The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Public Policy 85: Arrival in Greece

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Despite a snowstorm causing minor delays at Newark International Airport, the students of Public Policy 85: Topics in Global Policy Leadership departed on Monday night for Athens, Greece to begin their two-week research trip to Greece, Germany, and Switzerland to examine the response to the global financial crisis and Eurozone crisis.

After arriving in Athens with a layover in Frankfurt, group was able to briefly explore the city on the way to their first interview with Georgios Pagoulatos, former senior advisor to the Greek Prime Minister and the Director General of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Greece’s leading think tank.

In their conversation with Professor Pagoulatos, the students were able to discuss how Greece’s leaders had to convince its citizens to endure the “pain” of austerity in order to avoid “catastrophe” — in doing so demonstrating that populists often promise more than they can deliver in policy solutions. He also credited Greece’s ability to withstand the political and economic tumults over the last decade to the overall resilience of Greek democracy and people. Professor Pagoulatos also discussed the beneficial contributions of the Europan Union, dynamics between EU member states such as import/export balance, and Greece’s approach to overcoming issues such as “brain drain.”

Following their meeting, the students met over a souvlaki dinner to share their experiences thus far and goals for the trip. 

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences