THE HELLENIC LINK, Inc.
Member Update- BULLETIN
Editorial Committee: Ahilleas Adamantiades, Evangelia Georgoulea, Maria-Eleftheria Giatrakou, Dean C. Lomis, Katherine Efthymiatou-Stabile
Contributing Editors: Dimitrios Oreopoulos, Andreas Adams, Evangelos Calamitsis
Acting Editor: Constantine Efthymiou
No. 90, October, 2010
Hellenic Link News in Brief
John Balis: A Great Hellene and Colleague Has Left for Eternity
The community of the Hellenic Link and its Friends has been deeply saddened by the sudden departure last August of John Balis, Professor Emeritus of Pathology at the Medical School of South Florida and President of the American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture (AFGLC). His demise marks a great loss of an outstanding leader from our midst. John toiled strenuously for the benefit of the Greek-American community, for its educational, cultural and social elevation via a substantially sponsored
program aimed at the creation of viable centers of Hellenic Studies in American universities. Especially, he endeavored to create across the land a mutually beneficial relationship between Greek communities and local institutions of higher learning. The themes of the last two Annual Educational Fora/Conferences of AFGLC, which he organized and chaired provide eloquent evidence of the quest of his life: “Hellenism and the University: Approaches for Promoting Hellenic Studies in American Universities” (2009), and “Hellenic Values in a Global Civilization: Engaging the Colleges, Universities and Citizens” (2010). It was in the context of the latter Conference, that the Advisory Council of the Hellenic Link had occasion to get to know him, to recognize and appreciate his warm and generous personality and openness. John Balis embraced the Hellenic Link in this collaboration and with his encouraging congeniality he provided a strong incentive to our members to prepare and deliver a series of papers for the AFGLC Conference, matching its Theme. The appreciation of what John represented and with fervent zeal practiced has been widely felt by colleagues and co-workers. We are all indebted to him. As “οι περιλειπόμενοι,” we owe to him to redouble our efforts to fill the void of his departure, and continue in his legacy the pursuit of the causes of Hellenism until fulfillment. CJE
In his memory, we print here a letter of sympathy and praise by one of his and our colleagues:
“ I am deeply saddened by the news of the sudden loss of Professor John Balis. His loss is a huge loss not only for his family and friends but also for the AFGLC community and Hellenism. He was a great visionary and a very generous man. I had the opportunity to work with him in the frame of the last two AFGLC Conferences and it was a blessing collaborating with him. In every discussion I held with Professor Balis I could discern his deep concern about the future of the Hellenic cause and of the Greek language in particular. His dedication and tireless efforts left a great impression on me and I will always cherish the warmth and generosity of his personality. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
With my deepest condolences,
Vassiliki Rapti, Ph.D.
Preceptor in Modern Greek
Modern Greek Studies Program, Harvard University, Department of the Classics
A Busy Review- and- Planning H-L Meeting Takes Place in Athens
On September 30, 2010 the local Section of the Hellenic Link in Athens held a significant
Meeting under the direction of Academician George Contopoulos, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The Meeting was hosted at the Research Center of Astronomy and Applied Mathematics of the Academy of Athens. In attendance were several academicians, a number of university professors and many other members and co-workers of the Hellenic Link in Athens. The President of H-L, Dr. C. Efthymiou, visiting Athens at the time, was also present. After introductory greetings by academicians G. Contopoulos and A. Kounadis, Dr. Efthymiou was asked to review briefly recent activities of the H-L and to outline current prospects. In the context of his report, many comments were offered by other participants. The team members who initiated the history-making first distance teaching of the Greek language from the Department of Informatics of the Academy to a class of senior students at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, led by Prof. Tom Papademetriou, commented on their experience with the project. Prof. George Bozonis related how the teaching team of volunteers was formed and prepared for the teaching challenge presented to them. Astrophysicist Dr. Christos Efthymiopoulos referred to the technical interaction between the Academy’s Informatics Department and the homologous facility at Stockton College, which made possible the successful conduct of two experimental but real sessions of language instruction. Doctoral candidate teacher Mrs. Sophia Salapata expressed the sensational excitement she experienced over the responsiveness to her teaching by the American students who were sitting in their classroom thousands of miles away. Dr. Efthymiou added comments on several possible aspects for the continuation of a similar distance teaching format that would be useful on the American scene presently and in the future.
The “Modular Teaching of Hellenic Cultural Themes” concept and particularly the didactic challenge of presenting the theme “Byzantine Civilization” was discussed by Dr. Taxiarchis Kolias, Professor at the U. of Athens and Director of the Institute of Byzantine Research at the National Research Foundation (EIE). A lively discussion ensued his presentation of current plans to have scholars of his Institute develop jointly with Hellenic Link experts suitable teaching aids for the subject.
