News release

A new partnership between the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and Hellenic Canadian Congress of BC uses Byzantium to connect Greek youth of the diaspora to their culture and heritage

October 23, 2020

Why should young people care about the Byzantine Empire?

The SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University, in collaboration with the Hellenic Canadian Congress of BC, hope to answer this question with the launch of a new online series called What is Byzantium?

Beginning this Wednesday, October 28th, the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies will host free online workshops for youth aged 6-12. The series will be tailored specifically for young learners in the Greek diaspora across the province, as part of a larger partnership between the two entities to promote online education for youth affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The partnership aims to fill the gap in learning brought about the pandemic, by allowing young Greeks to continue developing their interest in Hellenism, their own culture and their heritage, at a time when Greek Schools and other after-school programs have been forced to postpone their operations.

The online series will be led by Jovana Anđelković, a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University affiliated with the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies. Her research focuses on Byzantine letter-writing and political culture in Byzantium.

Students will have the ability to explore an empire whose history spanned eleven centuries and whose influence continues to be felt in modern practices of religion, law, politics, and culture.

Parents and guardians can expect this ten-workshop series to prompt students to ask, and inspire asking, a myriad of questions: what is Byzantium? What stories can we tell about its past? Who were the emperors? And who are their soldiers? What did the Byzantines learn in their schools? And what in their churches? How did they entertain themselves? Each class will cover one ‘chapter’ that begins with a question and, every week, the students will encounter interactive, task-based workshops that will guide them towards building the answers. In a hands-on approach to original sources such as histories, coins, images or letters, the tale of Byzantium is endowed with the opportunity to migrate from pages of school books to a very vivid, tangible element of our own past and present. This will include drawing medieval cities, designing imperial coinage, solving Byzantine riddles, visiting a Constantinopolitan classroom, reading ancient jokes, and learning how to write histories and embrace this millennia-old civilization.  

Workshops will be held one to two times per week beginning October 28th until December 16th, 2020.

Registration is now open! To learn more about the program and how to register, access the What is Byzantium Series web page.

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