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2014 Foreign Policy Study Trip

American Hellenic Institute Foundation

AHIF is Accepting Applications for its Sixth Annual

College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus

June 18-July 4, 2014

Call for Applications

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) is accepting applications for its travel abroad program aimed to help Greek American college students better understand the core foreign policy issues important to the Greek American community. The program is open to Greek American and Cypriot American college students who are in good academic standing and who are studying political science, international relations, history, government, law and foreign affairs. The 2014 trip is scheduled for June 18 - July 4.

During the two-week trip to Washington, DC, Greece and Cyprus the students will have the opportunity to see and experience first-hand foreign policy issues affecting Greece and Cyprus, their relations with the U.S., and the interests of the U.S. in the region. Although the schedule will be packed with briefings and meetings with officials, the students will also have free time to visit historic and other cultural sites in both Greece and Cyprus.

Prior to departure students will meet in Washington, DC to attend a mandatory briefing about their trip. They will also attend meetings and briefings with Greek, Cypriot and U.S. officials in Washington, Greece and Cyprus. Emphasis will be placed on understanding Greek-Cyprus-Turkish relations, issues affecting the southeastern Mediterranean involving Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

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Eligibility

The program is open to undergraduate or graduate students (rising sophomores to second-year graduate students) with a full-time enrollment status (12 credit hours per semester), and have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA. Program size is limited, and participation is contingent upon acceptance by the program review committee.

  • The deadline to apply is March 31, 2014. Application review begins in January; priority is given to applications received by March 31st; after March 31st, applications are considered on a space-available basis.

AHI President Nick Larigakis will lead the group to Greece and Cyprus. “Since its inception AHIF, has promoted a better understanding of Hellenic issues and strived to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and the United States and Cyprus,” he said. “Over the years we have held conferences on the future of Hellenism in America, and conferences pertaining to our issues to educate and inform U.S. policy makers. Through the College Student Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus we are now able to offer a hands-on experience aimed at our college students to help them have a better understanding and connection of the issues that affect our community and better prepare them to be responsible leaders of the Greek American community.”

Cost and Accommodations:

Hotel accommodations, local transportation and most meals in Washington, DC, Greece and Cyprus will be covered by AHIF. The students will be responsible for the airline tickets from Washington to Larnaca, Cyprus and Athens, Greece and return to the United States (approximately $2,400). The AHIF has secured the services of a travel agency to ease with your travel needs and all arrangements will have to be made through this travel agency. Students will have to make their own arrangements to get to Washington. However, the travel agent will be available to help those that need assistance. Those who wish to extend their stay in Greece should contact the travel agent directly to make those arrangements and make a notation of the dates in the application form. Please note that the cost for an extended trip will be higher and additional form will be required to be completed and signed by you and your parents.

$250 Refundable Deposit

A $250 refundable deposit is required along with your application. You have the option to pay the deposit with a credit card or check payable to “AHIF.” Students selected for participation will have 5-business days to reply to the offer, before the offer may be made to other qualified applicants. Once you have accepted the offer the $250 check will be deposited. If you are not selected for the trip or if you cancel prior to the May 1st deadline, the $250 deposit will be refunded directly to your credit card or your check will be returned back to you. You will only lose your deposit if you were confirmed on the trip and accepted and later cancel. The $250 deposit will be returned to you after the evaluation forms and essays have been received by AHIF at the conclusion of the program.

Who is eligible?

The program is open to Greek/Cypriot American undergraduate or graduate students (rising sophomores to second-year graduate students) with a full-time enrollment status (12 credit hours per semester), and have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA. Fields of study include: political science, international relations, history, government, law and foreign affairs.

How to Apply?

Submit all the items listed below. All items must be received by March 31, 2014 to consider an application complete. Application review begins in January; priority is given to applications received by March 31st; after March 31st, applications are considered on a space-available basis. Students with an expired passport or who do not have a passport should not wait until they have been accepted to the program to renew or apply for a passport.

