El Greco Project for peace and intercultural understanding - Greece

The Model Experimental Junior High School of the University of Macedonia successfully organized a hosting program and common cultural activities with the Spanish school IES Julio Verne Bargas, aiming to offer equal opportunities to the students of both schools through experiential learning and the promotion of the culture of peace.

These actions fall within the framework of the cultural program entitled “El Greco Project 2014”, which has been undertaken by the two schools to commemorate the 400-year anniversary since the death of Domenicos Theotocopoulos or, as this great artist is also known throughout the world, “El Greco”. Dr. Thomas Zikos (Religious Education), Dr. Nikos Georgolios (Chemistry), and Ms. Evanthia Zarkogianni (Greek Language) are responsible for planning out and implementing the program with the support and coordination of Head Teacher Dr. Eleni Mouzoura (Greek Language).

The Spanish school was represented by two teachers, Mr. Angel Delgado and Mr. Inaki Gomez, and 24 students, who arrived in Greece on the evening of Monday, October 13, 2014. Teachers, students, and parents welcomed them at Macedonia Airport.

A welcome ceremony was held at our school on Tuesday, October 15, 2014, in honor of our Spanish friends and partners. Spanish and Greek students played music, sang, and danced to Greek and Spanish traditional tunes. Ms. Maria Machairidou (Physical Education) and Ms. Zoi Tsiliki (Music) and numerous students contributed significantly to the preparation of the welcome ceremony.

In the days that followed, a number of common cultural events were held, involving presentations of projects through multimodal texts, a tour around the antiquities and archaeological sites found in Thessaloniki, and a visit to the cradle of ancient Macedon, Vergina.

After the welcome ceremony, the Spanish students and teachers together with the teachers responsible for the program and the Head Teacher of the Model Experimental Junior High School of the University of Macedonia visited Mayor of Neapolis-Sykies, Mr. Simos Daniilidis, who extended a warm welcome at the former City Hall of Neapolis. After treating the students to local candy, the Mayor had a discussion with the teachers and students and exchanged gifts. The Spanish students and teachers returned to their home country on Sunday, October 19, 2014.

The action will be completed with the two schools twinning in January. The relevant documents will be signed when representatives from our school visit Spain in reciprocation for their visit to Greece.

The contribution of parents and students to the successful outcome of this endeavor has been extremely important, as the Spanish students were accommodated in student homes. We would, therefore, like to extend our sincerest thanks to the parents who accommodated the students from Spain, the Parents and Guardians Association Board of Directors, and, especially, Deputy Head Ms. Marianna Fragiadaki for their support and significant help to the success of the program. We would also like to thank the parents and, especially, the mothers of our students for preparing and serving the Greek delicacies we offered our guests.

The first stage of the “El Greco Project 2014” is considered to have been completed successfully as important learning, socio-emotional, pedagogic, and national targets have been achieved. Friendly ties have been forged between students and teachers as well as between the families of our students, promoting the culture of peace. Sincere congratulations should also be extended to all the Greek and Spanish students and teachers who contributed to the success of the program.

These actions were communicated through a large number of printed and electronic media and they were also presented live on TV. The following links offer further information (in Greek):

For more pictures from the project, click here.