Scholars' Association News
Issue 43
August 2017


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The Onassis Foundation introduces the ‘One of a kind’ scholarship in recognition of the contribution made by the Adetokunbo brothers

Inspired by the career and ethos of the Adetokunbo brothers, in a symbolic move the Onassis Foundation has introduced for the first time a new undergraduate ‘One of a kind’ scholarship for children who, although born in Greece, have not yet managed to secure Greek citizenship or have only secured it within the last 5 years. Afroditi Panagiotakou, Culture Director at the Onassis Foundation, made the announcement on Saturday, 24 June, winding down a very lively chat with Giannis and Thanasis Adetokunbo.

In a packed hall at the Onassis Cultural Centre’s Main Stage, the Adetokunbo brothers spoke less about basketball and more about the value of career, what it means to be a Greek and about the virtues one needs to climb high in one’s career. The event attracted more than 100,000 views on the Onassis Cultural Centre’s Facebook page.

In recognition of their successful career and the contribution the Adetokunbo brothers have made to sport, while also taking into account how they started out in society, the Onassis Foundation has announced that in the 2017-2018 academic year it will offer a special scholarship for undergraduate studies at a university in Greece.

Between 1978 and the present day the Onassis Foundation has provided 7,000 scholarships to Greek and foreign students and academics. Each year, as part of its scholarship programme, more than 200 scholarships are approved for Greeks (for doctoral and postgraduate studies in Greece and abroad) and foreigners (for postgraduate studies and research in Greece). The special ‘One of a kind’ postgraduate scholarship and the involvement of Giannis and Thanasis Adetokunbo are designed to send out a symbolic message: Let’s try to change how we think. You’re not only born Greek. You become Greek.

The inspiration for the partnership with the Adetokunbo brothers came not only from their success, but also from the character traits of the two Greek athletes such as humility, competitive drive, passion, hard work, and offering something to those who want to get ahead in life but are held back by social or economic exclusion.

The trailer prepared to mark the partnership between the Adetokunbo brothers and the Onassis Foundation was screened for the first time at the event held on 24 June 2017.

Afroditi Panagiotakou, who curated the entire event, referred to the partnership between the Onassis Foundation and the Adetokunbo brothers and the special scholarship the Foundation was launching. She had the following to say: “We are at the Onassis Cultural Centre to talk about 2 guys loved by the whole country, Giannis and Thanasis Adetokunbo. We’ve grown to love them not just because of their sporting achievements, but also because they made us think about a lot of things in Greece and in our life. The Onassis Foundation and the Adetokunbo brothers want to send a joint message: You’re not only born Greek. You become Greek. As a symbolic gesture, we want to establish a scholarship so that a child without Greek citizenship or with Greek citizenship acquired in the last 5 years can study and have an opportunity to make his or her dream a reality. Whatever that dream may be. Because, if nothing else, the Adetokunbo brothers have demonstrated that you need to pursue your dream, no matter how big it seems when you set out on your path. They also showed us that you can carry Greece in your heart, no matter the colour of your skin. We are all bros, ... so here’s to a society of citizens who think with an open mind”.

For his part, Giannis Adetokunbo had the following to say about the partnership with the Onassis Foundation: “I’d like to thank the Onassis Foundation for the chance we have to join forces and send a joint message out to the public. Together we are sending a message to future generations, a message about a society which offers equal opportunities to all its children: Don’t give up! Instead continue to pursue your dream. For Thanasis and me, it is a great honour to see a scholarship established, which is inspired by our efforts and career. It’s a move that fills us with joy, but we also feel a sense of responsibility, to continue to set the right example for the children of the future. We need to support children and send the message that the only place they will get through hard work is high, and that Greece needs to be united, that we need to be one”.

Talking about the partnership, Thanasis Adetokunbo pointed out that, “With the Onassis Foundation, we share a vision about a Greece where one person helps another in the difficult moments our people are facing. We all need to be united and to work hard as a team, as a family, without discord and discrimination. That’s the message we want to send and we are very happy indeed, very enthusiastic, to have found such an important ally, the Onassis Foundation, to help spread that message. Both the event at the Onassis Cultural Centre and the symbolic scholarship established by the Foundation for children like us, children of migrants born here and who are Greeks –even if they have not yet acquired citizenship– is an exceptional initiative, which we will be involved in to the best of our abilities.

The terms and conditions of the ‘One of a kind’ scholarship can be viewed on the Foundation’s website.

(Photographs: Stavros Hambakis)

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