After we have received your completed application form with all the items listed below (including the $250 deposit), you will receive an email from AHIF confirming that your application is under consideration and asking you to provide us with a date/time to schedule a phone interview. The review committee will review your application and interview report and inform you of your status (acceptance, denial) shortly after April 15th 

Check List of items to be submitted by March 31, 2014:

  1. completed application form.
  2. $250 deposit payable to AHIF;
  3. Student and parents initials and signatures on the waiver of liability/indemnification form;
  4. provide photocopy of health insurance (front & back);
  5. a resume;
  6. official transcript;
  7. a recent high-resolution color headshot (at least 300 dpi in jpg); and
  8. two letters of recommendation.

Submitting the application:

Please send an e-mail to Yola Pakhchanian at yolap@ahiworld.org with the subject line AHI STUDENT TRIP APPLICANT: [Your Name].  In a single e-mail, please attach your documents as a Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files. The letters or recommendation and transcripts can be emailed directly with the subject line AHI STUDENT TRIP APPLICANT [Your Name].

ALSO, COMPLETED AND SIGNED Application forms and checks need to be mailed to:

AHIF Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus
American Hellenic Institute Foundation
1220 16th Street, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20036

How to make your travel arrangements?

Upon acceptance to the program a form will be emailed to you asking you to state the dates of travel and the cities that you will be traveling from. This form will be forwarded to the travel agency. The approximate cost for the round trip ticket from Washington, DC-Larnaca-Athens-back to the US is $2,400. There is an additional cost for those who pay by credit card. Those who wish to extend their stay in Greece should note that the cost for an extended trip will be higher.

For more information about previous trips and the students’ experiences, please click the links below:

For more information contact Yola Pakhchanian at yolap@ahiworld.org.

Student Testimonials and Reflections from the 2013 program

In their own words…

Alexandra LillyIn a wonderfully unique way, the AHI trip is unlike any study abroad trip I have ever heard of before. The program is about bringing together like-minded students with common ethnic backgrounds and similar academic interests to learn first-hand about issues in Greece and Cyprus. All of us on the trip are inherently passionate about what is going on in these countries because of our ethnic background, but the fervor was amplified after meeting with so many gracious people that genuinely wanted to help us learn. We met with so many important, influential people that actually deal with these issues every day. There is such a difference between hearing about these experiences first-hand and asking questions about the issues rather than reading an article about them online.  Prior to this trip, I was amazed by how huge the scope of the Cyprus problem is and how little most Americans know about it, me included. Cyprus is a Westernized country that is a part of the European Union, and it is mind-blowing to know that a country like this is still dealing with an illegal occupation with very limited outside understanding. When we visited occupied Cyprus, we saw desecrated churches, churches that charged money because they have been turned into museums, homes that were destroyed and plundered Greek Orthodox graves, all of which made discussing the politics and atrocities so much more impactful. Also, going to Greece in the middle of the economic crisis and observing the effect it has had on the people of Greece lead to interesting discussions. The AHI Foundation trip provided a wonderful, unique educational experience that I will cherish for years to come. I would highly recommend it to anyone. — Alex Lilly

Alexcia ChambersAHI’s foreign policy trip was truly an incredible experience. Through meetings, discussions, and visits to different sites, I was exposed to every facet of Greek and Cypriot foreign policy. With such an impressive itinerary, we were able to meet with high-level officials of Cyprus and Greece, allowing us to ask serious questions and receive real answers. Each meeting helped me to view thechallenges facing Greece and Cyprus in a completely different way and has made me passionate about the issues. This passion will undoubtedly carry over to all of the work I do in the international relations field, and my hope is that I will be able to inform others in the same inspired way. As Greek Americans, we are in a very unique position to effect change in the way the United States relates to Greece and Cyprus, and the AHI Foreign Policy Trip taught me how to start doing just that. — Alexcia Chambers

