Speakers Discuss Possibilities for Greek Recovery

Repower Greece
Jessica C. Salley

Alexandros Costopoulos introduces his Repower Greece project on Tuesday. At the event, eight speakers delivered their ideas about re-energizing the Greek economy through social entrepreneurship.

A group of student and faculty presenters from the Boston area advocated investing in the brainpower of the Greece’s citizens to improve the troubled country’s economic outlook at an event Tuesday evening.

The Harvard College Hellenic Society and the MIT Hellenic Students’ Association sponsored the forum entitled “Repowering Greece: The Most Innovative Ways to Revamp Greece.” The symposium was co-sponsored by the RepowerGreece campaign, an international initiative to promote Greece.

The eight speakers, selected from many students and faculty throughout Boston, shared their solutions to the situation in a TED Talk-like format. Ideas ranged from advising that Greece set up a social media platform to match supply and demand for day-to-day services to suggesting that Greece invest more in mobile technology to better capitalize on tourism, its main industry.

“The real gold mine for Greece is in its people’s intellect,” said Nicholas Ashford, professor of technology and policy at MIT, who criticized Greece’s current operation to establish a gold mine in its northern regions. “We’re going in the wrong direction.”

Harvard students Paul P. Stavropoulos ’13 and Maria N. Theophanous ’13 echoed the same sentiment by applying an economic model to demonstrate the importance of innovation to Greece’s economic growth.

Multimedia

Repowering Greece

Repowering Greece

“Innovation is the best way for Greece to have a long-term and sustainable growth process,” said Theophanous, before revealing that Greece is ranked 146 out of 150 countries in the world as the best place to start a business. The United States, on the other hand, is ranked 13.

Ioannis Simaiakis, a McKinsey and Company management consultant with a Ph.D. from MIT, also compared the U.S. to Greece and proposed an explanation as to why the two differed greatly. Greece, he said, took a “shortcut” to the path of sustainability. According to Simaiakis, Greece had hoped to instill values by focusing its attention on its institutions and policies rather than creating values of its people.

Citing Ashford’s previous statement on the importance of self-discovery in Greece, Simaiakis agreed that a social transformation was greatly needed to improve the country.

—Staff writer Connie Yan can be reached at connieyan@college.harvard.edu.

Tags