News release

Members of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU, Greek diaspora youth and educators talk StaEllinika with the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis

June 24, 2020

On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis and government officials participated in a video conference with the Director of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Dr. Dimitris Krallis, staff working on the StaEllinika initiative, as well as children and teachers from five continents currently using StaEllinika. StaEllinika is an online platform and suite of apps designed in Vancouver, BC, and Athens, Greece by an international team of experts to teach the Modern Greek language to learners in the Diaspora. This innovative platform was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The platform appeals to a wide range of students, ranging from preschool-age children to young adults. StaEllinika has already reached 110 countries and garnered 11,000 registrations since the launch of it’s beta version at the end of April. 

Participating in the call alongside the Prime Minister, was the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, HE Elpidoforos, Dr Anastasios Koularmanis, Director of Greek Education (Archdiocese) Minister to the Prime Minister, Akis Skertsos, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Greeks Abroad, Konstantinos Vlasis, and the head of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Chrysoulakis.

The Prime Minister thanked those responsible for the initiative, including the General Secretary for Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and the creators of StaEllinika, the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU. His remarks included recognition of the generous donations made by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, not only in the sponsorship of StaEllinika, but also in the establishment and endowment of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU in 2011. Mr. Mitsotakis additionally recognized the instrumental efforts of the late Professor André Gerolymatos, the Centre’s founding director, who worked tirelessly to expand the teaching of Greek language and culture through technology, both at the university and beyond.

The Prime Minister also discussed the success of the platform in bringing Greek history, mythology and language alive for young students in the diaspora as well as non-Greeks. This excitement for StaEllinika was evident in the comments of the diverse group of children and educators participating in the call. Young Greek learners and their teachers from 16 schools around the world, including Buenos Aires (Argentina), Los Angeles (USA), Vancouver (Canada), Kinshasa (DR Congo), as well as Europe and Australia, shared their positive experiences with StaEllinika and the impact of Greek culture on their education and future career aspirations. Incentive for StaEllinika to engage internationally continues to grow. Though the platform is currently configured for English speakers, adoption in French, Spanish and German is already underway. Recognizing these efforts, the prime minister shared his desire to increase accessibility and usage of StaEllinika. He also acknowledged plans to use the platform for the celebration of the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence in 2021.

For more information about the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and its programs, please visit our Media page.

To learn more about StaEllinika, please visit the program website. You can download the iOS versions of the app from the Apple app store.