· According to the 2003/2005 UN Human Development report, Greece ranks 24th out of 177 countries. EU member states Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland rank 20th, 21st, 31st, 34th, 35th respectively, neighbouring Turkey ranks 94th, while the South East European countries are classified much lower than Greece (e.g.: Croatia 45th and Bulgaria 55th).
· Greeks live longer today than in previous decades (Life expectancy: 79 years), an essential indicator of their developed standard of living. Child mortality is steadily being reduced. In 1990 the infant mortality was 11 per 1,000 live births, while in 2004 the rate was only 5 per 1,000.
· The first ever "league table" of world health care (WHO: World Health Report 2000) ranked Greece’s Health system performance 11th in the world - and 7th in Europe.
· Greek people have reached a very high level of education (very high proportion of 20 year olds in tertiary education: 56%, 1st in the world). Greece sends more students abroad to study, per capita, than any other country. European and American Universities boast large numbers of students from Greece, many of whom achieve high academic success.
· Foreign languages education is widespread. In comparison with 1990, the proportion of people who can speak English well enough to take part in a conversation (36%) has increased in Greece significantly (+13%, 2nd in EU Member States ranking). A recent (February 2006) Special Eurobarometer survey indicates that 57% of Greeks claim to speak one foreign language at least to a conversational level and 19% two languages.
· Greek society is very coherent and the Greek family, a basic social institution, seems strong enough to support its members even at the most difficult times. Greece has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and a very low suicide rate on a world scale (male suicide rate 5.9 per 100,000 people).
· Greece belongs to nations whose political systems are characterised by a high degree of democracy and freedom. Civil liberties and the rule of law are fully respected.
· Greece is sensitive to environmental protection. In 1990, 25.6% of Greece’s total land area was covered by forests, while in 2002, this proportion rose to 27.9%. In a new Global Environmental Performance Index (2006), Greece was ranked among the top countries in the world for its pollution control and natural resource management polices. Of 133 countries studied, Greece placed 19th, ahead of Australia, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, United States, and Belgium.
· Greece grants 362 million dollars annually in foreign aid (Hellenic Aid service) to third world countries, which amounts to 0.21% of its GNI (2003) and holds the 16th place worldwide in Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Greece - A New Era
· After the Athens Olympics, the world recognized in Greece a country that can meet large-scale challenges that “can do wonders.” The 2004 Olympics solidified Greece’s new “exclusive positioning;” Greece engages the world on its path of stability, security, and prosperity through its foreign and economic policy, and through its products and services in the financial sector, energy, infrastructure, the maritime industry, exports, tourism and culture.
· Greece has won the Euro Football Championship 2004, the Eurovision song contest 2005 (and is hosting the 2006 contest), and the Eurobasket Championship 2005.
· Greece is a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council - for a two-year term, ending in December 2006.
· Greece has held the EU presidency four times (in 1983, 1988, 1994, and 2003), has held the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) chairmanship from November 2004 to April 2005, while it currently holds the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) chairmanship (2005-2006).
· In the maritime industry, Greece is undoubtedly the global leading power. Greece holds the first place in ship ownership. At the same time, the Greek-flagged vessels, amounting to 60% of the EU’s commercial vessels, render Greece 5th in the world and number one in the European Union.
· The structural reforms in the economic environment, including the new Development Law, the Tax Law, the Public Private Partnership Law, and the New Investment Incentives Law, all aim at supporting Greece’s competitiveness and upgraded role.
· According to recent figures, in the first 10 months of 2005, the total value of exports was €12,605mn as compared to €11,094mn during the same time period in 2004, presenting a 13.6% increase - one of the highest increases in exports among all eurozone members.
· Greece is among the first investment partners in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while it also strengthens its leading role in the financial services sector of the region. Greece is a stabilizing force in South East Europe but also a driving force for the accession of the broader area to the European Union and other institutions that foster cooperation and peace.
· Greece implements the Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, a five-year development aid programme which will allocate a total amount of 550 million euros from the national budget to foster peace, stability and the European orientation of South East Europe countries.
· Greek banks have been among the top performers in the European banking sector. The operations of Greek banks in the wider region, extending from South East Europe to Poland are expanding at double-digit rates of growth every year.
