Interview with the Director of the Fondation hellénique
After studying architecture at the National Technical University of Athens, I pursued my doctoral studies in urban geography at Sorbonne university. Since 2009 I have been a professor at Pantheon-Sorbonne University. The reputation of la Fondation Hellenique – a mythical place for the Greeks of Greece and the diaspora – is immense, which is why I wanted to apply. Managing the building is very rewarding, it means living in an international and cosmopolitan environment that is bursting with ideas!
The Cité internationale is unique! André Honnorat’s vision of a university city that welcomes citizen-students from around the world – a small League of Nations – doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. For me, the Cité internationale should be a model of inspiration, both for its infrastructure and for the way in which it welcomes students and researchers. The Cité internationale’s park, itself a natural conservatory, the architecture of the buildings, works by celebrated architects but also by less well-known creators who, through the building’s architecture, have surpassed themselves to provide the quintessence of their country and the rule of “mixing” that allows them to share their living space with students from all corners of the world are all testimonies of an extraordinary visionary project. If proof is required: if the Cité internationale has represented a social and academic innovation from the moment of its construction, almost 100 years ago, we have not understood as clearly as we do today, in a world characterised by tensions, the fact that it is the expression of an avant-garde model of living together.
The residents living at the Fondation Hellénique meet students and researchers from around the world who speak other languages, who have different disciplinary profiles, who have different backgrounds to their own. They have numerous chances to discuss their studies with their colleagues from other backgrounds, who often open up new perspectives. The Fondation Hellénique is also a space for debates and exchanges. It is also a space for creation, often co-creation.
VISIONARY! Because a century ago not just anyone was able to create a model of viable, sustainable and stable cohabitation!
Ms. Aghi Balta, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, was born in Athens. She is married to Mr. Dimitris Alexandrakis, the Greek Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran. She graduated from the University of Athens with a Masters in Law. Before being appointed as the Greek Ambassador to Paris, Ms. Aghi Balta was the Head of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2012-2016) and the Greek Ambassador to the Republic of Chili (2012-2016).