Scholars' Association News
Issue 42
June 2017

03/05


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The Onassis Foundation supports school pupil involvement in the Science Olympiads in 2017

In 2017 the Onassis Foundation will continue to support Greek school pupils and the teachers accompanying them who will take part in international or Balkan Science Olympiads. That important announcement came from the Secretary of the Board of the Onassis Foundation, Marianna Moschou, in the presence of the Minister of Education, Research & Religious Affairs, Kostas Gavroglou, at an event hosted by the Onassis Foundation on 30 January 2017 at the Onassis Library. The event was held to honor the 24 school pupils who managed to obtain distinction in the 2016 Science Olympiads earning either a medal or honorable mention.

"What the Onassis Foundation started two years ago has not finished. And we will be here in 2017 as well. And in 2017 the Onassis Foundation, helping the state in these difficult times, will finance top class students attend the International or Balkan Science Olympiads. We hope that the young students achieve recognition; we hope that they make a name for themselves so that we can all feel that Greece is moving forward," said Marianna Moschou. Talking to the winning students she stressed that, "We were deeply moved by your achievements. You made us proud, just like you made your teachers and parents proud. All of us derive great satisfaction from Greece's name being heard abroad in connection with such success. That is the Onassis Foundation's objective: to liberate creative forces within society, giving tools to those who can and want to achieve their objectives".

For his part, Kostas Gavroglou, Minister of Education, Research & Religious Affairs, stressed in his speech that, "I considered it to be my self-evident duty to be here today, and in that regard, I would like to thank the Onassis Foundation for this initiative. I would like to share my own experience garnered from universities in all my years as an academic. Based on my experience, I believe that the standard among Greek students is very high. That is not the case because we have something in our DNA that helps us be so good. Success is due to our schools; despite the incredible shortages and problems, they continue to have something which is helping create a different Greece. Because this is a different Greece," said the Minister and when talking to the pupils who earned distinctions in the 2016 Science Olympiads he pointed out that, "One of the books you can see in the Onassis Library lying open is the work of Chrysanthos Notaras (meaning Introduction of Geography and Spheres, 1716). He was an 18th century priest and one of the first people to bring new scientific ideas to Greece. In the years before the Greek Revolution, there was no certainty about whether those ideas could be spread here. However, you see that priests, who were the intellectuals and scholars of the day, gradually began to introduce the new ideas about physics, chemistry and other sciences into our schools and that means we have a tradition in this area: that our scholars, the very best of us, the top performers, no matter where they are, always come back to their homeland, either through their own physical presence or through the support and assistance they provide. I am convinced that you will use the place which made you who you are today as a point of reference".

Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Communications at the Onassis Foundation referred among other things to the considerable contribution the Onassis Foundation has made to the education sector over the years. "Thousands of scholars, support for primary school education nationwide, emphasis on special education, support for Greek studies around the world, support for education and knowledge as conduits of knowledge, because knowledge acquires strength that is beneficial to society when it is tied into education, when scientists and academics are also citizens. The Onassis Foundation supports education, culture and health as vehicles for social solidarity, assuming the burden to assist the state, to help forge a democratic, open society. In times of crisis, there can be no cutting corners when it comes to visions, goals and dreams. Quite the contrary. More robust dreams are needed. We need to become more robust. The students here today, their teachers and parents represent Greece at its best".

Note that 57 school pupils and 22 teachers took part in this year's International or Balkan Science Olympiads with support from the Onassis Foundation, while 24 pupils managed to achieve distinction winning a gold, silver or bronze medal or an honorable mention. Over the 2 years so far, 103 students (accompanied by 44 teachers) have taken part in the International or Balkan Science Olympiads with support from the Onassis Foundation.


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