Volunteer Athens Greeters give a warm welcome to the world!

As Athens neared a record-breaking 5 million visitors this year, our "Greeters program", coordinated by the Athens Partnership, made sure a warm welcome awaited tourists. A huge thank you goes to out to our 120 enthusiastic volunteers who were engaged in this City of Athens project that was successfully completed a few days ago with the support of The Hellenic Initiative, Aegean Airlines and Athens International Airport.

This video shows how the Athens Greeters are shared their love for their city and their intimate knowledge of Athens with the world!

The Athens Greeters program is part of the Athens Tourism Partnership, a wider effort to boost the tourist influx and local economy. The Athens Tourism Partnership aims to promote the Greek capital as a modern, attractive year-round destination.

Athens Digital Lab: An innovative venture that changes Athens and supports youth entrepreneurship

An initiative of the Athens Partnership, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), COSMOTE and Nokia, with an exclusive grant by the SNF.

The creation of the Athens Digital Lab, an innovative venture that aims to change Athens though revolutionary digital solutions, was announced today. Funded by an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the Athens Digital Lab brings together the City of Athens with COSMOTE, Nokia and SNF, in a groundbreaking venture coordinated by the Athens Partnership. This unique smart city research and development laboratory will support innovative solutions that will improve the quality of life of Athens’ residents and visitors.

The Athens Digital Lab competition is calling for digital ideas with the potential to change the city and invites individuals, groups and new technology enthusiasts to submit proposals that can evolve into advanced Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for smart cities. Proposals are requested to cover the following themes: cleaning, parking, green spaces, public spaces, vehicle fleet, open theme.

Five teams will be selected and will have the opportunity to work for a six-month period in a specially designed, modern and fully equipped lab, which will be provided by the municipality of Athens, having at their disposal all the technical and financial resources required for the implementation of their proposal. In addition, teams will receive:
• Technical support and guidance from executives of the municipality of Athens, COSMOTE and Nokia
• Access to the Nokia IMPACT IoT platform, a secure, standards-based, IoT platform on which to build and scale new IoT services
• Advanced network infrastructure by COSMOTE.

During implementation, teams will be able to perform field trials and will have access to the relevant data of the city for testing the solutions. The solutions that will be developed can be implemented in the municipality of Athens for two years while at the same time gaining access to sales channels in Greece and abroad, with the support of COSMOTE and Nokia.

Proposals submissions begins on October 17 and will end on Sunday, November 19, 2017. Submissions are made exclusively at www.athensdigitallab.gr.

The Mayor of Athens, Mr. George Kaminis, said: "With the Athens Digital Lab, Athens gets its own research and development laboratory for advanced Smart City solutions and the digital strategy of the municipality of Athens enters the implementation phase. We aim for technological solutions that will optimize everyday life for the citizens of Athens in the best possible way. We give young people - engineers, researchers and entrepreneurs the chance to become part of this development. We thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its continuous support and trust, as well as Athens Partnership, COSMOTE and Nokia, who support the present and the future of Athens".

Athens earns EU award for innovative solutions to migrant and refugee crisis

The City of Athens received €5 million award to implement the proposal “Curing the Limbo” which was submitted to the second call of the Urban Innovative Actions initiative of the European Union. The results were announced during the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 in Brussels.

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an Initiative of the European Union to provide urban areas throughout Europe with resources to pilot innovative solutions for complex urban challenges. Among the themes of the second call were (a) the integration of migrants and refugees, (b) circular economy and (c) urban mobility. Athens’ proposal in the topic “integration of migrants and refugees” was selected along with 15 out of a total of 206 proposals from 21 European member states.

The City of Athens’ proposal “Curing the Limbo” is about empowering stranded refugees who have been granted asylum to get out of a characteristic state referred as “limbo” which has struck a part of the population doomed to months and years of waiting for the next stage in their life. It involves four strategic partners: two international NGOs, CRS (Catholic Relief Services) International and IRC Hellas (International Rescue Committee), the University of Athens and the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency S.A.

From Brussels the Mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis stated that: "I am particularly glad that once again City of Athens’ engagement in social innovation projects and especially its’ linking to the important issue of refugee integration is being awarded and supported by European funding, proving that cities can provide solutions to the multiple challenges Europe is facing”.

The program connects refugees with active citizens of Athens offering an escape from inertia through their participation in activities for the public benefit that respond to existing needs of the city. At the same time it develops the soft skills required for the refugees’ integration and offers incentives and tools for the acquisition of affordable housing.

The idea addresses a universal phenomenon burdening the spirit in many other European cities: The inactive population, whether it consists of newly arrived refugees, under-skilled migrants, unemployed locals, or solitary pensioners, is a challenge of our times.

“Athens’ proposal was based on the experience earned by the City of Athens in the last two years by managing the refugee crisis through the Coordination Center for Migrants and Refugees-which is exclusively funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and facilitated by the Athens Partnership-and the Accommodation Program for Asylum Seekers. Through these initiatives we realized that there was an unaddressed urgent challenge in the city. The implementation of the idea will be coordinated through synAthina, which connects Athenian civil society with local government to maximize impact”, stated Amalia Zepou, Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Innovation. synAthina was a 2014 winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, an ideas competition for cities.