Cultural Attaché Discusses U.S.-Greek Ties with Webster Athens Students
December 15, 2020
The strong ties between Greece and the United States through intercultural and educational exchange were illuminated by the Cultural Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Greece, Jennifer Schueler, as she spoke to Webster Athens students worldwide via Zoom.
As an honored guest and lecturer during the Nov. 10 virtual "Cultural Attaché Lecture Series," the Cultural Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Athens had a long discussion with students of diverse cultural backgrounds. Schueler answered all of their questions on cultural diplomacy and the people-to-people ties between the United States and Greece.
“Our goal is to highlight our shared values, promote mutual understanding, and strengthen the ties between our two countries,” Ms. Schueler noted in her presentation to Greek and international university students.
“Our focus is on weaving those elements into the programs that we support in diverse areas including STEM, culture, entrepreneurship, capacity building in civil society, educational exchange, and support for human rights and vulnerable groups,” Schueler said.
Schueler is a Public Diplomacy-coned Foreign Service Officer who has worked with the U.S. Department of State since 2005. Before coming to Greece, she most recently served in mainland China with tours in the U.S. Embassy Beijing Press Office and as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu. She has also served at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea and at the U.S. Consulate General in Milan, Italy.
Schueler was joined during her presentation by two of her colleagues from the U.S. Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Office: Eleni Alexaki, Senior Cultural & Educational Affairs Specialist; and Dimitra Lucas, Cultural Affairs Specialist.
Engaging local communities outside of Athens and Thessaloniki is also one of the Embassy’s priorities, according to Schueler, who highlighted the Embassy’s “American Spaces,” innovative labs offering STEM/STEAM skills to youth throughout Greece with locations in Athens, Veria, Sparti, Xanthi, and Corfu.
Our focus is ... diverse areas including STEM, culture, entrepreneurship, capacity building, support for human rights and vulnerable groups
Graduate and undergraduate students of different fields had the opportunity to get acquainted with the activities of the U.S. Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Office. They were impressed by the lecture.
Greek student Nikolas’ interest was “sparked by the dynamic way programs integrate with each other to create a unique experience for students.” Joel, of Syrian origin, was fascinated by the way “history is linked with people,” and Elisaveta, from Russia, found the lecture “absorbing, full of useful information” while offering “new knowledge on the concept of working in diplomacy.”
Lado from Georgia saw clearly that “communication is a key element in bilateral relations” and that “it makes sense to make programs accessible to as many people as possible,” as Cultural Office representatives ensured. Ivy, a student from the Philippines, commented that “using technological innovations and virtual programming to show America’s best practices is extremely interesting.”
Dr. Peggy Manouka, assistant professor and admissions director at Webster Athens, coordinates the Cultural Attaché Series. She closed the session by expressing her gratitude to the U.S. Attaché and her team.
“It was our distinct pleasure to attend the thrilling story of United States’ relations with Greece through the U.S. Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Office," she said. "Thank you for the unique experience you offered us and for explaining to our students the significance of cultural-educational, action-oriented exchange for today’s societies.”
About the Lecture Series
The "Cultural Attaché Lecture Series" is a new program started this Fall at Webster Athens with significant participation of students from Greece and around the globe, with lectures from Cultural Attachés of foreign embassies in Athens. The lecture series focuses on "impactful multicultural perspectives" and intends to familiarize students with foreign diplomacy and multicultural cooperation at the official bilateral state levels.
Pictured at top, from the U.S. Cultural Attaché’s visit to Webster Athens in February 2020 just before the Covid-19 pandemic (left to right): Eleni Alexaki, U.S. Embassy Senior Cultural Affairs Specialist;, Associate Professor Vasilis Botopoulos, Webster Athens Rector and Managing Director; Assistant Professor Peggy Manouka, Webster Athens Director of Admissions; Jennifer Schueler, Cultural Attache of the U.S. Embassy in Greece;, Professor Susie Michailides, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs; and Marina Cheilisti, U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Specialist