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Welcome to the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) – a center for public and international affairs at The American College of Greece since 2008. Through engaging round tables, presentations, panel discussions, conferences, and workshops, the IGA brings together top academics, politicians, economists, diplomats, and policy-makers to foster an in-depth understanding of complex global issues and encourage open dialogue.

The IGA focuses on six key thematic areas: (i) European Affairs, (ii) Middle East and North Africa, (iii) East-West and Eurasian Relations, (iv) Energy Security and International Markets, (v) The Emerging New Strategic and Economic World Order, and (vi) The Rise of Populism and the challenges to Democracy. This policy-oriented approach, complemented by rigorous analysis of regional complexities and global trends, examines the interactions among states, international organizations, NGOs, and individual actors.

The Institute is overseen by a Director and collaborates with the ACG Office of Public Affairs to coordinate various events and relevant initiatives and with the Academic Advisory Board, consisting of Deree faculty members with expertise in relevant areas, to influence and develop its strategy and activities. The VP of Public Affairs holds an ex-officio position on the IGA Advisory Board. By organizing events in partnership with ACG departments, Student Societies, and Clubs, the Institute actively contributes to the academic life of The American College of Greece. Whether you are a student, faculty, staff, or a curious member of the public, our events, mainly held at the Deree campus in Aghia Paraskevi, are open to all and serve the primary purpose of benefiting students pursuing the “International Relations & European Affairs” major launched in September 2018.


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You can reach us via email at [email protected] or give us a call at extension 1372.

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Strives to be a premier center of scholarship in public and international affairs, promoting understanding of complex global issues through high-level academic engagement, policy-oriented research, and open dialogue, with a focus on six thematic areas and studying the relationships between states and various actors.


Being a leading center of scholarship in public and international affairs, fostering a deeper understanding of contemporary regional and international complexities through high-level academic engagement, policy-oriented research, and promoting the needs of students in the field of “International Relations & European Affairs.”


Constantinos Filis
Director, Institute of Global Affairs


Claudia Carydis
Vice President, Public Affairs, The American College of Greece (ACG)
Effie Phokas, PhD
Assistant Professor of International Relations, Deree - The American College of Greece
Nikolaos Lampas
Assistant Professor, International Relations and European Studies at Deree - ACG
Helena Maragou
Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Deree - ACG
Ilay Romain Ors
Associate Professor, Deree - ACG
Constantine A. Papadopoulos
Adjunct Professor, Deree - ACG
Ioanna Patsioti
Associate Professor, Deree - ACG
Emmanuel Skoulas
Assistant Professor, Deree - ACG
Anna Visvizi
Assistant Professor, Department of International Business of the School of Business, Deree - ACG
Haris Vlavianos
Professor of Modern European History and Politics, Deree – The American College of Greece

IGA Thematic Areas

European Affairs

The Institute’s European Affairs focus is particularly apt in the present period, given the unprecedented challenges Europe faces in its post-war history. Brexit, the migration-and-refugee crisis, terrorism, the rise of far-right forces, economic uncertainty, and instability in the region could all potentially threaten the core of the European Union and the post-World War II model of social welfare liberalism that united Europe as a democratic entity. Amidst this complexity, the Institute recognizes the diverse nature of Europe and offers a non-partisan platform to understand the historical and contemporary realities of Central and Eastern European countries, the Baltics, and their connections to the former Soviet Union. It also examines Europe’s unfinished business in the Western Balkans and explores the intricate relationship between democratic ideals and practice in countries with limited democratic traditions.


Through discussions with scholars and government experts, the Institute seeks to contribute constructively to European thinking and policy analysis. By inviting insights and exploring alternative scenarios, the Institute aims to foster a deeper understanding of the challenges and potential solutions that can shape Europe’s future amidst the current tumultuous landscape.

Middle East and North Africa

The MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) has significantly increased in importance in recent years, impacting not only Europe but also other parts of the world. The region faces challenges like violence, war, political instability, autarchic regimes, and democratic setbacks, leading to a refugee crisis near Europe. Despite these issues, the West’s response has been ineffective and unclear, raising questions about whether the West’s weakness or the region’s problems being irreparable is the cause. To address these matters, the Institute aims to invite experts and officials to generate discussions and new analyses, contributing to a better understanding of the region and its problems.

