UCLA Launches SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture
17 June 2020

The University of California, Los Angeles has announced the formal launch of its Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture.

The Center will be a hub for teaching and research in anthropology, archaeology, art history, classics, digital humanities, Greek, history, and philosophy, and will actively seek to engage the public in its work.

A foundational $5 million grant from SNF in October 2017 sparked an additional $4 million in donations, notably from dozens of members of the Greek-American community.

Hellenic studies draws its vibrancy not only from Greece’s rich history, but also from the fact that its subject is living, lively, and global,” said Stelios Vassilakis, SNF’s Chief of Programs and Strategic Initiatives. “This is reflected in the amazing showing of support from members of the Greek-American community whose donations made the creation of the Center possible. SNF is proud to have been able to help kick this off, and we look forward to seeing all that the Center will continue to offer the field, the communities of the Greek diaspora, and the public at large.”

SNF has made establishing and expanding Hellenic studies programs in a number of academic institutions outside Greece a significant focus at a time when the field as a whole faces diminishing resources. In Canada, the Foundation has supported the SNF Center for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University and McGill Modern Greek Studies; in Turkey, the SNF Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Koç University; in the UK, Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Oxford University; and in the U.S., Yale University’s Hellenic Studies Program and Byzantine Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

The Center at UCLA is making direct connections to Greece, partnering with the Benaki Museum to develop programming for the Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor House in Kardamyli, which was recently restored with lead support from SNF.

Dr. Sharon Gerstel, director of the center at UCLA, remarked, Our work will ensure that the rich history and cultural heritage of Greece—from its earliest days until the Modern era—will be studied, discussed and presented for generations to come, not only to the university community, but also to the general public.