Georgios Papandreou '75

Doctor of Laws

Described by some as a "velvet revolutionary," Georgios Papandreou took over the job of Greece's foreign minister in February 1999. His family credentials were impeccable: He is the son and grandson of Greek prime ministers and, some predict, a possible next choice for that position. Papandreou's education is international and multicultural. Born and raised in the United States, he graduated from Amherst in 1975, studied in Sweden, at the London School of Economics, and was a fellow at Harvard's Center for International Affairs. He speaks English, Greek and Swedish.

A leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and member of the Greek Parliament since 1981, Papandreou has held a series of earlier governmental posts including minister of culture, and minister of education and religious affairs.

He has been noted for his quiet diplomacy, for his ability to get results working cooperatively with others. In a region known for its volatility, its ancient rivalries and proximity to trouble, he has brought about an impressive number of foreign policy successes, including improved relations with Turkey and support of a movement for democracy in Serbia. He is hard at work on a resolution to the Turkish-Cypriot impasse, encouraging both Turkey and Cyprus to join the European Union. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, he has been a strong suporter of NATO, offering Greece's logistical support to military operations aimed at Afghanistan.

He has been honored for his work in defending press freedom, for his work against racism, and for his activities in favor of peace and friendship between Greeks and Turks. Speaking of the danger of pitting Muslims against Christians in the wake of the September 11 attacks, he warned of a "war of civilizations," urging instead a "dialogue of civilizations."

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