East-West and Eurasian Relations

Russia’s relations with the West have not lived up to the post-1991 expectations. The Institute of Global Affairs aims to foster discussions among scholars and government specialists about political, social, and economic matters affecting Russia and other former Soviet Union states. Understanding the historical context is crucial in comprehending the reasons behind current policy clashes with the West and conflicts within the region. Additionally, the Institute acknowledges the significance of developments in the East, such as China’s rise, the “New Silk Road” trade, investment expansion strategy, and energy interdependencies, which are essential factors in shaping the future of Europe-Asia relations and warrant further investigation.

Energy Security and International Markets

Energy security is about ensuring the availability of energy sources at an affordable price in the desired quantity. This involves monitoring and analyzing long-term energy security developments, assessing the alignment of supplies with international market needs while considering economic, political, and environmental factors. The Institute also delves into short-term energy security matters, examining how the entire production chain responds to sudden or gradual changes, from producers to consumers.

The Emerging New Strategic and Economic World Order

Over the past two decades, the dominance of the West, represented by the US and Europe, has faced challenges due to the rising influence of emerging strategic and economic powers. The Institute’s objective is to study and analyze this significant shift in the global balance of power to foster a deeper understanding of the changing dynamics and their implications.

The Rise of Populism and the Challenges to Democracy

Decades of economic growth and increasing affluence in the West led policy-makers to gloss over underlying social tensions and disaffection with on-going trends within particular social groups (e.g. rising inequality, immigration). As a result, a new polarization in domestic politics has emerged, fueled by a populist discourse, which is now challenging established democratic institutions. The Institute’s mission is to recognize these patterns and propose strategies to address the diverse threats posed to democracy by these developments.

IGA Students Journal

Under the guidance of the IGA Director, students delve into global and regional events, enhancing their critical thinking, writing, and research abilities while rotating as Journal editors

IGA Student Journal V1, June 2022

IGA Student Journal V2, May 2023

Student Working Papers

Publications authored by student candidates through individual or team research, completed as course papers or junior research within the IGA, under the guidance of academic staff

Working Paper Series - 10

Title: Unveiling Populism: A Discourse Analysis of Populist Leaders’ Language on Immigration in the United States and Hungary (2016-2020)


Author: Andriana Bruno


Abstract: This paper addresses the political phenomena of the rise of populism in Western democracies, specifically focusing on the United States and Hungary. The research hypothesizes that populist leaders such as Trump and Orbán manipulate language surrounding immigration within their public speeches to negatively influence the perception of immigration in their respective countries. A discourse analysis is conducted which seeks to identify the quantitative occurrence of unmitigated pejoratives such as ‘illegal,’ ‘alien,’ and ‘migrant’ in a selection of four speeches from each leader ranging from 2016-2020. The use of rhetorical devices such as appeal to emotion and eulogy are also explored within the transcripts. The data shows that Trump and Orbán effectively cultivate a negative perception of immigration using some overlapping rhetorical techniques in addition to methods which are unique to each leader.


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Working Paper Series - 9

Title: Under what conditions do states participate in humanitarian interventions?


Author: Spyridon Tsaparas


Abstract: This paper aims to find consistent reasons as to why states participate in humanitarian interventions. Using a combination of online archival documents and documents from the United Nations (only to specific cases) it has been concluded that there are three consistent conditions of which make states get involved in a humanitarian intervention. First, this would be the legal basis because, in today’s day and age, there are international organizations responsible for monitoring humanitarian interventions, aka the United Nations. Second, would be the moral obligation. This reason is deeply rooted in our human nature and because societies are ultimately made up of individuals, it is no wonder that human behavior influences political decisions. Finally, would be individual state interests. Arguably, the strongest component of what forces states to make up decisions.