Angeline ApostolouAs a student of international relations, the only way I can describe this trip is as a one-of-a-kind experience. The opportunities afforded us on this trip far exceeded any classroom knowledge I have attained. We were talking to real experts who live and work with these foreign policy issues on a daily basis. I have graduated from this trip with a much more in-depth understanding of the policy issues surrounding Greece, Cyprus, and the U.S. I can use everything I have learned to enhance the rest of my academic experience and hopefully my career in foreign policy as well. — Angeline Apostolou

Despina VastakisThe AHI Student Foreign Policy Trip provided me with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see Greece and Cyprus in a new light.  On my first trip to Cyprus, I was truly able to see the conflict gripping the country with our trips to the UN Buffer Zone and the occupied area.  In Athens, we were able to meet with officials to discuss the economic hardships that face the country today.  These experiences have given me the knowledge and showed me how important it is to share this knowledge with others.  I know that I will use this knowledge as I finish school and begin my future career. —Despina Vastakis

Elissa BowlingThe American Hellenic Institute Student Foreign Policy Trip is one of the best opportunities available to Greek and Cypriot American college students. As an International Relations and History double major, the decision to apply for the program was obvious. However, I could never have predicted how comprehensive, well-run, and fun the trip would be. Not only did we meet with top officials, but we were also able to hold long discussions with them on top policy issues and then walk away from the meetings and see those same policies taking shape in the real world. It is one thing to read about issues like the occupation of Cyprus, and quite another to meet with Cypriot officials working on the problem and seeing the occupied side for yourself. The trip also provided venues for a wide range of discussions; we did not meet only with politicians, but also military leaders, newspaper journalists, Orthodox Archbishops, and members of the private sector. Although I went to Greece and Cyprus knowing that my interests lie in international relations and politics, the trip helped me hone in on my specific interests within those broad disciplines, which will in turn inform my decision in classes and afterwards in my career.—Elissa Bowling

George GabrielThe American Hellenic Institute Student Foreign Policy Trip is a fundamental trip in which all Americans should take part. The type of awareness and educational experience is one that cannot be matched by any organization specializing in eastern Mediterranean foreign policy. By taking us to Washington D.C., Greece, and Cyprus, we became entrenched in the foreign policy making decisions made by various international actors. Given the vast depth at which I was able to examine foreign policy issues related to the illegal occupation of Turkish forces in Cyprus, adherence to international laws (specifically in the Aegean Sea), the FYROM name dispute, energy explorations in the Aegean Sea, and the effect of economic crises; I feel the responsibility to educate my American counterparts to live up to our values in the eastern Mediterranean.” — George Gabriel

Panayiota LarigakisThe American Hellenic Institute Student Foreign Policy Trip was an unbelievable experience that I would strongly encourage every Greek American student to participate in. There were absolutely no disappointments throughout the entire two-week program.  I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I, or any participant, will never forget. — Panayiota Larigakis

William FassuliotisThe American Hellenic Institute Student Foreign Policy Trip was a life-altering event. I learned more in the two weeks on the trip than I could have hoped for in months at home or at school. To experience the issues in person, conversing with those whose job is to deal with these issues, provides an understanding impossible to get any other way. — William Fassuliotis

Yianni Constantine KarangelenThe American Hellenic Institute Student Foreign Policy Trip on which I had the opportunity to participate was a once-in-a lifetime experience.  From traveling into the occupied zone in Cyprus, to meeting with President Karolos Papoulias of Greece, it felt as if we had done it all.  We had the opportunity to meet with high-level officials who were all willing to pass on vast amounts of information to us in the effort to enhance our knowledge on the issues affecting foreign policy in the region. — Yianni Karangelen

 

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American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc. (AHIF), established in 1975, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt educational and research organization devoted exclusively to the study of the issues confronting the Greek American community. From our Hellenic House headquarters, just steps from the White House, AHIF’s professional staff works to advance the best interests of the U.S. on issues of importance to Greek Americans.

For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.

 


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