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March 25, 2021 will mark the bicentennial of the struggle for independence that led to the creation of modern Greece. Over the next two years, the Center for Liberal Studies – Markos Dragoumis (KEFiM), an Athens-based think tank, will undertake a multipart outreach campaign funded by the John Templeton Foundation that aims to shed new light on the classical liberal origins of the modern Greek nation-state. 

Short videos, podcasts, workshops, books, and op-eds will be released during the two years leading up to the anniversary of the revolt that eventually ended centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule in Greece. The project’s goal is to re-familiarize modern Greeks with the importance of ideals of freedom that galvanized some of the Greek revolution’s key actors, including Anastasios Polyzoides (who co-wrote the Greek Declaration of Independence and produced the first Greek translation of the American Declaration of Independence), inaugural Greek prime minister Alexandros Mavrokordatos, and the Filiki Eteria, a secret organization formed in 1814 by Greek merchants who hoped to liberate Greece from the Ottomans.

The bicentennial project will be co-led by KEFiM director Alexander Skouras and Aristides Hatzis, a professor of the philosophy of law and the theory of institutions at the University of Athens. In addition to its various publications, the project will include annual surveys to gauge the Greek public’s increasing levels of awareness of the contributions of classical liberal ideals including constitutionalism, rule of law, private property, free speech, and a free press.  

“Like its American counterpart, the Greek Revolution forms a core part of modern Greek identity, and the bicentennial is an opportunity to explore the ideas that gave rise to Greek independence,” says Amy Proulx, the John Templeton Foundation’s Program Officer for Individual Freedom and Free Markets. “Ancient Greece was rightly known as the birthplace of democracy, but few people in Greece or elsewhere are aware of the role classical liberal ideas played in the birth of modern Greek democracy two centuries ago. With the Greek bicentennial approaching, people are going to be hungry to know more of the story — and KEFiM will be well-positioned to tell it.” 

STILL CURIOUS?

Learn more about the Center for Liberal Studies – Markos Dragoumis (KEFiM)