BUPh Enters Fourth Year on Campus

The Boston University Philhellenes (BUPh) completed its third year of existence by signing up 18 students to participate in the 2015 BUPh Summer Study in Athens.  This year’s group—the largest sent to Athens as part of the program—includes many students from BU’s Core Curriculum as well as students from Classics, COM, and Engineering.  Also, for the first time in 2015, the BUPh Summer Study includes students from outside BU:  one student from the University of Wisconsin and one from the University Alabama will join faculty sponsors and instructors Kelly Polychroniou (Modern Greek) and Jay Samons (Greek history) for the program, headquartered at the American College of Greece.

As in previous years, the students in this year’s Summer Study will visit many sites around Greece during their visit.  This year’s itinerary includes Corinth, Nemea, Nauplion, Epidauros, Mycenae, Delphi, and Marathon, as well as the island Hydra and several islands in the Saronic Gulf.  At Epidauros, the students will see a production of Euripides’ Trojan Woman, performed in the best preserved classical theater in Greece. At Delphi they will visit the famous ruins of the temple of Apollo and at Marathon they will visit the site of the battle (in 490 B.C.) between the Persians and the Athenians.

This year’s Summer Study has been made possible once again by grants from Philhellenes and good friends of the Boston University Classical Studies Department and Core Curriculum. The John and Sonia Lingos Family Foundation, HELPIS (created by BUPh Board Member Joyce Deliyiannis), the Alpha Omega Council, and the VII Capital Group (founded by BU Classics alumnus Peter Kyriakoulis) all provided generous funding for student scholarships.  The NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor William Waters has continued the NEH’s support for the program and the Boston University Hellenic Studies Fund has also provided very welcome support for the program.

In addition to the Summer Study, the BUPh enjoyed a very active year in 2014-2015.  BUPh Founders Kelly Polychroniou and Jay Samons appeared several times on WTBU radio to promote the group and the Summer Study.  The BUPh collaborated with the Alpha Omega Council and the Consulate General of Greece in Boston in an essay contest for middle-school students about the Battle of Marathon in conjunction with the annual Boston Marathon. The BUPh Student Association sponsored two “Greek Night” events (one in the fall and one in the spring), that featured Greek food, music, and dancing in the Terrace Lounge of the GSU.

The BUPh was particularly pleased this year that BU Classical Studies alumnus Dr. John Pappas, leader of the Metropolitan of Boston Dance Troup, began a series of classes in traditional Greek dances for BUPh students. The group (including BUPh President Anastasia Kourtis and BUPh Summer Study 2014 alumna Katrice Kemble) then performed at a series of events in Boston.  Beyond this year’s Aristophanes/Plautus performance, the group also performed at Boston’s annual Greek Parade honoring Greece’s National Day of Independence (March 25).  Dr. Pappas’ dance group was a truly “philhellenic” venture, featuring dancers of Greek and non-Greek extraction.

On March 26, the BUPh and the Consul General of Greece in Boston, Ifigenia Kanara, hosted the second annual Lectures in Modern Philhellenism event.  This year, the event featured a debate on the question, “Is the Modern West living up to the example of ancient Greece?”  Classics Professor and Core Director Stephanie Nelson joined Dr. Nicholas Prevelakis (Harvard and the Center for Hellenic Studies) arguing the positive case, while Professor Samons and his colleague Professor Ioannis Evrigenis (Tufts University) argued for the negative.  The event ended with a vote by the audience, which favored the negative case.  This led to strident (and comic) protests from Professor Nelson, who claimed that Professor Samons had packed the audience with students from his Warfare in Antiquity course.  Professor Samons reportedly responded, “No comment.”

Two BUPh students, Joshua Allbright and Anastasia Kourtis, participated in the March 26 event as hosts for the positive (Allbright) and negative (Kourtis) panel.  Moreover, Ms. Kourtis was named the winner of this years Boston University Philhellenes Award and Mr. Allbright won a prestigious summer internship at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Nauplion, Greece.  Joshua Allbright is the first non-Harvard student to hold this internship, which will allow him to put his work in ancient and Modern Greek to good use.