12 SEPTEMBER 2011 / The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU

Simon Fraser University announces the establishment of The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies, created through a significant multi-million dollar grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The new Centre will establish Simon Fraser University as one of the premier locations for the study of Greek history, culture, and language outside of Greece.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies will greatly expand the University’s academic programs in Hellenic studies. The Foundation’s grant allows the new Centre to offer an undergraduate program for Greek, Balkan, and Middle East Studies, undergraduate and graduate majors in Greek History (ancient, byzantine and modern) as well as, programs in Greek language, literature and culture. An important element of the new Centre’s support of Modern Greek language will be the training of Modern Greek language instructors for primary and secondary schools in North America.

The Centre will also expand significantly SFU’s current Greek language instruction programs for Chinese-speaking students, which were established through another significant gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The heart of these programs currently is the highly successful Odysseas Online Language Tutor program, which is already used at 15 Chinese universities. The program has been recognized as a pioneer of online Greek language instruction. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Media Lab will build on this platform by developing advanced technology for e-learning and online language tutoring.

The new Centre will also focus on expanding links with Chinese academic institutions and encourage the development of Greek Studies in China.  The Centre’s graduate program will train Chinese scholars in Greek history as well as, teachers to teach Greek language and other Greek-related courses in Chinese universities.  Other activities planned, include the establishment of a Chinese Hellenic Studies Association and the creation of an online academic journal to publish the research work of Chinese scholars in Hellenic Studies as well as, to introduce the research work of Greek scholars in China. 

“At SFU, we are committed to community engagement, and this generous contribution from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will help us engage with a whole new global community,” says SFU President Andrew Petter. “The Stavros Niarchos Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU will build on our successful programs and truly connect education across continents.

Dr. Andre Gerolymatos, Chair of Hellenic Studies at SFU, says, “This gift is the result of a long-term relationship with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The Foundation initially funded the development of our unique online language tutor program, and now we are excited that we will be able to expand our activities in China as well as in North America and Europe.  China, effectively, is the new frontier for Hellenic Studies and can dramatically extend the reach of Hellenism in Asia and the world.”


Since its inception in 1996, Hellenic Studies at SFU has grown into a successful interdisciplinary program with a focus on history and language. Students have the opportunity to explore, research, and learn about archaeology, art and culture, politics, and history of both ancient and modern Greece. The program has consistently maintained high graduate and undergraduate enrolment levels.

SFU’s relationship with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation began in 2003, when the university received a series of generous grants that enabled SFU to create the Odysseas Online Language Tutor. The e-learning platform has since provided accessibility to Hellenic Studies for thousands of students worldwide, most notably in China.

To learn more about The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU, please visit www.sfu.ca/snfchs