· Greece plays a key role as an energy hub in South East Europe, where the signing of the political agreement with Russia and Bulgaria (2005) on the construction of the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline marked a historic moment. The construction of the Greek-Turkish gas pipeline is well under way. The landmark Single Energy Community Treaty (2005) aims at institutionalizing, in a binding way, energy cooperation between the EU and South East Europe.
· Greece signed a protocol (2005) for the construction of the underwater gas pipeline between Greece and Italy, which will carry gas to the rest of Western Europe.
· Investments in the ‘Renewable Energy Resources’ market are highly encouraged and are expected to be extremely successful given Greece’s environment, the large part of Aeolian potential that remains unexploited, and the large proportion of water potential. Several European and Asian power-producing companies are in close collaboration with their Greek counterparts on various important investments of international scale.
Greece - Heritage & Contemporary Cultural Creation
· Greece is a product of cultural and political encounters, of the streaming together of ideas, customs, languages, knowledge, and people in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean since antiquity. Greece's cultural heritage can be described as largely based on a skillful reshaping of elements from Ancient Greek imagination, Byzantine glories and European Modernity that form a cosmopolitan spirit of modern "Hellenism".
· Greeks cherish the past. A significant number of archaeological museums are to be found in major cities or near important archaeological sites, housing artefacts found in systematic excavations. Major restoration initiatives include the Acropolis Restoration project while the launching of an international campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles is in conjunction with the creation of the new Acropolis Museum.
· A master plan for the reunification of the archaeological sites of Athens is being completed to restore monuments, establish visitor facilities, and pedestrian ways, and create urban space for modern architectural projects
· Greeks welcome the future. They keep a receptive mind to ideas regardless of origin. They are keen on experimentation. The zest to hold fast onto the past alternates with the spirit of novelty and innovation in all aspects of life. Contemporary Greek creativity has attracted attention internationally, in traditional cultural genres such as literature and art, and art forms such as fashion, pop music and gastronomy.
· Modern Greek visual arts, theatre and music charm the western imagination with their various forms and qualities. Writers such as Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933), Nikos Kazantzakis, and Nobel laureates Georges Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, composers such as Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis, the soprano Maria Callas as well as the conductor and composer Dimitris Mitropoulos transcended national boundaries and reached international acclaim.
· A new generation of writers is trying to talk about the present, working on an authentic literary search of the modern self and society. The National Book Centre carries out the promotion of contemporary Greek Literature abroad. Its presence in the international stage was confirmed by the Frankfurt International Book Fair (2001), where Greece was the guest of honour.
· A nation-wide project, "Domain of Culture", supported by the Hellenic Cultural Organization brings together major cultural activities and organisations across Greece in thematic networks, ranging from cinema, dance and photography to arts management and popular culture.
· The Hellenic Festival, hosted every summer, is a venue for international music, ballet and ancient drama performances, the Thessaloniki Film Festival has become a focus for both Greek cinema and international productions, while the Thessaloniki Book Fair serves as a crossroads between the developed book markets of western Europe, and emerging markets in southeastern and central European, and Mediterranean countries. Various other events like the Rockwave Festival, the Kalamata Dance Festival can charm the foreign visitor during the summer season.
· Other important cultural institutions include: the National Art Gallery, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art at Thessaloniki (hosts the famous Costakis collection of Russian avant-garde art works), the National Theatre, the Greek Film Center, the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, the Benaki Museum, and the Athens Concert Hall.
· The Foundation for Hellenic Culture promotes Greek culture and language throughout the world and carries out its activities through its Branches in various cities and countries, in co-operation with cultural and educational institutions worldwide.
WHY CHOOSE GREECE…
· Belongs to the OECD family of developed nations. Enjoys economic stability consolidated by membership of the European Union/Eurozone and its growth rate is above EU average
· Has a brand new modern infrastructure network and services, well-developed human resources (highly productive, well-trained and educated workforce, and one of the lowest labour costs in the EU) and is an important centre of business, research and cultural activity.
· Has competitive industry sectors, optimal supply and great variety of raw materials as well as climatic advantages.