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Working Paper Series - 8

Title: The Triangular Diplomacy’s Center of Gravity


Author: Christos Bekas-Moraris


Abstract: The Cold War period has been thoroughly discussed among academics. Its importance lies with the delicacy of the decisions taken, as they demanded an immense amount of strategic talent in order to avoid complete nuclear catastrophe. The most important personality was the saint and devil of diplomacy who essentially marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War; Henry A. Kissinger. The first display of nuclear warfare in 1945, the instant and complete destruction of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki by America, was powerful enough to end traditional forms of warfare and start a new era. Weapons such as these were immediately perceived as too dangerous and too easy to use, and America did not want any other major power claiming them. However, the communist Soviet Union, governed by Joseph Stalin, declared shortly after his own nuclear weapon tests, a display of nuclear force immediately posing a threat to the short-celebrated victor. The immediate American response was the policy of Containment, aimed to prevent the spread of communism further, as it meant increased enemies of America with potentially nuclear weapons in their possession. Anything related to communism was perceived as dangerous and thus followed the period of the Red Scare, which lasted even after Stalin’s death, with Nikita Khrushchev and later Leonid Brezhnev rising in Soviet leadership. During that period, China was also being transformed from an agricultural society to an industrial one through the prism of communism presented by Marxist-Leninist leader Mao Zedong, a change that happened rapidly and with millions of deaths. America and the Soviet Union were frozen at the threat of a potential nuclear outbreak, a type of warfare fast and efficient enough that would decide a winner within a couple of well-placed nuclear bombings, while China was completely ignoring such threats and proceeded to expand their power. America had to conjure a high strategy plan and Kissinger would be the inventor of it. That plan, the triangular diplomacy, aimed at peace with the Soviet Union and communist China, as it would be the optimal field for an already economically developed America to stray the other two powers away from nuclear warfare. “Triangular” refers to the shape of three opposing state powers facing at each other. The way that was implemented was soothing diplomatic relations with communist China, in order to corner the Soviet Union in a two-against-one situation and force a diplomatic Cold War white flag on their part. The question that has perplexed academics since then is how did Kissinger assess threats with such precision and come up with a great strategic plan? In this paper it will be argued that, strategically speaking, the Soviet Union was perceived by Kissinger as a direct threat due to the nature of their leadership and therefore the archetype of Bolshevik leader became the center of gravity of Kissinger’s strategy; at the same time, Mao Zedong’s China was expected to be a potential ally eventually and was far from becoming a target for America. Even though the threat of Communism would have one believe that both communist powers should be threats to America’s policies, the Soviet Union leaders and the Chinese leader Mao Zedong had intrinsic differences stark enough in the eyes of an American statesman to be treated as separate entities to be analyzed, as it will be done in this paper, in said order.


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Working Paper Series - 7

Title: What Constitutes a State: A Case Study in Micronations


Author: Henry McLaughlin


Abstract: Questions regarding statehood in IR research are plentiful. But the question of micronations and their status in the international system are rarely, if ever discussed. Micronations are a small field that could potentially bring on major consequences and implications for international law and governance. Recognizing the potential consequences, this paper seeks to understand what constitutes a state, if micronations fulfill the criteria of statehood, and critically determine what factors are more or less important for full recognition in the international system. Using the case study of Sealand, off the coast of the United Kingdom, this paper determines that this micronation satisfies most of the essential requirements for statehood set out in the existing literature, yet will likely never be accepted into the current international political system due to it lacking the defining characteristic of formal states–the ability to project power.


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Working Paper Series - 6

Title: The Evolution of the Bundeswehr following the end of the Cold War, up to the Russo-Ukraine War


Author: Filippo Nikolaos Valasakis


Abstract: This research paper assesses the evolution of the Bundeswehr from the end of the Cold War until the present day. The paper is split into 5 parts. I) The German Bundeswehr, II) ISAF Experience, III) Manpower Shortage, IV) Material Deficit, V) German Strategic Culture and VI) ‘Zeitenwende.’ Methodology used in this paper varies from primary sources such as government papers and interviews to surveys and newspaper & scholarly articles. This paper has highlighted the problems surrounding the Bundeswehr, and analyzing ‘Zeitenwende,’ concluding that Germany is still far-off in solving its problems and as of present day, ‘Zeitenwende’ only looks like a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to the war in Ukraine and not a well-thought-out re-militarization problem with strategic aims.


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Working Paper Series - 5

Title: Ethics of Revolutionary Violence. A case study of the French and Russian revolutions.


