“Every time I come to Campus, it feels like I’m coming home, “ George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO of the Libra Group, told an enthralled audience during an engaging Q & A session entitled “Empowering Youth,” at DEREE’s John S. Bailey Library in January this year.

American College of Greece (ACG) President Dr. David G. Horner welcomed Mr. Logothetis and thanked him for coming to campus to share his insights and for his invaluable contribution to ACG’s International Internship and Study Abroad Program- IISAP, of which Libra is the founding partner alongside ACG.

The Libra Group selects DEREE undergraduate students for the Libra Internship Program every year since the program’s launch in 2011. DEREE students have the opportunity to undertake a funded work placement with Libra or its subsidiaries around the world, as well as the option to study abroad at one of DEREE’s partner universities around the world.

When asked by the audience of PIERCE, DEREE and ALBA students, faculty and staff, what empowering people is all about, Mr. Logothetis said that it means giving opportunities to the ‘underdogs’ – that is people who have been “oppressed by hopelessness… We need to empower underdogs with empathy,” he stressed.

As an example, Mr. Logothetis shared with the audience the story of Frank, a Cuban captain whom Libra offered the opportunity to run a real estate business in Panama and after ten years went on to become the CEO of a successful Libra subsidiary in Miami. Mr. Logothetis referred to Frank as the embodiment of empowering ‘underdogs’ who then pay it forward and help others as they have been helped.

Mr. Logothetis, who is a DEREE Honorary Degree Recipient (2013), also recounted how he took over the family business at the very young age of 19. When he started his career, all he had was a platform, the support of his family and a few very old ships, which “two generations had struggled to acquire”. Mr. Logothetis added that it is important to “respect your history and maintain humility”.

When asked whether Greeks should get into shipping, he encouraged them to do so, but also prodded them to take advantage of all the “skills” embedded in Greeks.

He urged the audience to use the crisis to work together – despite “the myth” that Greeks can’t work together, “we are very good at it,” and looking back at Greece’s collective history, it stays united, he said. He also urged students that in order to succeed and be happy in life:

1.  Do what you love

2.  Don’t be judged or live by social expectations

3.  The givers are happier than the takers (the true path to fulfillment is to give more than you take)

4.  Try to find a boss you respect and want to work for.

Mr. Logothetis concluded that his underlying motive is “to have a profound impact, to act with decency, and to help people who need help more than you do”. He also recounted how happy and honored he felt when US President Obama called to congratulate him personally on LIBRA’s social programs and their respective impacts, especially the internship program and support of the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative which offers opportunities to young people experiencing serious socio-economic challenges.

At the end of last summer, past and current Libra Interns were given the chance to meet White House officials. Carla Brillembourg-Clark, Director of LIBRA’s Educational Programs, and ten intern alumni, including DEREE-Libra Internship alumni, had the high honor of meeting the President of the United States, Barack Obama himself, showing that Libra programs continue to scale new heights and reach for ever-greater goals.

Find out more about DEREE’s International Internship & Study Abroad Program (IISAP)

Find out more about the Libra Group