“USA & Greece: Celebrating 200 Years of Friendship” is a year-long campaign launched by the US embassy in Greece to commemorate Greece’s 1821 War of Independence highlighting the historic relationship between the two countries as well as their present and future partnership. Through the campaign events, the role that the American Philhellenes played in Greece’s struggle for independence, but also the contribution of the ancient Greek ideals to the founding of the United States will be illustrated.
A lesser-known story concerning the impact of the Greek revolution on the abolition of slavery in the US will also be revealed. The USA-GR contemporary strategic partnership regarding education, research and digital technologies is equally celebrated through the campaign. The US embassy will fund several programs throughout 2021, partnering with Greek and American civil society, educational, and arts institutions.
The campaign events
• The “American Philhellenism” Exhibition at the Museum of Philhellenism: a special exhibition entitled “The American Philhellenism” at the Museum of Philhellenism in Athens, featuring unique artifacts and historical documents capturing the birth and evolution of Philhellenism, US support for the Greek Revolution, and the impact of Greek cuulture on the values, institutions, artistic and architectural expressions in the US. The Museum on Philhellenism is founded by the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) in cooperation with the Prefecture of Attica with the aim to explain the birth and evolution of Philhellenism but also explore and build relations of friendship and cooperation launching a new Philhellenic movement of the 21st century.
• Exhibition “The Free and the Brave: American Philhellenes and the Glorious Struggle of the Greeks (1776-1866):” at the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, this will be an exhibition exploring the movement of Philhellenism that flourished in the U.S. in the 19th Century, influenced by Greek classical thought and democratic ideals. The exhibition, that will also be available online, is based on rare archival materials from the Gennadius Library as well as paintings and philhellenic objects from museums and private collections in Greece. Emphasis also is given to a little-known topic: the role Greek emancipation played in the progress toward the abolition of slavery in the United States. As the medieval art historian and Director of the Gennadius Library Maria Georgopoulou explains “by highlighting the impact of one of the most famous statues by an American sculptor (Hiram Powers’s The Greek Slave), the exhibit seeks to enlighten viewers about the empathetic connection between Greek victims of Ottoman oppression and African slaves in America”.
American Studies: scholarships towards the establishment of an American Studies curriculum at a Greek university.
• “Greek Fire”: a seminar at the Delphi Economic Forum and online report on the lasting impact that the Greek Revolution has had on American culture andpolitics.
• Virtual Entrepreneurship Project “Connect the Dots”: a virtual entrepreneurship mentoring program conducted in partnership with The Hellenic Initiative (THI), this program will provide online mentorship by U.S. business leaders to Greek entrepreneurs. This program is placed under the auspices of the “Greece 2021” Committee.
• Athens Science Festival 2021 – 200 Years of Innovation: an experiential space will be created, comprising multiple exhibits that refer to the historical anniversary and the evolution of the Greek state, highlighting areas of shared scientific excellence with the U.S. and featuring prominent American speakers. This program is placed under the auspices of the “Greece 2021” Committee.
• Greek National Opera, Stavros Niarchos Hall: the Greek National Opera will present two special musical performances of works reflecting the shared values of the U.S. and Greece.
• City of Sparta: Sparta will host a conference on American Philhellenes and conduct a range of programs throughout 2021 to commemorate the bicentennial.
• U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki: the creation of an exhibit that chronicles the history of the Consulate General and the U.S. presence in Thessaloniki.