[Dimitris Manis]: A new academic program for talented young people from Greece is starting at the American University John Hopkins, based in Baltimore, in collaboration with Anatolia College, which is based in Thessaloniki. The program is fully funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The inauguration of the program was held on Monday, September 16, at a special event at the John Hopkins University, attended by significant figures from the academic community and the political world from the United States, as well as Greece. The new academic program will start its operation in the summer of 2014 and is for students from 7 to 18 years old from Greece, who will be hosted for three weeks at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki and will have the opportunity to attend a specially designed series of courses by the teaching staff of John Hopkins University. The aim of the program is to promote innovative teaching methods, a love for learning, and encourage critical thinking. In the first year, the program is expected to host about 100 to 150 students, while courses will be held in ten different fields, including mathematics, chemistry, biology, and computer science. [Program Representative]: It is a program that concerns gifted and talented children, which is an auxiliary educational program, it does not replace the children’s regular program, it is an auxiliary program that concerns education which is conducted either in summer programs, online or on weekends. It is a program that cultivates talents, broadens the horizons of children, gives them the opportunity to operate together with other children who have common interests and special abilities. [Dimitris Manis]: The training of the academic staff who will participate in the program started last summer. Five professors from Anatolia College came to the United States to get informed about the program, the procedures to be followed, while they also toured some of the cities where similar programs operate to observe the teaching of courses. [Program Representative]: I think that the most important thing is that these children need something that will be a continuous challenge for their minds, and this is not necessarily provided in the classroom, and that’s why I believe this program will be very important for these children. [Dimitris Manis]: Greek-American congressman John Sarbanes, who attended the event, emphasized that this initiative aims to highlight talented young people who mainly now, as Greece is plagued by the crisis, would not have had the opportunity to broaden their horizons. He added that at a time when Greeks feel that hope is lost, this initiative comes to prove them wrong and pleasantly surprise them. The Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, within which the academic program in Greece is conducted, has similar summer programs in 24 cities of the United States and in Hong Kong, where more than 9,000 students participate every summer. [Program Representative]: We work with students who are above average and are advanced for their age, at an academic level. The goal of our collaboration with Anatolia College is, of course, to find more such students, whose abilities are not sufficiently utilized in school and can attend higher-level courses. [Dimitris Manis]: For the realization of this specific program, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation offered 3.3 million dollars as part of a new initiative it undertook last winter to provide a total of 130 million dollars over the next three years in efforts that will contribute to relieving Greek society from the economic crisis that has affected the country in recent years. [Program Representative]: It is a beginning, if it goes well it can strengthen and grow this program, and we see it generally in the broader effort we are making to give relief and hope to the youth that there is a future and that the gifted, regardless of financial capability, can also help and work. The main thing, therefore, is this left support that leads us to the youth that there is a future and that the gifted, regardless of financial capability, can also have the opportunity to come into an environment where it gives them greater possibilities to integrate into society and exploit their gifted abilities. [Dimitris Manis]: “We are not just paving the way for the success of these children but ensuring our own success because these children will be the leaders, thinkers, and scientists of the future,” noted Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University. Dimitris Manis from Baltimore for the Greek service of the Voice of America.