US Embassy supporting Athens' Open Schools program

The US Embassy in Greece has thrown its weight behind the Athens Open Schools program, which promotes civic engagement in underserved communities.

The embassy is supporting two different initiatives this summer: one is bringing the Hellenic Children’s Museum collection and educational program to neighborhoods in the capital, and the other is a 3-D animation course based on Oracle’s Alice Software which enables children to animate digital character models.

“We support this program because it highlights the common values of the United States and Greece, the values of democracy and active citizenship,” said Jennifer Schueler, the US Embassy’s cultural attache.

“Through these activities, the children use art to communicate with each other and express how they experience their cities, their communities and their classrooms,” she said.

Initiated by the Athens Municipality in 2015, the program opens up school premises after the morning school session and on weekends for the benefit of the neighborhood.

The initiative is funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and coordinated by the Athens Partnership.

Synergies earn Athens title of innovation capital


A few minutes after the clock struck 12 noon on Tuesday, the crowd gathered at the recently renovated Serafeio complex in downtown Athens broke out in applause and cheers. Representatives from the municipal authority, local NGOs and civil society were celebrating an unexpected victory for the City of Athens – the coveted title of European Capital of Innovation for 2018, accompanied by a one million euros cash prize funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.

On a widescreen TV set up at the recreation center, they watched Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis receive the prize on behalf of the city, in a live broadcast of the ceremony in Lisbon. “This success is something we all achieved together,” said the mayor as he handled the enormous check.

The term innovation can be misleading as it usually refers to technological breakthroughs and the booming of a startup ecosystem. In the case of the European Commission’s prize the approach is more conceptual: here, the EU rewards cities that find new and imaginative solutions to address their social, economic and administrative challenges.

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[Kathimerini] "Improving and strengthening the city through cooperation"


On the fourth floor of the Romantso building on Anaxagora Street, there is a well-hidden “factory” hard at work, weaving together a new Athens. Known as the Athens Partnership (AP), this is an independent nonprofit organization working to bring together municipal services, charitable foundations, nonprofit organizations and private companies to spark innovation in the technology, culture, education and social welfare sectors.

AP, which was established by the City of Athens in late 2015 as an initiative of Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, has become an international model of good practices in addressing the needs and problems of a complex (and at times chaotic) city such as Athens.

Passion and drive

Αs they celebrate the release of their first official biennial report, AP staff – including executive director Alexandros Kambouroglou, communications manager Alexandros Kandarakis, financial director Alexis Filias and office manager Dimitris Grigoriadis – invited Kathimerini to their offices to share more about their programs, their approach and what motivates them.

AP brings together the public and private sectors, public servants, and people who want to contribute to the improvement of public services to facilitate cooperation between existing municipal services with the additional know-how and resources of the private sector. The Athens Partnership also works as an incentive for strengthening the capacity of the state. As Kambouroglou puts it: “We enable people with the help of the private sector. You should be there to watch the way municipal services are transformed. The motivation is exponential.”

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[Politismos Museum] "The Athens Partnership – Innovation Abounds!"

Athens is an amazing city and it also has tremendous potential for advancement. It has energetic citizens, advanced educational institutions and an innovative private sector. But the city’s assets do not always come together in meaningful ways. The Athens Partnership was created to bring together the resources and expertise of the public and private sectors to address priority, public needs.

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[Greek Reporter] Athens’ New Maker Space – Free for Students of All Ages to Explore (Video)

A new and first of its kind Maker Space has been created in Athens. The fabrication lab is free for all students in Athens and is aimed at helping them thrive in using 21st century technology.

The Maker Space provides the schoolchildren with resources to explore how to program a robot battle or how you can use a 3D printer to design and produce a chess piece or a key ring. They can even see what it is like to visit a space station through the use of virtual reality.

“In spite of all its technological wonder, the Maker Space is not a just a showroom where you can admire technological applications. Children and adults are invited here to become creators, taking digital technology into their own hands,” says Alexandros Kambouroglou, Executive Director of the Athens Partnership, who coordinates the Maker Space program.

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[Xinhua] Athens Open Schools program helps raise environmental awareness

Five o'clock Wednesday afternoon, which should have been a tranquil after-school hour in Athens, the 104th Elementary School in the downtown of the Greek capital was yet cheerful and boisterous. Thanks to the Athens Open Schools program, an initiative by the City of Athens with an aim of running activities within the school premises in after-school hours, the Upcycled Percussions Team, a three-member band, can make their final rehearsal here on the eve of the great celebration for the end of the school year.


[Greek Reporter] Athens Keeps Schools Open for Locals and Refugees

An initiative by the City of Athens to keep schools open after class for Greeks and refugees alike has won acclaim by the Council of Europe. Through the Athens Open Schools program, 25 public schools are kept open after class, on afternoons and weekends, hosting free recreation and development activities for residents of all ages. The aim is to revitalize neighborhoods, provide safe public spaces and opportunities for growth amid difficult conditions.

“By bringing together private sector donors, as well as companies, voluntary groups and many more actors, Athens is showing a way forward out of the crisis for Greece. Through these programs, the public sector is becoming more open, assuming a new role by leading social innovation with tangible results,” says Alexandros Kambouroglou, Executive Director of the Athens Partnership.

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