The University of the Aegean (UAegean) was founded in 1984 aiming to introduce new approaches in higher education in Greece as well as worldwide, and to promote regional development. Situated in six picturesque islands in the Aegean Archipelago, UAegean offers a unique natural, cultural and human environment for modern studies in the ancient cradle of knowledge. From its earliest days, the UAegean challenged the prevailing limitations of the academic endeavor in Greece, both in terms of educational approach and in terms of organizational structure. These challenges were soon transformed into advantages which have culminated in academic achievements and the rapid development of the institution. In less than thirty years, UAegean has evolved into an international research oriented university offering 18 undergraduate (BA or BSc) and 28 postgraduate (MA or MSc) programmes in modern interdisciplinary thematic areas such as environment, communication systems, cultural informatics, product design, food and nutritional sciences, education design and Mediterranean studies. In addition, the UAegean has established joined international postgraduate programs (i.e. in Biodiversity, Environmental Policy and Management, European Integration) as well as joint PhD degree programmes in a wide range of thematic areas. The early and full incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies in all aspects of academic and administrative operations and the important research outputs in specific fields of excellence and innovation have transformed this unique network of “academic ports of studies and research” into adynamic and competitive institution at national and international level, and a strong social and economic stakeholder in the region. The UAegean has created a strong international academic and research profile, having been an active member of the European Universities Association (EUA), and partner in many academic and research networks and participants to more than 210 bilateral and Long Life Learning Programmes Erasmus academic agreements. The UAegean has received consistently excellent feedback in evaluations that have taken place at national, European and international levels, as a result of the study programmes offered by the institution and its competitive research programs.

The Department of Geography at UAegean will be hosting the Greek team of RESPOND. Here, the main tasks will be to take lead (together with participant no 12, University of Copenhagen) in WP 3: “Refugeeprotection regimes”, and pursue site studies on Greece, for instance in the comparative analyses of WP 1(“Legal & Policy Framework”) and WP 6 (“Conflicting Europeanization”). UAegean will also take responsibility for country reports in e.g. WP 3 (“Refugee protection regimes”), and WP 4 (“Mapping and assessing reception policies, practices and humanitarian responses”).

It is the first Department of geography in Greece, officially established in 1989 in Mytilene, Lesvos, and launched in 1994-1995. Originally, it was called Department of Human Geography, but since 1997 Department of Geography. Its establishment responded, rather belatedly, to the absence of modern geographic education in the country and to the need to develop contemporary geographic academic and research activity in Greece, as in the rest of the world. The Department of Geography belongs to the School of Social Sciences together with the Department of Social Anthropology and History, the Department of Sociology and the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication. Τhe Department of Geography is situated at the University Hill that occupies 5000 square meters and it is equipped with modern facilities. The aim of the Department is to offer a complete programme of undergraduate and graduate education in Geography that observes and responds to both the international developments in the field and the needs and particularities of the study of spatial problems in Greece and its role in the wider Mediterranean and European territory and in particular to the study of migration and asylum movements in Greece and the EU. Since 1994 the Department of Geography follows a dynamic development trajectory. It offers a complete Programme of Undergraduate Studies that continuously adapts to the academic and professional demands of the field. It has two Programmes of Graduate Studies; Geography and Applied Geo-Informatics, and Human Geography, Spatial Development and Planning. The Department has three complete educational laboratories to support teaching and research: Laboratory of Geoinformatics, Laboratory of Physical Geography and Laboratory of Human Geography. A number of research laboratories operate to support research on many thematic areas of Geography. One of the Laboratories is the Population Movements Laboratory with the general scope of undertaking research projects and the development of co-operations in research projects related to population movements. Some of the basic research topics of the Lab are related to international labour migration (S. Europe – Greece), elite migration, refugees and asylum seekers, migration policy and immigrant integration, immigrant integration and social capital, urban centres and migration, human geography of population movements, employment, labour market and migration and multiculturalism. The lab is active in current research on borders, migration, asylum and minority issues.

RESPOND at the University of the Aegean

Petrakou Electra | Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor in Political Geography at the Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, and Co-director of the Population Movements Laboratory. Her main current areas of interest include migration theories, migration and politics at national and European level, asylum, borders power, control policies and security, citizenship and participation, decision making and population movements. She has participated as a senior researcher and principal investigator in a number of projects related to asylum and migration issues and has collaborations with other Academic institutions as well as International and European Organizations and NGOs.

Nadina Leivaditi

Nadina Leivaditi studied Social Anthropology and History at the University of the Aegean and she has earned her Master degree inArchitectural Design – Space – Culture at the National Technical University of Athens. Her master thesis is based on a Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors in Lesvos. Shortly afterwards (2014), she started working for NGO PRAKSIS in Athens, as a social anthropologist in terms of the Program Medical Services Extended. Thereafter, against the background of the refugee crisis (2015-2016), she moved to Lesvos as an envoy of the same NGO, where she undertook several tasks as a Local Coordinator of a range of programs, focused in the Protection Assistance for Children and Vulnerable people on the Move in Lesvos. Later on she participated in a research project as a field researcher that aims at producing actions towards the refugee’s educational support and their long-term educational empowerment in the framework of Project ‘Press’ which is funded by the Hellenic Open University. In December of 2017 until April of the same year she took part in a research project funded by NGO Safe Passage UK, focusing on the functionality of family reunification procedures under the Dublin III Regulation and the implications for unaccompanied children in Greece. Since May 2017 she works as a senior researcher in a recently granted Horizon 2020 project entitled Respond – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond coordinated by Uppsala University.

Evangelia (Eva) Papatzani

Evangelia (Eva) Papatzani is a PhD candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), and member of the RESPOND team of the University of Aegean. She is an Architect by training (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) with a Master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning (NTUA), where she is also a Teaching Assistant. Her doctoral thesis is entitled: “Migration, diversity and negotiations of cohabitation in the neighbourhoods of Athens: Governance policies and everyday practices”, and has been supported with scholarship from the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) and the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI). Her research focuses on the study of migration and urban transformations. She is particularly interested in the socio-spatial relationships developing in the city between immigrants and locals, their everyday negotiations of co-habitation, the spatial dimensions of urban and social policies and the ways these affect different scales of migrants’ everyday life. She has participated in international conferences and published in relevant Greek journals.

Ilias Aggelos

Ilias Aggelos studied Geography in the Univeristy of the Aegean with a minor research on culinary and dietary habits among immigrants in Athens (bachelor level). He also participated voluntarily in several groups in support of refugees and immigrants in Lesvos and in Athens.


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