Dr. Efthymiou then referred to on-going efforts in America, initiated by the H-L, for the purpose of developing standards for the teaching of Modern Greek in American schools. He remarked that for this purpose, a task force of scholars and educators of a broadly representative composition has been formed, and in cooperation with the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages(ACTFL), has started work so that Modern Greek can be added to the repertory of foreign languages officially sanctioned for teaching in schools of the U.S.A. In connection with the fledgling revival of Greek language studies in North America, he also mentioned that soon the H-L, in close cooperation with the Institute for Language and Speech Processing (ILSP) will post on its Web Site in e-linkage the online program “filoglossia+,” which teaches Greek to English speaking classes of students as well as individual learners to a remarkable level of proficiency . In connection with the efforts of the Hellenic Link to disseminate the teaching of Modern Greek in America, two young faculty members of the Department of Linguistics of the National Capodistrian University of Athens who were present at the meeting: Associate Professor Spyridoula Bela and Viky Zouka, MA, pledged their cooperation and support of the H-L efforts for the advancement of the Greek language, especially in the context of a training program for teachers of Greek as foreign language. Byzantine Researcher Dr. Gerasimos Merianos, Mrs. Vivi Potamousi, and other educators present, offered to volunteer their services for projects reviewed at this meeting. We welcome all of them with joy and thank them with grateful humility.
Building Infrastructure for Hellenic Education in America
We are pleased to inform the members of the Hellenic Link as well as the community at large that a task force Committee has been formed under the auspices of the Hellenic Link, Inc., charged with the task of writing/developing a set of National Standards for
Teaching/Learning Modern Greek in schools throughout America, both public and private, and for all grades, K through College. The relevant document to be developed,
upon approval by the American Council for Teaching Foreign Languages(ACTFL), will be included in the next volume of the National Standards, currently containing such
standards for 12 foreign languages except Modern Greek.
The committee formed by volunteer professionals includes competent scholars and educators representing the full K-16 range of teaching experience and most Greek- teaching constituencies in America. The Committee’s composition is as follows:
Dr. Peter Bien, Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Dartmouth College
Nancy Biska, Modern Greek Instructor, Adelphi University
Dr. Gregory Fulkerson, Education Associate for World Languages and International Education, Delaware Department of Education
Dr. Constantine Hatzidimitriou, Senior School/District Improvement & Project Director, NYC Board of Education
Dr. Maria Hnaraki, Director of Greek Studies, Drexel University
Stella Kokolis, Federation of Hellenic Educators and Cultural Associations, President
Aristotle Michopoulos, Professor and Chairman of the Greek Studies Department, Hellenic College/Holy Cross
Dr. Eva Prionas, Lecturer in Modern Greek; Coordinator, Special Language Program, Stanford University; President, Modern Greek Language Teachers Association (MGLTA), under National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), under ACTFL.
Dr. Vassiliki Rapti, Preceptor in Modern Greek, Harvard University
Dr. Vasiliki Tsigas-Fotinis, Instructor of Education, Caldwell College, Caldwell, NJ; Hellenic Link Coordinator, Standards for Modern Greek Language Learning Project
At present, the Committee is preoccupied with the drafting of a preliminary set of principles and standards for learning Greek. According to plan, the draft will be elaborated and enriched when the Committee will meet formally just prior to the Annual ACTFL Conference in Boston, MA on November 18-20, 2010. A second meeting, real or virtual, is planned for February 2011. Following it, an advanced draft of the “Greek Standards” will be submitted to a board of reviewers in May 2011. A revised copy will be posted on several web sites (including MGLTA and H-L) for feedback by the educational community and the public. The final copy of the “Greek Standards” will be readied by October 21, 2011 for presentation at the ACTFL Conference to be held on November 18-20, 2011 at Denver, Colorado. It is hoped that the final set of standards will be ratified at that Conference and approved for inclusion in the 4th Edition of National Standards as well as for wide dissemination to the state educational systems via professional channels.
It is further envisaged and planned that after completing the above process of National Standards for Teaching Greek, the Committee will be engaged in creating standards for
Greek Language Teacher Training and Certification.
Vassiliki Tsigas-Fotinis, Ph.D.
Coordinator of the Project
Action of H-L in Support of Distance Teaching of Modern Greek
Following the successful experimental testing of Modern Greek teaching in America by teleconferencing under its auspices( see Bulletin No. 88 ), the Hellenic Link is now introducing online teaching of the Greek language through its web site channel. The new program comes to supplement an increasing number of efforts by public and private organizations to satisfy the growing interest in learning the Greek language. The H-L effort utilizes the “filoglossia+” system of language teaching developed by the Institute for Language and Speech Processing/ “Athena” Research Center of Greece, which authorized us to disseminate it through e-linkage. The system addresses particularly adult, English-speaking learners with little or no previous knowledge of Modern Greek. “filoglossia+” is also available off-line in a multimedia CD/ROM format. In the web edition, which is offered gratis, the user may navigate freely in the contents of 15 Chapters that have been implemented so far. Every chapter is structured in 4 sections:
dialogue, vocabulary, grammar, and useful phrases, with each section including both
theory and language activities aiming at the development of all language skills.
