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Our education and culture, the power of the National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA) of America

The promotion of Greek Education and Culture brought together Greek, Greek – Cypriot and Greek American students from 52 Universities in the United States. The participating chapters-members of the National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA) of America, an organization with exceptional dynamics, unity and vision, established, are Hellenic Student Associations all over the States, in over 40 universities. The association was established two years ago in order to achieve its primary goal, to promote Hellenic Education (Paideia) and Culture, through establishing bonds among students of Greek origin.

Towards this end, the NHSA, organizes a bi-annual convention (one in fall and another in spring), to coordinate the organization’s activities and establish a strong group of dedicated individuals to lead the organization. The ultimate goal of the NHSA Conventions is to bring together student representatives of NHSA member-Chapters (HSAs) with the aim of promoting Hellenic culture, sharing educational experiences and networking.

In his statements to ANAMPA, NHSA President, Yorgos Nikoletakis, a student from Crete, currently studying in Columbia University, stressed, among other things, that the vision of those who established the organization was to unite all students under their common Greek cultural identity. Furthermore, he added that the main principles of the association stem from our cultural heritage, which the NHSA aims to further strengthen and disseminate to the American community.

“Our strength is our teamwork, solidarity and our passion for a better world”, states Yorgos Nikoletakis.

The programs, already promoted by the NHSA, include student exchange projects between American and Greek universities, informative lectures on the current situation in Greece, the establishment of the Greek American Career Center, a website offering resources to students for life beyond university, mainly the opportunity to search for viable internships and job opportunities, the organization of local symposia on professional development etc.

The future goals of the organization involve the establishment of collaborations with the Greek Ministries of Education, Culture and Tourism, on common projects for the promotion of Greek Education and Culture, respectively, but also our country as a tourist resort. Another goal of the organization is to collaborate with existing Youth networks of the organized Greek Diaspora.

This year’s Spring Congress was held from the 8th until the 10th of April in Chicago, under the auspices of SAE U.S.A. Region. The congress was organized and financially supported by the Greek Associations of Loyola University, University of Illinois UIC, North-Western University and DePaul University, and through the private funding from SAE U.S.A. Coordinator, T.G. Spyropoulos.

The congress was successfully held, with the participation of prominent Greek Diaspora figures. Emphasis was placed on professional networking with American companies, one – to – one meetings arranged between students and distinguished figures of the Greek – American and Cypriot – American Community, with the purpose of career counseling etc.

Among the Spring 2011 Congress speakers was T.G. Spyropoulos, Lawyer Endy Zemenides, successful businessman Demetris Logothetis (Ernst & Young) and the President of «Kostas Z» foundation, Kostas Zografopoulos. A common element in their speeches was the encouragement of students to take action and collaborate with the Greek American community, to employ and further develop the existing Greek Diaspora structures. The founder and director of «Kostas Z» foundation, based in Chicago, referred to the power of the psyche and that hardships in life can evolve into creative opportunities. A prime example is Kostas Zografopoulos himself, who suffered a leg amputation, after a car accident in 1995, which led him to seek ways and assist people with disabilities, focusing on improving their outlook and making requests on international level, to facilitate the daily lives of these people.

The congress was also attended, by the Commissioner at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Mariyanna Spyropoulos and Senate Candidate for the Democrat Party, Alexi Yannoulias. Within the context of the Congress, an initiative was taken on behalf of students to create a advisory body to assist the NHSA in its mission. Both Mr. Spyropoulos and Mr. Yannoulias accepted the invitation to become the first two members of the student advisory body.

“The Student Association paves the way for a new organizational form of Greek – American Community youth”, states Mr. Spyropoulos to ANAMPA, adding that “Where we failed as organized Diaspora, i.e. the attraction of younger generations in existing organization, the NHSA achieved, in a rapidly evolving rate and in a professional manner, the collaboration of our youth, not to mention on a national level, through American Universities.

They deserve every support and honestly we have so much to learn from the youth of the Greek Diaspora and Greece”.

The Coordinator of Education in Chicago, Nikos Nikolidakis, praised the initiatives of the NHSA, encouraging students from Greece to teach in Greek Diaspora afternoon schools, after appropriate training. Furthermore, he pointed out the fact that the events of the Association are sponsored by American Universities, which implies that the NHSA is widely accepted and recognized by the U.S. academia.

Rene Schlosser and Evangelos Sfakianakis have been elected as the new NHSA Co-Chairs. The organization of the following Congress has been undertaken by the Boston student group.

Within the context of the Congress, a fundraising event was also held for the purpose of funding the Greek American Environmental Association “Plant Your Roots in Greece” which has been organizing tree-planting activities throughout Greece for the past eleven years.

Source: ANAMPA

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