President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos:"MSU is of the same importance for the Greek government as the University of Athens"
From April the 3d until April the 7th, rector of Mariupol State University, Corresponding member of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in Mariupol, Kostyantyn Balabanov and Vice-Rector for International Cooperation of Mariupol State University, Professor Mykola Trofymenko visited the Hellenic Republic. Representatives of University’s administration held a number of summit meetings and reached new agreements on the development of cooperation in the field of education, science and culture.
The most important event in the agenda was a meeting with the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos. During a long, friendly conversation, Mr. President stated that Greece would continue to support Ukraine in its activities. The head of state also promised to provide comprehensive assistance to Mariupol State University, which is as important to the Greek government as the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (the oldest and largest Greek university). The President of Greece emphasized major efforts carried out by Mariupol State University in order to strengthen the international image of Ukraine, the development of friendship and cooperation between Greece and Ukraine. Prokopis Pavlopulos is planning an official visit to Ukraine at the invitation of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, and he is also going to visit Mariupol State University.
Kostyantyn Balabanov held a productive dialogue with the Director of the European Public Law Organization (EPLO), Professor Spyridon Flogaitis, who also granted a comprehensive support to higher education. In May-June 2017, Professor Flogaitis is going to visit MSU and EPLO Office (this is going to be his first visit to Ukraine), which has been operating at the premises of University since 2006.
During the meeting with rector of Mariupol State University, Terens Quick, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, has also promised to support the activities of Mariupol State University and the Greek Philology Faculty, the only one in Ukraine and Europe (without taking into account universities of Greece and Cyprus). The Deputy Minister expressed his willingness to contribute to the signing of cooperation agreements with the University of Crete and the University of Piraeus. The main condition for concluding the contracts will be cooperation within the framework of Erasmus + program.
Terens Quick looked back with nostalgia on meetings with Mayor of Mariupol Vadim Boichenko and Chairwoman of the Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine Oleksandra Protsenko-Pichadzhy. He twice attended Mariupol and Mariupol State University. In February this year, he met with rector of Mariupol State University, teachers and students of the Greek Philology Faculty, and positively evaluated the changes in higher education made since his first arrival in 2005.
A number of important agreements was reached at the meeting with Michalis Kokkinos, General Secretary for Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Greece. In the summer of 2017, 20 university students will take part in a cultural program on the island of Crete within the framework of the celebration of the anniversary of Nikos Kazandzakis, proclaimed by the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Greece. Greek sponsors will cover all the costs for students’ accommodation on the island. Moreover, the teachers of the Department of Greek Philology and Translation of Mariupol State University will translate the most famous works by Nikos Kazandzakis, a prominent Greek writer of the XX century, into Ukrainian thus giving the Ukrainians opportunity to get acquainted with his works.
Since 1994, Mariupol State University has been fruitfully cooperating with the Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), a leading Greek university. Therefore, for the delegation of Mariupol State University a meeting with rector of Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), Professor Meletios-Afanasios Dimopulos was of a paramount importance. They discussed internships for students, postgraduates and teachers of Mariupol State University at the premises of Kapodistrian University of Athens within the framework of the Erasmus + program, funded by the European Union. MSU will select 12 candidates among students, postgraduates and teachers to participate in a similar program at University of Ioannina (Greece). A joint scientific conference in Athens is also scheduled. A scientific conference will be dedicated to Ukrainian and Greek cooperation and Ukrainian Hellenism.
Cultural and educational cooperation with the University of Athens will follow a new line. Mariupol State University will provide comprehensive assistance in teaching Ukrainian language carried out by the Department of Slavic Languages at the University of Athens. To this end, teachers of the Department of Ukrainian Philology of Mariupol State University and graduate students will undertake a pedagogical internship at the University of Athens. This initiative was supported by the charge d'affaires ad interim of Ukraine in the Hellenic Republic Nataliia Kosenko, with whom rector of Mariupol State University met during a trip. As the result of the meeting, the parties also agreed to intensify efforts to promote Ukrainian language and culture in Greece, to expand and strengthen comprehensive cooperation in the field of education, science and culture.
Maria Theodoridou, head of the Athens-Kalymnos International Relations and Cultural Exchange Committee, is a good friend and partner of University, which has been helping to organize traineeships for students and teachers for more than 20 years within the framework of the annual Greek language and culture study program on Kalymnos Island. In 2017, the program is to be attended by 5 students and faculty teachers.
Thus, summarizing a five-day visit to Greece, the administration of Mariupol State University got the support from foreign friends and partners for further successful work aimed at improving the quality of education at Mariupol State University, the development of scientific potential, the strengthening of international relations and cultural bonds between Ukraine and Greece , popularization of Ukrainian language and culture abroad.