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The University of Athens pioneers internationalization | Article by the Rector of NKUA, Professor Gerasimos Siasos, in the newspaper ‘Ta Nea’

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is Greece’s largest Higher Educational Institution. Over the decades, it has forged relationships with many Institutions abroad through bilateral agreements, the European exchange programme Erasmus, and participation in the European Civic University CIVIS.

NKUA enjoys bilateral relations and partnerships with Universities in America (including Harvard, Yale et al.), Europe, and Asia (especially China). To date, it has entered into 800 bilateral agreements with Universities in 63 different countries. The above initiatives, which involve student and faculty exchanges and joint educational and research activities, are essential milestones towards a more internationalized and extroverted NKUA.

An exciting new challenge for NKUA, as has already been pointed out by the University Authorities, is the establishment of branch campuses abroad, which will mark a first-ever in Greek academic history. The oldest University in Southeastern Europe is currently taking one of the most important internationalization steps since its foundation in 1837. A decision by the Senate to begin the preliminary procedures for opening and running a branch campus in Cyprus moves the University closer to this goal.

Although NKUA has consistently demonstrated its extroversion through the mobility of its members of faculty and their interconnections with major Universities and research centres abroad, the choice to establish a branch campus outside Greece represents a paradigm shift that will make profound changes in what is happening in Greek Higher Education in particular and the country in general. The final decision lies with the Senate, which will discuss the much-anticipated integrated feasibility study along with the proposals of the committee tasked with preparing it.

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is a well-known name in the field of Higher Education worldwide and boasts Schools and Departments placing high in global University rankings. Leaving aside the obvious national connotations, the decision to locate an overseas branch campus in Cyprus, will aid our University’s growth, support its ongoing development, and attract students from Asia and Africa. A branch campus in Cyprus will provide significant educational opportunities to young people on the island and contribute to Cypriot academia via joint study programmes that may emerge between local Universities and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Most importantly, NKUA’s branch campus in Cyprus will serve as a link in a worldwide network of relationships and alliances, as well as an ambassador for modern-day Greece abroad. Cyprus, we aspire, will be our first step.

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