHS/HG enhancements include:

  • Addition of academic/cultural components to HG highlighting the importance of the Greek tradition in the Byzantine and modern periods, specifically illustrating the continuing relevance of Hellenic culture and values in the world today
  • Expansion of HG to families of Greek descent (who would bear the cost of the program), with direct involvement of IHCLA Fellows leading portions of the program
  • Internships in the IHCLA (or other ACG 150 centers/institutes) for qualified HG students who choose to remain at ACG for a semester or academic year

4. Public Outreach

The IHCLA works to position ACG as a leader in developing solutions for Greece based on innovation and fundamental Hellenic principles such as “excellence, stewardship and liberty.” This outreach includes publications, media productions (including social media), a bespoke website eventually featuring archived publications and media productions, and conferences/seminars/symposia (real-time and virtual/electronic) that seek to bring public officials, academics (faculty and students), and business leaders together to address specific issues facing Greece and the world today. Central to these efforts is the Eudaimonia Initiative, in which the IHCLA, the Institute for Hellenic Growth and Prosperity and the Institute for Public Health collaborate to promote “human flourishing” (eudaimonia) by working to balance economic concerns, public health and civic liberty.

5. Values and Growing Greece

The IHCLA serves as the “values input” for the ACG 150 initiatives, which aim to foster Greek economic growth in ways consistent with Greece’s historic cultural values, especially excellence (αρετή), stewardship (επιμέλεια) and liberty (ελευθερία).

Partnerships and Collaborations

Heritage Greece and the National Hellenic Society

Working together with Heritage Greece and the NHS the IHCLA is developing a number of initiatives aimed especially at increasing the appreciation of Greek culture and heritage among young people.  

The Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard University)

In 2022, the IHCLA and ACG’s Institute for Hellenic Growth and Prosperity will collaborate with the Center for Hellenic Studies in order to host a conference celebrating the first complete Greek translation of Adam Smith’s classic statement of liberal economic principles, The Wealth of Nations. The conference will be hosted by IHGP Advisory Board Chair and Chief Consultant, Dr. Michalis Psalidopoulos (Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Athens and former IMF representative for Greece) and Dr. Nicolas Prevelakis, Assistant Director of Curricular Development and Lecturer on Social Studies (Harvard). Scholars and Fellows of the IHCLA also have access to the CHS center in Nafplio and its superb electronic library. 

UC Berkeley/Professor Christine Philliou: Documenting the Greek Orthodox Communities of Late Ottoman Istanbul/Constantinople (1850-1923)

A collaborative project based at UC Berkeley that seeks to document the administrative, social, economic, and cultural life of the 42 neighborhood-level communal institutions (κοινότητες) of the Greek Orthodox of Istanbul/Constantinople. Led by Professor Christine Philliou, the project features a working group of scholars from Greece, Turkey, the US, and Europe, including IHCLA Fellow Dr. Ilay Ors, working to synthesize this knowledge and produce scholarly publications based on a range of sources including the tremendous knowledge possessed by Constantinopolitan Greeks in the diaspora.  

The Mycenaean Foundation

The IHCLA has developed a partnership with the Mycenaean Foundation, allowing students and faculty to conduct research and course-work and hold seminars in the superb facilities of the Mycenaean Foundation on the inspiring site of ancient Mycenae.  

The City of Sparta and the University of Nottingham

The IHCLA has developed a collaborative agreement with the Municipality of Sparta and the University of Nottingham designed to spur research in and appreciation of the Peloponnesian and Spartan contributions to Hellenic history and culture and to allow ACG students and faculty to collaborate in scholarly and civic efforts supported by the city of Sparta. 

Boston University

Working with the Department of Classical Studies and the Program in Modern Greek at Boston University as well as Deree’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the IHCLA is expanding offerings in Hellenic culture at ACG, including the creation of a Hellenic Studies Summer School (beginning in 2022). 

Temple University/Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

The ACG School of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the support of the IHCLA has partnered with Temple University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) on a project that involves faculty and student exchanges centering around a curriculum on Eastern Mediterranean Studies. The program will be interdisciplinary and will aim to strengthen students’ understanding of the region through study of the cultural complexities and geopolitical and social dynamics at work trans-historically in the Eastern Mediterranean; it will also produce fertile ground for joint research projects among faculty and junior scholars. 

Niki Tsironis/Institute of Historical Research (National Hellenic Research Foundation)

The IHCLA and the ACG School of Liberal Arts and Sciences collaborated with Dr. Tsironis on the conference, “Performance in Late Antiquity and Byzantium,” April 19-24, 2021.  

Hellenic Studies Summer School


Visit to the Duncan Dance Research Center (2023)


Trip to the archaeological site of Eleusis


Visit to the Acropolis


Visit to the Duncan Dance Research Center (2022)

The Demos Center

Inspiring students, promoting civic engagement, and cultivating democratic values

The Demos Center, a unit of the IHCLA, is a summer study abroad program coming this summer 2023.

The Demos Center Project is a six-week, credit-bearing, experiential learning summer study abroad program that addresses these questions. With the motto “Devote your life to making progress”it is directed to university students who are interested in studying the intersectionality of democracy, public policy, free press, rhetoric, and leadership. Students will study, live, and immerse themselves in the rich, colorful Greek culture that gave the world an organized system of governance. Based on the beautiful campus of Deree — The American College of Greece, students will study and debate the failures, intentions, and successes of governments throughout the world.

Through its curriculum, faculty, teaching, experiential and applied learning, the Demos Center will inspire students to further engage in their communities at home, become involved citizens, and have the knowledge and skills to impose real, lasting change. The Center will expose students to expert faculty, influential leaders and thinkers in these areas: (1) Democracy, Government and Public Policy, (2) Journalism and the Media, and (3) Leadership and Rhetoric. Students will take part in special lectures, seminars, symposia, tours of Athens and other historic parts of Greece. In the place where democracy itself was born, they will be inspired as they live, learn and travel in one of the most consequential cities and regions in the history of the civilized world.

Learn more about how you can apply to the Demos Center here.