Dean Robert Lieberman announced today that George Papandreou, former prime minister of Greece, will teach a seminar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in the spring 2013 semester.
“It’s a great privilege to welcome George Papandreou to our community as a SIPA Global Fellow,” said Lieberman. “Greece today is a living laboratory for some of the key global public policy challenges of our time — including economic policy, social policy, and more — and I know our students and faculty look forward to learning about decision-making at the very highest level.”
Papandreou’s seminar course will focus on the European financial crises of recent years. The former prime minister has also been invited to speak to the SIPA community at large.
“It is an honor for me to join and contribute to such timely discussions at SIPA,” said Papandreou. “This is a critical juncture, not only for Greece and Europe, but for the developed world at large. New ideas and shared perspectives are critical as we face mounting economic, environmental and democratic challenges on a global level.”
George A. Papandreou served as prime minister from October 2009 to November 2011. He was selected as one of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010 for “making the best of Greece’s worst year.” He previously held government posts including undersecretary of culture, minister of education, and, from 1999 to 2004, foreign minister. As leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement political party, or PASOK, from January 2004 to March 2012, Papandreou launched radical reforms of the Greek party political system.
“George Papandreou has been a leader in challenging times,” said Provost John Coatsworth. “He brings to Columbia and SIPA a wealth of knowledge and experience from more than 30 years as a policymaker in Greece, as a major participant in the development of the European Union and its evolving institutions, and as a thoughtful commentator on a wide range of global public policy issues. I am confident his presence will be of great value to our community.”
Papandreou has received several honors for his work to promote peace and democracy and to fight racism — efforts highlighted by his successful campaign, as foreign minister, to engineer a rapprochement between Greece and Turkey. He is vice chairperson of the International Olympic Truce Foundation, an institution he actively promoted when the city of Athens was awarded the 2004 Olympic Games. An active supporter of the information society and e-democracy, Papandreou was selected in 2003 as one of the “25 People Who Are Changing the World of Internet Politics.”
He graduated from Amherst College and holds an MSc in Sociology and Development from the London School of Economics. Papandreou was a fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs in 1992-93 and a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics in fall 2012.
First elected to parliament in 1981, Papandreou remains an MP today. He has also served as president of Socialist International, an international coalition of like-minded political parties, since his unanimous election in January 2006.
“We’re pleased to give our students access to the insights of such a highly sought-after figure as George Papandreou,” Lieberman added. “There was considerable demand to participate in his informal study group at Harvard last fall and I expect his course at Columbia SIPA will be equally popular.”
Columbia University and SIPA are honored to welcome numerous international leaders to campus each year. Among the former heads of state or government who have received instructional appointments at SIPA are President Mary Robinson of Ireland and Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai of Hungary. In recent years, SIPA has also welcomed distinguished figures including Kofi Annan, a former secretary-general of the United Nations, and Alfred Gusenbauer, a former chancellor of Austria, as lecturing Global Fellows.