· Has significant know-how in the organisation of major international events: EU presidencies, Olympic Games 2004, Cultural Capitals of Europe (Thessaloniki 1997, Patras 2006) and Eurovision 2006.
· Can serve as a bridge for communication with the less favoured regions of the world. Is in a position to play a protagonist role in southeast Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, serving as a pilot to their economic and social reconstruction.
· Offers accessibility to the sizeable emerging markets of the Balkan, Black Sea, eastern European and eastern Mediterranean regions through an existing network of over 3,000 export and investor Greek companies.
· Is one of the top tourist destinations in the world that attracts more than 14 million visitors annually.
· Offers a unique combination of an interesting and friendly culture, a good environment to live and work, as wel as unparalleled beauty, tremperate climate and over 3,000 years of history.
· Its existing conference venues, facilities and amenities are all you would expect from a full-service business class destination.
· Offers generous business grants and incentives schemes.
· Offers a great variety of inviting spots and unique destinations, each one of them waiting to be discovered. From the stunning volcanic caldera of Santorini island or the deserted beach in one of the dream islands of the Aegean archipelago… to the sky-clinging monasteries of Meteora, the Mount Athos, and the deep silence of the Vikos Gorge in Pindos mountains…
· Greeks are friendly, open-minded and openhearted people. And they are well acquainted with foreigners and foreign lands through personal or collective memories and experiences. English is widely spoken.
· Offers lots of special interest activities to be enjoyed all year round: from ecotourism or adventure journeys to health tourism, religious tourism and golf holidays.
· Offers a wide array of mythological places, splendid museums, and historic monuments.
· The climate is mild and diverse. All four seasons and the activities completing them can be enjoyed; from a warm summer and water sports to a crisp winter and skiing in the country’s many ski resorts.
· Enjoy urban adventures and thousands of cultural events in Athens and Thessaloniki.
· If wine and food are your special pleasures, Greece is full of new discoveries as both cuisine and drink are enjoying a renaissance.
· Offers unique hotels (luxury hotels, historic hotels, small hotels of character, guesthouses) offering traditional Greek hospitality, quality travel services, catering to your personal desires and preferences.
· Shopping and nightlife in Athens and Thessaloniki are much like in New York or Paris, while everything is within walking distance from your hotel. You may also experience the cities’ cultural and conference life, as there is always some event taking place.
· Ask the millions of returning visitors, or those foreigners who decided to permanently reside in Greece. As Henry Miller put it in his “Colossus of Maroussi”, "Marvelous things happen to one in Greece, marvelous good things which can happen to one nowhere else on earth."
· Many students choose to study abroad in Greece because they are drawn to classical civilisation as the one by which all other civilizations are measured. Its routes are still present in modern-day Greece. Many foreign archaeological institutes organise relevant full time academic and research programs for graduates.
· Modern Greek is easily recognisable as the language of Plato and the New Testament. Greek language, whether ancient, biblical or modern can be ideally be studied in a Greek speaking environment. Greek language university courses are offered in Athens, Thessaloniki, and during the summer on many Greek islands.
· Interdisciplinary programs covering the literature, culture, history and politics of modern Greece have been established wordwide. Many of these programs also sponsor regular conferences in Greece and elsewhere, offer graduate fellowships, endowed lectures, and publish Greek Studies journals and books.
· Classical and Modern Greek studies programs for undergraduates are ofered in English by various American universities and colleges.
· Orthodox Christian Theology and Biblical studies can be pursued at university level in Athens and Thessaloniki.
· Area and comparative cultural studies, with a European, Balkan or Mediterranean focus, are often offered in English through relevant university study schemes.
· Greece stands at the geopolitical crossroads of Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Studying in Greece opens employment opportunities in business, commerce, finance, technology, travel, banking, journalism, media, education, law, and gives you a competitive edge in many professions.
· Business and IT study programmes are also offered in English at universities and private colleges, attracting a growing number of foreign students.
· Researchers who wish to move to Greece may look at the National Research Foundation Researcher's Mobility Portal for assistance, information on fellowships and grants, research policies in Greece and the EU, and useful links.