Chronicling the Refugee Crisis in Athens


We spent 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 on this project.

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 is Global Distinguished Professor in Environmental Studies and Public Policy at New York University and currently a long-term affiliate at NYU Abu Dhabi.

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. She has made regular appearances on Bloomberg, CNN, and Fox as an expert on Greece, Europe, China, environmental issues, and rare earths.

Her most recent academic publications include:

  • China and the Geopolitics of Rare Earths (Oxford University Press, 2018)
    (Hungarian translation 2018)
    Aczel, International Affairs 94, no. 4 (July 1, 2018): 937–39.
    Vekasi, Journal of Chinese Political Science 23, no. 4 (December 1, 2018): 637–38.
  • The EU, US, and China Tackling Climate Change: Policies and Alliances for the Anthropocene(Routledge, 2017); Chapter 4, “What makes EU-China collaboration a better fit for the Anthropocene,” anthologized in “EU Environmental Policy,” (Routledge, 2018), pp. 86-100.
  • Energy and Environmental Transformations in a Globalizing World: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue (co-editor with N. Farantouris) Nomiki Vivliothiki, 2015.
  • “The Gulf States and the Horn of Africa: A New Hinterland?” with Asteris Huliaras Middle East Policy, Vol. XXIV, No. 4, Winter 2017, pp. 63-73.
  • Sophia Kalantzakos, “River Rights and the Rights of Rivers: The Case of Acheloos.” In “Can Nature Have Rights? Legal and Political Insights,” edited by María Valeria Berros and Anna Leah Tabios Hillebrecht, RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society 2017, no. 6, 45–51.
  • “A Paradox in today’s Europe: Greece’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of the University of the Peloponnese, The Jean Monnet Papers on Political Economy, 15/2017.
  • “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.
Annalisa Galgano

Annalisa Galgano is a graduate student at Columbia University, where she is pursuing a Master of Public Administration in Urban and Social Policy. Prior to this year, Annalisa lived in Athens as a Fulbright Research Fellow, conducting ethnographic research on the refugee solidarity movement. While there, she also participated in refugee community projects and volunteered as an English teacher. Annalisa is a graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi, where she received a B.A. in Social Research and Public Policy in 2017. Her undergraduate capstone thesis stemmed from her summer 2016 research on refugee integration in Athens with Professor Kalantzakos.

Esmie Papadimitriou

Esmie completed her undergraduate degree at New York University Abu Dhabi where she majored in Economics with specialization in Finance and a Minor in Computer Science. Her senior thesis project focused on Gender Differences in Loss Aversion and risk preferences.

Outside of school Esmie has held a number of internship positions that have brought her around the world from China, to Greece, and the UAE. Her work has involved the technology, investments, and hospitality sectors. Her most recent position is an Investments Intern at a Venture Capital Firm.

In the non-profit world, Esmie has been involved in multiple volunteering programs, fostering her interest in humanitarian and environmental initiatives. She has been a workshop facilitator through the Girls Education Network of NYU Abu Dhabi. The aim of the workshop 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 Athens. She was responsible for collecting food items and clothing that were later donated to the asylum.