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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