Author: Despoina Chatzakou


Abstract: Revolution is characterized as a sudden change in the political or governmental system. The Cambridge Dictionary associates revolution with violence by considering the latter to often be a component of the former. Thus, revolutions often contain violence as their feature and therefore, the moral criticism of a revolution requires that we also judge the violence it contains. The following analysis arises from a paradox in the interpretation of revolutionary violence. Although we tend to positively evaluate revolutions based on their results, violence is simultaneously condemned as if a priori immoral and impermissible. To resolve this paradox, I will not attempt to impose a categorical view as a normative principle. I will instead study the examples of the French and Russian revolutions under the lens of the moral evaluation of violence. Critical opinions of thinkers concerning the morality of violence will be presented and weight will be given to the views that directly affected the conduct of the two revolutions. To evaluate the morality of those revolutions, I will put forward two conditions under which violence can be ethically justified. First, the use of force must be deemed necessary for the achievement of the revolutionary goals, and secondly, the result of the revolution must contribute to social progress. As the concept of social progress can be ambiguous, for this essay’s purposes, I define it according to the Hegelian notion as advancement toward greater universal freedom (Hegel 2006).


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Working Paper Series - 4

Title: Has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the level of trust on behalf of the public towards scientists and/or research in general, for the case of Italy


Author: Filippo Nikolaos Valasakis


Abstract: This Research paper will assess the level of trust by the public towards the scientific community, which is rather high in Italy. The COVID-19 pandemic had affected this in a few distinct ways and which are analyzed in this paper. I) Political Differences II) The need for leadership. Explaining these two reasons was done by comparing data from pre-covid statistics and during the actual COVID-19 pandemic. Methodology used in the paper varies from questionnaires, surveys to newspaper articles. Preliminary findings suggest that the individuals holding right-wing views indeed held mistrust for the scientific community and public institutions. However, these individuals represent only a small sample of the total Italian population and indeed, trust has very much increased, as evidenced by high vaccination rates and low mobility rates.


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Working Paper Series - 3

Title: What are the effects social media has had on the public’s trust towards research and scientists: Case on COVID-19


Author: Melina Giannakouli


Abstract: This paper aims to perform an analysis of how the conspiracy theories posted on TikTok have impacted the public’s trust towards scientists and research during COVID-19. This pandemic has had a tremendous impact and has negatively shaped the attitudes of the public. More specifically, it was observed that due to the public’s mistrust towards scientists, negative behaviors prevailed. The main conspiracy theories to be analyzed have been titled as, “COVID does not exist, Chlorine can cure COVID and the COVID vaccine contains a chip.” The findings of this research suggest that accessibility and vulnerability, due to age, increase the acceptance of the named conspiracy theories. An analysis of these will highlight the negative impacts this has on society today.


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Working Paper Series - 2

Title: COVID-19’s impact on United States’ public trust towards scientists and their research


Author: Alexander Cameron


Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a stark new reality in the United States: a diminished level of trust on behalf of the public towards scientists and their research. Due to the ever-growing political divide between Democrats and Republicans, each political party has expressed differing emotions towards the science behind the pandemic, with rightwing Republicans expressing less trust in the published research and the measures required to prevent the spread of the contagion. Through political leadership, conservatives are least enthused of adhering to new restrictive measures that do not coincide with their vision of America and their lives. As society’s perception becomes intertwined with that of scientific research, mis/disinformation runs rampant through American communities, causing many Americans to be misinformed about the current pandemic, which can have serious repercussions. However, the ever-growing realm of mis/disinformation is fueled by various conspiracies that continue to negatively impact the American public’s trust towards scientists and their research. My research is intended to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on public trust toward scientists within the United States and how political ideologies and the spread of false information are prominent issues for the American scientific community.


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Working Paper Series - 1

Title: Can Taiwan Cause a War Between China and the USA?


Author: Yasmine Neri


Abstract: Political analysts are concerned about the possibility of a war breaking out over Taiwan, which could potentially escalate to a much grander international scale because of the island’s alliance with the United States and in view of its deteriorating relations with China as it pursues independence from the mainland. Analyzing the situation from the perspective of great power conflict, as well as examining governmental reports and speeches and secondary data, this paper questions whether Taiwan could cause a war between the two great powers of the 21st century and finds that the elements of security and national interests, as perceived in the context of the pursuit of regional hegemony, are presently at play with the USA and China, and Taiwan represents a vital node, connecting the two, because of its strategic and ideological significance to both. In particular, China views reunification with Taiwan as a major national interest for historical as well as security reasons, while the US, pursuing the role of regional hegemon, holds Taiwan’s location as strategic for trade routes and deems it an ideological mission to protect the island’s democracy. All these elements support the assumption that great power conflict is caused due to conflicting security and economic issues. Taiwan checks out many of the conditions for a great power war and thus finds itself in the precarious position of potentially escalating the tensions between the world’s two superpowers into a greater conflict.


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