May 7th, 2018

Message from the President:
New York Times' Article on Raphael Demos & The Importance of Philosophy

On April 30, 2018, New York Times carried a very admiring article by Robert E. Rubin about Raphael Demos and the importance of Philosophy,  Robert E. Rubin: Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government which I thought you would enjoy reading.

For those who have not known Raphael or his involvement with CYA, let me say that he and his wife Jean were very supportive in many ways of Ismene Phylactopoulou's initiative to start CYA in 1962. Raphael Demos was legendary at Harvard (among his students was Martin Luther King). When he retired he taught as a visiting professor at McGill and Vanderbilt. He and Jean eventually settled in Athens and CYA had the benefit to have Raphael act as Academic Director and teach a philosophy class. He died in 1968, symbolically in mid-ocean, on one of their trips back to the US.

At a memorial service held on September 18, 1968, Professor Roderick Firth said about Raphael Demos, "Raphael's effectiveness as a teacher had its roots in the source of all good teaching. He cared - he really  cared - about reaching his students, not so much to win them to some particular point of view, for he was able to discuss Plato and William James with equal enthusiasm, but rather to open their eyes to the delights that he himself found in the study of philosophy. There is no substitute for this kind of motivation". 

Alexis Phylactopoulos, CYA President

We’d like to share this comment on the article posted by CYA Alumna Lynne Novack which indicates just what an impression Raphael Demos left on his students.

"Raphael Demos was our philosophy professor at the College Year in Athens when I was a student there in 1967-68, after he had retired from Harvard. What a magnificent person he was, as was his wife Jean Demos. We were a small group of students, and Mr & Mrs. Demos traveled by bus with us to classical antiquity sites around Greece — so we got to know him well. He was kind enough to play chess with me several times — he always won, of course. And the stories of his friendships with Bertrand Russell & T.S. Elliot were fascinating and so self-deprecating. Truly, I loved that man and was devastated when he passed away not long after my time with him. Thank you for illuminating and honoring him for me once again."

– Lynne Novack CYA 67 – 68, Senior Fellow at the Tower Center, SMU

CYA 2nd Annual Student Conference – Spring 2018

Four CYA Students who presented at the Conference from left:  Jack Chase (Kenyon College),  Allison DavisCarolyn Dorey (College of Charleston),  Rebecca Bowles ( Emory University)

CYA’s 2nd Annual Student Conference, 
Concepts of Urban Design and Public Space in Greece Throughout the Ages took place on May 2 -3, 2018.

The Annual CYA Student Conference is a long inspired dream of our academic community and reflects CYA’s dedication to building strong academic foundations for our students. The success of the 2nd Conference indicates that the annual event will become a tradition for our institution.

This year’s Conference stimulated a broad-based and multidisciplinary discussion on varying aspects of both urban planning and the utilization of public space in major urban centers in Greece from antiquity down to the modern age.

CYA students, Allison Davis, Carolyn Dorey (College of Charleston), Rebecca Bowles ( Emory University), Jack Chase (Kenyon College), Sophia Cunningham (Mount Holyoke College) and Elsa Mann (University of Southern California) presented their papers at the Conference. 

In addition, we were pleased to welcome five students from the National Technical University of Athens- Metsovio, The School of Architecture. Georgios Drakontaeidis, Christina Milopoulou, Georgia Malapani, Katerina Ninou, Melina Tsagareli and one student in the Erasmus program, Sonia Dupouy (University of Bordeaux ), who under the leadership of their professor, Thanos Pagonis, joined our students in this event.

For our students, this was their first opportunity to prepare abstracts, presentation speeches and finally papers following publishers’ specifications, to be part of an annual edition. The published edition of last year’s Student Conference papers will be available soon, and this year’s volume will follow shortly.

Another strong point of the Conference is the encouragement of academic dialogue between students from U.S. and Greek institutions. We consider all of the above a valuable learning experience for all students involved.

Keynote Speaker Vassilis Sgourtas giving his lecture on,  The Urban Realities of Athens

Keynote speaker Vassilis Sgourtas, Architect, Former President of the International Union of Architects (UIA) and Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects closed the first day of the Conference with his lecture: “The Urban Realities of Athens", which was followed by a reception on CYA’s rooftop. Guests enjoyed a glass of wine under the stars, and the spectacular view of the Acropolis lit up at night.

The reception on CYA's rooftop overlooking the Acropolis

The guidance of our fantastic faculty and the hard work of the Conference Committee, 
Theoni  Scourta (VP for Academic Affairs), Maria Vidali ( Contemporary Urbanism professor) and Chair,  John Karavas (Ancient History & Archaeology professor) ensured this two-day meeting was a great success. 

We would like to thank the students for dedicating time –beyond their coursework- to prepare for the Conference and wish them all the best in their future academic and professional careers.

For more details about the presentations and to read the abstracts view the program here: CYA the 2nd Annual Student Conference Program

Click to view the full photo album of the event

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