This courseware is based on the communicative approach and focused on the production and comprehension of both oral and written speech. In addition to language teaching per se, the program includes rich audio-visual material related to various aspects of the Greek culture and civilization. This teaching system is amenable to use either in a class of learners or as a tool for individual self-learning.
We view the availability of this learning resource as giving a significant boost to the expansion of Modern Greek knowledge and use and we are very pleased to offer it as a service to our members and their families, indeed to many more families of Hellenes of the “Diaspora” as well as to those who wish to become communicants of- the expression is of poet Vretakos- “the language of angels.”
In the homepage of our web Site, the resource is readily accessible: by clicking on: Learning Greek and by following instructions.
Improving Quality of Life for Caregivers Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease
Editor’s Note. We are pleased to bring to the attention of our readers the following report
on social welfare activities of some of our members, benefiting the Hellenic community.
During the evenings of October 5 and 6, two similar events took place, respectively at the Archangel Michael Church (Port Washington, L.I.) and at the Frank Parlamis Hellenic Senior Citizens’ Center of St. Demetrios Church (Jamaica, Queens). This writer was present at the latter event which drew a capacity crowd with standing room only; he will highlight some salient features of this remarkable groundbreaking happening.
Father Constantine Kalogridis opened the event with a prayer and then commented on the role of religion and spirituality in care - giving for the behavior/psychological changes intrinsic in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. James Lolis (M.D.) from the Division of Geriatrics at North Shore LIJ University Hospital gave a bilingual overview of the biological and psychiatric features of this irreversible disease. He cited some risk components and other factors, which may impact the onset of Alzheimer’s, such as diabetes, diet, physical and mental exercises, genes, and so forth. This writer cited some of the advantages of support (i.e., emotional support, collegiality, opportunity to learn and ventilate). He added a bit of humor to his comments as a way of allaying the fear which manifested itself in the faces of some attendees as well as the effect apparently caused by some of their questions asked.
Mr. Fred Jenny, the Executive Director of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF, Port Washington) and Ms. C.Golden-Bock, Licensed Social Worker, spoke about
LIAF’s programs. These include respite for caregivers, friendly visits to the homes of diagnosed individuals so as to relieve the caregivers, and the family caregiver support groups. They distributed a needs - assessment questionnaire to determine the attendees’ needs and wants.
Ms. Angela Floratos (BSN/RN) served as interpreter for the LIAF staff.
It is hoped by all the professionals who have been involved in the outreach activities, that caregivers will proactively organize and participate in future bilingual support groups with Ms. Floratos and LIAF clinical staff acting as facilitators.
Andreas Adams, MPA, MSW, Ed.D..
Professionals and students in every discipline or field of endeavor, whether of Greek Descent or Philhellenes, are cordially invited to join the Hellenic Link, Inc. as members. It is quite easy and useful! Just contact us at any of the indicated addresses
THE HELLENIC LINK, Inc.
A NON PROFIT CULTURAL AND SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION
OF HELLENES AND PHILHELLENES
INCORPORATED IN DELAWARE
Suite No. 278, 38-11 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, New York 11105
Web Site: http://www.helleniclink.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Telephone : (718) 217- 0430
We are pleased to bring to the attention of the Members of the Hellenic Link, Inc.,
its Advisory Council on Hellenic Education and the Task Force Committee for the Development of National Standards for the Teaching of Modern Greek the following Invitation:
I N V I T A T I O N
You are cordially invited to attend our Washington, D.C. event “Marathon: 2500 years later” on October 22, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., at the Capitol (Room 2325), Washington, D.C.
This historic event is organized by the Federation of Hellenic American Educators under the auspices of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad U.S.A. Region and the Greek Embassy in Washington.
The event is dedicated to the historical 2500th anniversary since the Battle of Marathon,
marking the bestowment of the Classical Greek culture, the ideals od democracy, freedom, dialogue and dialectic, philosophy and science, art and humanism to a Europe of the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
Representatives of the U.S. Government and leading members of the Greek Diaspora will be present for the event. The program includes presentations made by students of Greek-American and American origins.
RSVP: 917 7552127
Our bus will depart from 84-35 152 Street, Jamaica NY 11432 at 6:00 a.m.
T.G.Spyropoulos, Stella Kokolis
President, World Council of President, Federation of Hellenic
Hellenes Abroad American Teachers, S.A.E. U.S.A. Region, Educational Committee