Education and Integration for all
Education for all, synergies that give hope for our future and young students who dream of a bright and happy world were celebrated on Thursday, June 13, 2019. The Completion Ceremony of the Youth-to-Youth Educational & Social Integration Programs of the 2018-2019 academic year took place at ACS Athens campus in a warm and inspiring atmosphere.
The Youth-to-Youth Programs are delivered by ACS Athens to unaccompanied refugee minors in collaboration with The HOME Project Organization, with the generous support of the Shapiro Foundation and IKEA Foundation. This academic year is the third year that the part-time and full-time Youth-to-Youth Programs are running, proving in action how educational institutions have the power to respond to the deep problems of today’s world and find reliable partners to do so.
For all participating students and faculty members, this event was a celebration of a year full of knowledge and friendships, a touching celebration of life moving forward. The students shared their experiences from being a part of the Youth-to-Youth programs, either as students or as volunteer teachers, both sides expressing the same thought: “we learned from each other, we learned from each other’s culture and history, we are friends for life.” Performing dances, singing and smiling, the students shared their talents, dreams, and future aspirations together with their dedication to keeping up their hard work for their next steps in education.
The Director of Youth-to-Youth Educational and Social Integration Programs and Academy Vice Principal, Ms. Julia Tokatlidou hosted the ceremony and proudly introduced the exceptional young participants of the program, some of whom have started only a few months ago but are already part of the ACS Athens family.
The Executive Director of THE HOME Project Organization, Ms. Sofia Kouvelaki, reminisced about how this program initially started, expressing her pride in its progress and urged all attendees to think out of labels, such as ‘refugee’ or ‘unaccompanied minor’, but to think of the young students as people who do not give up their right to dream.
Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, ACS Athens President, expressed his gratitude towards the Shapiro Foundation and the IKEA Foundation for their support and highlighted the importance of educational institutions stepping up to face today’s world crisis. Dr. Gialamas announced that ACS Athens has reached an agreement with two universities in the U.S. and one in Ireland, to ensure graduate scholarships for the top Youth-to-Youth students, urging them: “Take the opportunity, excel, do not just be mediocre, and become tomorrow’s leaders who will change the world.”
The Youth-to-Youth Programs will continue making an impact and will keep growing. For the academic year 2019-2020, the Shapiro Foundation has granted 18 full-time scholarships in ACS Athens for the HOME Project children, securing the opportunity to continue their studies at a leading educational institution.