In June 2022, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation granted over $1.2 million to support a collaborative three-year pilot program involving the UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University. The primary aim of this program is to facilitate academic mobility for faculty, staff, and students traveling between these institutions and to bridge the geographical gap between the Greek academic community and the West Coast.

The UCLA-SFU Pilot Program

The pilot program, named Gefyra (meaning “Bridge”), embodies the spirit of collaboration between UCLA and SFU and the initiative’s objectives. By working together, these two institutions magnify their mission through a diverse and collaborative process that fosters creativity, innovation, and new ideas. The program’s logo reflects their shared commitment to promoting the study of Hellenism along the West Coast and beyond, symbolizing the connection between the institutions and serving as a bridge between communities, students, and global knowledge translation. The water element in the logo, inspired by ancient Greek ornamental patterns, symbolizes the program’s impact on the West Coast, disseminating innovative ideas, cultural elements, and the arts internationally. Let Gefyra be the bridge that elevates culture, art, and ideas on regional, national, and international scales.

The program also provides opportunities for authors, artists, and academics to undertake residencies at both institutions. Furthermore, this innovative grant focuses on collaboration and capacity-building, bringing faculty and students to Greece to impart critical research tools, such as language and digital skills, through seminars and classes. Collaborations will unfold along two main axes: a West Coast axis, which leverages existing resources and SNF support to mobilize regional expertise, drawing from a wider geographical scope in the Pacific Rim region, and a West/East axis, aiming to integrate the Centers and students more effectively into modern Greece.

Given the cultural significance of both Los Angeles and Vancouver as artistic hubs, the initiative intends to foster dialogue between Greek writers and performers with academics, artistic foundations, film festivals, and local communities in both cities. Existing programs at both Centers will also expand through stronger collaborations with institutions in Greece.

The Centers and the enhanced West Coast axis will serve as platforms through which Greek cultural and educational content can reach audiences beyond Greece’s borders. This new initiative will harness existing but dispersed resources and relationships to mobilize networks of academic, artistic, and cultural production, inspiring students and lay audiences alike.

Gefyra News

Hellenic Photo Competition 2024

The West Coast Consortium of Hellenic Studies Programs invited undergraduate students to submit one photograph taken in Greece during the summer of 2023 for the Hellenic Photo Competition. The theme of this year’s photo competition was periptera (kiosks). Each submission was accompanied by a description, adding depth to the visual narratives.

In Greece, kiosks sell various items, including newspapers, magazines, snacks, and beverages. They are traditional fixtures of the Greek urban landscape. In recent years, however, their number has decreased substantially. Of the 9,904 kiosks found across Greece in 2010, only 4,985 remain open for business today. The reduction in their number makes their documentation imperative.

The winner of the competition was Karla Paniagua Barajas of California State University, Sacramento, whose photograph, Kindness, depicted a peripteras, a kiosk owner who, in addition to selling everyday items, also provided directions and assistance to Karla who was late to catch a flight. Her photograph serves as a poignant reminder of the central role of the peripteras in daily life, a role that has been enshrined in popular literature and music.

Anika Sosa (University of California, San Diego) and Nikitas Politis (University of California, Santa Cruz) received honorable mention in the competition.

Gefyra Resources

Hellenic Resources for Incoming Undergraduate Students

Hellenic Resources for Incoming Undergraduate Students

The aim with this handbook is to assist incoming university students in exploring the rich world of Hellenic Studies, particularly in West Coast North America. It serves as a comprehensive guide to Hellenic Studies classes, esteemed faculty, diverse programs, educational scholarships, and exciting community groups and events offered by institutions throughout the west coast. By linking Hellenic Studies programs across the region, this handbook fosters a sense of community and inclusivity, providing valuable insights into neighboring areas and facilitating the dissemination of knowledge and opportunities. We are committed to promoting a vibrant community that embraces diversity and celebrates the beauty of Hellenic culture.

The universities currently mentioned in this booklet include:

  • The University of Arizona – Page 4
  • University of Washington – Page 6
  • University of California, Los Angeles – Page 8
  • Loyola Marymount University – Page 10
  • University of Victoria – Page 11
  • California State University, Sacramento – Page 13
  • University of California, San Diego – Page 15
  • University of California, Berkeley – Page 17
  • University of Victoria – Page 19
  • University of British Columbia – Page 21
  • Simon Fraser University – Page 23
  • University of Calgary – Page 25
* Pilot-Program-Toolkit.pdf
Gefyra Toolkit