I was thrilled to receive a Fulbright award to the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1989 and knew very little about the city, the people nor the culture. The Fulbright experience opened my eyes to, not only the native Greek culture and the dominate religion of Orthodoxy, but also that of Turkish Muslim and Sephardic Judaism, both of which had dominated the city at different times in the fascinating history of Thessaloniki. I was welcomed by my Greek colleagues and friends to their homes in their native villages, treated with the delicious Greek cuisine, enjoyed festivals with traditional Greek dancing and traveled throughout Greece, including the beautiful Greek islands. We visited the important agricultural regions of Macedonia and participated in student summer field courses in forest regions of the Pindos mountains of central Greece.
Greece was one of the first countries to become a part of the International Fulbright program many years ago and I received invitations to lectures not only at the University, but to members of the Fulbright Association in Thessaloniki. A highlight of my experience was the opportunity to meet Senator William Fulbright, the founder of the Fulbright program, during his visit to Greece in 1989. Senator Fulbright received the prestigious Onassis Award at the Grand Bretagne Hotel in Athens and all the American Fulbright Students and Professors in Greece that year were invited to the ceremony, with a special opportunity to personally meet the Senator. I did not expect to have such unique special experiences added to my research program at the University when I accepted the award, but the experience exemplified the superb benefits of international cooperation and exchanges.
I have written about my Greek Fulbright experience in a book entitled “A Sabbatical in Greece: Thessaloniki and Mt Athos” available on Amazon. Here is the link to the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sabbatical-Greece-Thessaloniki-Mt-Athos-ebook/dp/B08JHFCWC5
Raymond Young – Fulbright to Greece 1989