Refuge and Resilience in the City of Athens


We are spending the summer in Athens interviewing refugee mothers, Greek volunteers, and service providers to learn about their coping strategies, their goals, and their journeys to find ways to build trust, understanding, and a sense of belonging.

Click here to read our regular updates.

About Us:

Sophia Kalantzakos

Global Distinguished Professor, Environmental Studies and Public Policy, New York University/NYUAD

B.A. Yale University; M.A. Columbia University, Ph.D. University of the Peloponnese

Sophia Kalantzakos spent the first half of her career as a policy maker, an elected member of Parliament, and Member of the Greek Government until 2009. In 2010, she became Global Distinguished Professor in Environmental Studies and Public Policy at NYU. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on public policy and international affairs, especially resource competition and climate change as threats that are reshaping power politics across the globe. Since moving to NYU she has made regular appearances on Bloomberg, CNN, and Fox as a political commentator on Greece, Europe, China, environmental issues, and rare earths. During her political career, she was an active contributor of op-ed pieces in the Greek Press and in the wider European Press generally.

Previously, Kalantzakos was Deputy Minister of Labor and Pensions, Greek Government (2007-2009); Member of Greek Parliament (2000-2009) serving on Committees for Foreign Affairs and Defense, European Affairs, and Education; responsible for Greek-US relations (New Democracy Party); head of Greek delegation of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; Alternate Whip, New Democracy Party (2004-2007); Honorary Ambassador for the Olympic Truce (2004).

Her most recent academic publications include:

  • Energy and Environmental Transformations in a Globalizing World: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue (co-editor with N. Farantouris) Nomiki Vivliothiki, 2015.
  • “EU and China: Leadership after COP21”, ELIAMEP, March 2016, Working Paper No 72/2016.
  • “Greece and the GCC: Looking for an Oasis of Support” with A. Huliaras, GreeSE Paper No.96,  Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe, January 2016.
  • “Greece and the GCC: Strengthening ties in a time of crisis” with A. Huliaras in Foreign Policy Under Austerity: Greece’s Return to Normalcy? Eds. A. Tziampiris and Sp. Litsas, Palgrave-McMillan, forthcoming September 2016.
  • The EU, US and China Tackling Climate Change: Policies and Alliances for the Anthropocene, Routledge, forthcoming 2017.
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Annalisa Galgano

Annalisa Galgano is a 4th year student at NYU Abu Dhabi pursuing a B.A. in Social Research and Public Policy with concentrations in Economics and Political Science.

Living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, Spain, and Ghana for the past three years sparked Annalisa’s interest in examining how public policy affects the safety and livelihoods of migrant women. She has advocated for improved protection of migrant women through her work at Colorado’s only safe house for victims of domestic sex trafficking, writing policy proposals for refugee housing, developing technological tools to inform migrant workers of their legal rights in the UAE, and conducting qualitative research on issues of homelessness, migration, and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Annalisa has previous experience working in community outreach roles in Colorado and Abu Dhabi, and she co-leads NYU Abu Dhabi’s peer support program and interfaith committee.

Marina Esmeralnta Papadimitriou

Marina Esmeralnta Papadimitriou is a second year student at New York University of Abu Dhabi. She is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and intends to pursue a minor of Bachelor of Sciences in Computer Science. Her degrees, work experience, and extracurricular involvement in student clubs have provided her with a strong background in the fields of economics, finance, and marketing and have improved her skills through hands on experience.

Marina has been involved in multiple volunteering programs which triggered her interest towards humanitarian and environmental initiatives. She has been a workshop facilitator through the Girls Education Network of NYU Abu Dhabi. The aim of the workshops was to promote education and leadership skills among UAE schoolgirls while inspiring their confidence and self respect. As a volunteer she has worked on projects with immigrants and especially children living in an immigrant asylum center in Greece. She was responsible for collecting food items and clothes which were later donated to the asylum while she also helped to conduct an art project there.

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