Walking through the paths of the past…

Walking through the footsteps of the people who came before us is always a surreal experience, one that is difficult to describe with words and is touching, humbling and fascinating. It can be difficult to imagine the lives and realities of our ancestors, the ones who paved the way for so many aspects of our daily lives. It is thanks to passionate scholars, academics, researchers and archaeologists of the world  that the history and legacies of those before us are uncovered and preserved for us and the generations of the future.

Greece is home to some of the World’s most important excavation sites of ancient times. The Agora was the heart of Ancient Athens, and was the epicenter of political, commercial, administrative, social, religious and cultural activity in the ancient civilization. The Heritage Greece participants were treated to a once in a lifetime insider’s tour  through the ancient Agora, by the world renowned archaeologist Dr. John Camp, Director of the Archaeological dig of the ancient Agora. We were in for a treat…

The Temple of Hephaestus, found on the grounds of the Agora, is one of Greece’s most originally kept and in-tact temples from ancient times.

Dr. Camp has been working at the site of the Agora since 1966 and has put his heart and soul into the recovery and preservation of the world’s most precious ancient sites. Heritage Greece participants got to hear about the digging process first hand from Dr. John Camp, something that few others, besides HG program alumni, can say they have had the opportunity to experience.

“Walking through the Agora today was by far my favorite tour of the ancient ruins we have seen so far,“ said HG Participant Yiana Tjotjos. “It was so interesting because we actually got to go into the archaeological site with Dr. John Camp, and even dig a little bit ourselves. It was awesome to get an insider’s perspective of the excavation process and to learn of the care taken in order to preserve the history and priceless information that lies below the ground.”

Group photo at the Agora!

Gavin Cunningham felt honored to be given a first-class tour of one of Greece’s best known temples, saying: “It was so cool going to the Agora and getting to actually go inside the Temple of Hephaestus, because it really is something that not everyone gets to do. The Heritage Greece program gave us the opportunity to actually step inside the Temple, among other sites of antiquity, and see Greece from a perspective that is unique to the program and special for us as participants.”

After an afternoon in the ancient ruins of Athens, the participants cleaned up for one of HG’s most anticipated evenings each year: The President’s Reception. The President’s Reception is a beautiful evening where the HG and ACG community come together to reflect on the successes and experiences of the year’s program and share food, stories and great company. Dr. Dimitrios Andreou, ACG Vice President of Enrollment and Administration, and Art Dimopoulos, Executive Director of the National Hellenic Society, welcomed the participants, peers, program alumni and the extended HG family to campus for the special event with inspiring words on the beauty of the HG program.

Dr. Dimitrios Andreou, ACG Vice President of Enrollment and Administration, and Art Dimopoulos, Executive Director of the National Hellenic Society, introducing the ACG students performing traditional Greek music.

“The President’s Reception was a wonderful experience,” said Greek-Canadian participant Alexandra Coughlan. “As one of the Greek-Canadian participants on the trip, I was so happy that I was able to meet the representatives from the Canadian Embassy in Greece to learn more about their role here and take photos together. I also was happy to have been introduced to Dr. Dimitrios Andreou, the ACG Vice President of Enrollment and Administration, because he came to Canada last year and advocated for the Greek-Canadian students to be able to take part in the program. It was wonderful to meet Dr. Andreou and his family and be together with the whole HG and ACG community.”

The night continued with an incredible performance by ACG student musicians and singers, who performed traditional Greek songs which expressed the heart and soul of the Greek culture…

“My favorite part of the President’s Reception was when the live performers played Zorba the Greek, and we all got to dance Sirtaki together,” said Vlasi Pappas. “It was so much fun,  and hearing the talented students from ACG singing and playing traditional Greek Instruments was really awesome, they were amazing!”

Dancing traditional Sirtaki to a live performance of ‘Zorba the Greek!’

In realizing that the trip was coming to an end in a few short days, the participants and peers cherished another beautiful day and evening together. The HG family is a bond that lasts a lifetime…

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