Learning outside the classroom for ACT Psychology students

On Thursday May 16th, Dr. Aimiliza Stefanidou, Coordinator of the BSc Psychology program and Ms. Natalia Alexiou, Coordinator of Student Services accompanied 15 ACT psychology students to WIZKIDS at Kalamaria, Thessaloniki as part of an assignment for their “Developmental Psychology” class.
WIZKIDS is a Center made up of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, fully trained in their field, aiming at providing personalized services based on a variety of scientifically proven methods for the treatment of Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Apart from services such as Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Psychological Support, and Parent Counseling WIZKIDS provides specialized clubs such as: WizBaby (Development of cognitive, motor, communication and emotional skills, behavior management, counseling of young parents, (+18 months) and Developmental play groups (2-4 Years) where the development of new skills is done through targeted small group play under the guidance of the occupational therapist, WizStudy (daily special education program for elementary students), WizClub (theatrical play, music therapy for children with developmental disabilities of all ages, etc.).

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The goal of the visit was for students to learn more about typical and atypical development in children, arrange a set of observation assignments for their class but also to explore volunteering and internship opportunities.
Mr Christos Karmis, Psychologist specialized in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Director of the Center, welcomed the ACT students to the center’s facilities. He also gave a speech on the important role that psychologists can play in diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how children and their families can cope with and manage the challenges associated with the specific developmental disorder. Students were actively involved through activities and discussions.



The “GreenHouse” program is growing

The Epirus GreenHouse startup workshop by the Entrepreneurship Hub of ACT- the American College of Thessaloniki and The Hellenic Initiative has been recently completed in the cities of Ioannina and Arta. The program was co-organized with the collaboration of the Municipality of Ioannina, the University of Ioannina, and The Science and Technology Park of Epirus (STEP of Epirus).

The 5-day workshop took place from Friday 10 th of May to Tuesday 14 th of ​​May 2019. Emphasis was placed on innovative business processes and tools, and on the crucial steps on creating a startup that responds to the needs of the modern era. The experts – business executives, startupers, professors and partners of the American College of Thessaloniki – gave participants the opportunity to obtain a good perspective on successful business practices regarding business & strategy planning, human resources management, financial tools, financial management, marketing strategy and networking.

Epirus GreenHouse was launched on Friday 10 th of May in the STEP of Epirus in Ioannina, and was welcomed by the Mayor of Ioannina, Mr. Thomas Bengas, by Dr. Alexandros Tzallas, Professor in Computer Science, and by Mr. George Kokkas, Director of the Entrepreneurship Hub of ACT. The startup mindset was presented, in the way that it involves innovation, entrepreneurship and fast scaling. With the use of the Kahoot platform, participants played an interactive game to check how familiar they are with the innovative business thinking. During the second day participants were introduced to the Business Model Canvas, to the understanding of fundamental business economics, to the principals of marketing with emphasis on the digital marketing, and listened to entrepreneurs and startupers experiences, successes and disappointments. The participants, with the help of mentors, worked their business ideas on the business model canvas, and got prepared for the next day’s pitch. On the third day participants learned about business planning, startup financing, and how they could get funded, by various available sources, for their ventures. Finally, 9 teams in total presented their ideas and all of them got a creative feedback on how to move forward successfully.

The fourth day GreenHouse visited the former TEI of Epirus in Arta, which now is a part of the University of Ioannina, and the GreenHouse team executed a one-full-day condensed version of the workshop for the students of the institution.

The fifth and final day Mr. George Kokkas and Ms. Elisavet Reisi, a teacher from Anatolia Elementary School, visited the Zosimaia Academia in Ioannina. Ms. Reisi has received specialized training on the Jacobson method of the University of Iowa for the cultivation of the entrepreneurship spirit to young students. Through lectures and games the students realize that entrepreneurship can be a prosperous and creative way of living.

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Dukakis Center co-hosts Civil Society Forum in Athens

The Dukakis Center and Transparency International Greece co-hosted a conference on “Gatekeepers of Democracy. Think Tanks, NGOs, and Civil Society: from thought to action,” in Athens on May 13. The event took place on the sixth floor of Public Syntagma, overlooking the Greek Parliament building.

Representatives of a diverse group of think tanks, NGOs, and other civil society institutions active in democracy promotion in Greece shared their experience on the state of civil society in the run-up to the 2019 European elections. Panelists included Amalia Zepou, Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Innovation at the Municipality of Athens, and Nikos Vettas, General Director of ΙΟΒΕ.

Anna Damaskou, Chair of the Board of Transparency International Greece, co-moderated the discussion with David Wisner, Executive Director of the Dukakis Center. The debate focused in part on the actual role played by these organizations in preserving and promoting best practices in civic engagement.

James McGann, Director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania, delivered a stirring keynote lecture on challenges currently facing civil society worldwide. This was Dr. McGann’s first visit to Greece. With the support of the Dukakis Center and Transparency International Greece he was able to meet with various think tank executives in Athens.

Attendees on the night included Lambros Anagnostopoulos of the Anatolia College Board of Trustees, and Dimitris Keridis, of the ACT Governance Board.

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from left to right, Nikos Vettas, Thodoris Georgakopoulos, Anna Damaskou, Giorgos Siakas, David Wisner

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from left to right: Olga Daskali, Epaminondas Farmakis, Anna Damaskou, Stefanos Loukopoulos

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from left to right: Anna Damaskou, keynote speaker James McGann, David Wisner

from left to right: James McGann, David Wisner




Dukakis Center hosts renowned area studies expert

Former US government official and the Middle East specialist Alan Makovsky spoke at the Dukakis Center on April 4, on the subject of recent local elections in Turkey.

Mr. Makovsky spoke to students and faculty in a full amphitheater at the University of Macedonia (UoM) on such topics as the impact of the election results on the ruling party of President Erdogan and the likelihood of a rerun of the mayoral contest in Istanbul.

The event was co-hosted by the Institute of Defense and European Analysis, whose Director, former University of Macedonia Provost Ilias Kouskouvelis, served as co-moderator with David Wisner, Executive Director of the Dukakis Center.

Mr. Makovsky has served in the State Department and as Senior Congressional Aide, is currently Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. He had spoken previously at the Dukakis Center, in June 2014, at our conference on “The Future of Democracy in Europe.”

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The White Tower

The White Tower is the most commonly known monument of Thessaloniki and the symbol of the city because of its prominent position, long history and imposive architecture.

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Aristotelous Square

Aristotelous Square is the main city square of Thessaloniki, Greece and is located on Nikis avenue, in the city center. It was designed by French architect Ernest Hébrard in 1918, but most of the square was built in the 1950s.

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The Arch of Galerius

The Arch of Galerius or Kamara and the Rotunda (seen in the background with its minaret) are neighbouring early 4th-century AD monuments in the city of Thessaloniki.

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A view of a sandy beach in Halkidiki, a half hour drive from Thessaloniki. Halkidiki is known for its jutting peninsulas, which feature Mediterranean forests that give way to sandy beaches in sheltered bays. Kassandra, the westernmost peninsula, is the most developed, offering modern resorts and nightclubs. The region's notable archaeological sites include Stageira, Aristotle’s birthplace, and Olynthus, known for its well-preserved mosaic floors.

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Thessaloniki, Greece
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