"Like its mother institution in the United States, the CHS in Greece is dedicated to researching ancient Greek civilization and the humanistic ideals of the Greeks, which continue to be relevant to the arts and sciences," says Ioannis Petropoulos, Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece at the time and Director Emeritus since March 2019." Now in its tenth year, the Center in Greece has achieved a unique intellectual and cultural personality and voice—and role—in the Hellenic Republic and well beyond." The Center (CHS Greece) has transformed over the years from a CHS branch office to an institution parallel to the Center in Washington, DC. Its mission has evolved from providing classics-oriented academic support to serving as an interdisciplinary nexus for Harvard University abroad, fostering collaboration among scholars, students, and researchers worldwide.
Gregory Nagy, Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Comparative Literature at Harvard and Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, explains that an ideal that drives the programs of Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece is what he once described as an Ecology of Civilization in Classical Inquiries 2018.02.08:
"Such an ecology comes alive in the words of an oath sworn in ancient times every year by new generations of young Athenians on the occasion of their initiation into citizenship: 'I will leave to the next generation', they swore, 'the land of my ancestors in a condition that is not diminished but instead greater and better than it had been before'. This sacred wording, known today as the Oath of the Ephebes (῎Εφηβοι), equated the safeguarding of the Environment with the preservation of Democracy.
I see here an encoding of Civilization or Πολιτισμός itself—as the ancient Greeks understood it. Such is the legacy of Greece today, in a troubled world where people both young and old are longing for a restoration of Nature and of Humanity itself—by striving to rediscover the ideal of a true Democracy."
CHS Greece has evolved into an important node of Harvard's international network. In this context, it organizes, collaborates on, and supports a variety of programs, study abroad seminars, workshops, lectures, symposia, and other activities addressed to the Harvard community as well as to the Greek and global academic worlds and the general public. These activities focus on the humanities, but also include other academic and scientific disciplines, such as social sciences. Meanwhile, while new programs and activities with a focus on other sciences are in development, based on the interdisciplinarity that characterizes all of the Center's activities.
The Center has collaborated with scholarly institutions such as schools, universities, and museums in Greece and the United States, as well as in other parts of Europe and around the world.
CHS Greece has welcomed and hosted thousands of school students, undergraduates, and graduate students in its own and affiliated programs. Even before its formal inauguration, the Center supported Harvard activities in Greece from 2002 to 2007 by hosting dozens of students and Harvard faculty. From 2008 to 2018, the Center's activities have been constantly expanding, bringing Harvard to the world and the world at Harvard.
The Center has developed several important collaborations at the University for activities and programs taking place in both Greece and Cambridge, MA.