The new grant will support professional development for teachers within the Archdiocese, cultural programming including a new Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Youth Choir, and a new fund to help Greek programs secure the educational materials, technology, and other resources they need to offer inspiring, innovative learning experiences to students. It will also enable the development of a teacher certification program in partnership with the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece and of teacher trainings in collaboration with Simon Fraser University in Canada.
Helping promote the teaching and cultivation of Greek letters and Greek language among the global communities of the diaspora and beyond has long been a focus in SNF’s work. The Foundation provided support for a long-term project at Simon Fraser University to create digital language-learning tools that culminated recently in the launch of the StaEllinika initiative. As part of the new grant, the Department will help teachers incorporate StaEllinika’s interactive resources into their curricula.
Over the years, the Foundation has also helped strengthen the teaching of Greek language and culture by supporting the Greek curriculum at a number of day, afternoon, and Sunday schools, including The Cathedral School, the William Spyropoulos School of St. Nicholas, and the Saint Demetrios Greek-American School in New York, among others.
In acknowledging the grant, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros said, “We are grateful for the continued support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. With its generosity, our Greek education program in America will continue to grow and inspire the children in our schools. During this pandemic, our families and our parishes find their financial resources very limited. This grant will assist us so that we can continue our important mission.”
“Since its inception twenty-five years ago, SNF has directed significant support toward efforts to sustain and expand modern Greek language and culture studies globally, particularly in North America,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “Greek schools perform a critical service for young people, incubating a love for Greek language that, hopefully, will last a lifetime. We are excited about this collaboration with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its Greek Education Department and hope a centralized and systematic educational approach providing educators and students with important resources and a sense of direction will help schools in Greek-American communities around the country not only survive, but look to a brighter future.”