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Department of Art & Graphic Design Organize an Academic Field Trip to Greece

Faculty members from the Department of Art & Graphic Design at the American University of Kuwait, Dr. Antonia Stamos, Assistant Professor of Art History; and Mr. William Andersen, Associate Professor of Studio Arts/Graphic Design, organized an academic field trip to Greece for AUK students and faculty members, along with their family members and AUK alumni, to visit archaeological sites, ancient monuments and museums in Greece and experience the country's history and culture. Over the ten-day trip, the multi-cultural group, which represented nine countries, visited historical sites and structures from the Prehistoric, Archaic, Classical, Byzantine, and Modern Greek historical periods.

Upon their arrival to Athens, the group briefly explored the city center before they headed to the island of Santorini; home to blue-domed churches, idyllic cliff-side dwellings, and the Bronze Age site of Akrotiri. While there, the group witnessed a parade that was held in celebration of the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

Following Santorini, the group headed back to Athens for a tour of Ancient Athens, where they visited Syntagma Square, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Greek Parliament Building, the Parthenon on the Acropolis, and the Acropolis Museum, where the caryatids - sculpted female statues that serve as columns - now stand as sentinels, and the Archaeological Museum of Athens where the treasures of the Ancient Greek world were on display. The students also experienced the metro system in Athens after some souvenir shopping in Plaka, the famous heart of ancient Athens.

Next, the group went on the Peloponnesian tour, which began with a quick stop at the Corinth Canal at Isthmia. They visited Mycenae (home of legendary Agamemnon), and had lunch at the port city of Nafplio (the first capital of Greece). After lunch, they headed to ancient Olympia (birthplace of the Olympic Games), Nafpaktos, and the scenic Itea (the port city of Delphi), and continued to the site and museum at Delphi, home of the Delphic Oracle.

Meteora (which translates to "suspended in the sky") was their last stop before returning to Athens. The six remaining monasteries, some built as early as the 11th century, are situated atop inaccessible natural rock pillars and are filled with Byzantine frescoes. Dr. Stamos, one of the organizers of the field trip, described the experience as a sublime encounter between man and nature.

"The trip was truly the trip of a lifetime; the classroom was brought to life as artwork and architecture were finally experienced in their proper contexts. New foods were discovered and explored. Moreover, the sheer beauty of the country, its history, and the hospitality of its people is something that everyone bonded over and brought back with them. We also wish to thank the Department of Art and Graphic Design, the College of Arts & Science's Office of the Dean, the President's Office, and the Department of Finance for all their help and support in the planning and preparation for this trip; without them it would not have been possible. As they say in Greece, "Efharisto poli!," she said.

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Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 14th April 2016

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