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Eleusis of yesterday and today: an in-situ study of the European cultural capital of 2021

The first semester of the innovative teaching program “Education, entrepreneurship and culture” kicked off on January 8, 2020. It is the fruit of a collaboration between the Athens University of Economy and Commerce and the DIAZOMA association within the framework of the Program of studies in Education sciences. The team responsible for the project consists of Dr. Vassiliki Brinia, Dr. Theodoros Benos, Dr. Mary Belogiannis and Dr. Panagiotis Mastrandonis. The Xenophon educational economic journal, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit and the Athens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEin) of AUEB also participate.

Panagiotis Mastrandonis underlined the problem of ineffective management of ancient Greek monuments, emphasizing the city of Eleusis. Students also discussed the contribution of entrepreneurship to education and culture with economist and teacher George Tziros of Xenophon journal.

On January 10, 2020, the students of the program accompanied by Vassiliki Brinia participated in a field study carried out at Eleusis. George Tziros and Panagiotis Mastrantonis also took part. The latter offered the students an exciting tour of the archaeological site of Eleusis and discussed with them important aspects of the region’s history and ancient texts concerning the goddess Demeter.

In ancient times, Eleusis was the spiritual center of Athens. For centuries, from the Mycenaean period to the end of the Roman era, the Mysteries of Eleusis, a sacred cult in honor of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, were celebrated there. Analysis of the historical elements emerging from this sacred site led to discussions on how to highlight major ancient sites through cultural entrepreneurship and in connection with education.

The students also had the opportunity to make the link between the past and the present of the city of Eleusis. The town has indeed been one of the main economic engines of Greece in recent decades and this industrialization has not been without impacting local society. The intense pollution of the environment and the industrial sites abandoned due to the economic crisis are all signs that do not go unnoticed among visitors today. But the glorious past that the city of Eschyle knew in antiquity is an incentive for the authorities to breathe new life into their city through dynamic cultural activities, which will reach their peak in 2021, the year when Eleusis will be the European Capital of Culture.

After a walk in the sunny city which ended at the seafront, the students had the opportunity to chat with Gabriel Campani, one of the leaders of the “Eleusis 2021” movement and former deputy mayor of the city, who presented projects aimed at improving the image of the city. Sustainable development and the optimal management of its cultural heritage will be the cornerstones of the development of Eleusis as the cultural capital of Europe in 2021. The city is also an integral part of a dynamic cultural project at the region level whose ultimate goal is to revive the Trilogy of Athens, that is to say the three poles Athens / Piraeus, Eleusis and Laurion linked by organic ties in antiquity.

Field study was the first of the experiences that will mark the “Education, Entrepreneurship and Culture” project throughout the semester and will lead to proposals on how to take advantage of the cultural richness of Eleusis as part of the Trilogy of Athens. The best team project of the students will be selected by the work evaluation committee and will be presented and received a praise at a Diazoma event.

A new challenge is therefore emerging for the students in collaboration with DIAZOMA and the city authorities will stand by the students during this fascinating journey.

“Education, Entrepreneurship and Culture”AUEB – Press Release