By guest blogger, on 3 May 2012
It is an undeniable fact that Greece, my home country, has lived through better days, but despite our society’s gloomy mood – due to the continuing recession – the UCL alumni reception in Athens, last week, was a great success.
Hundreds of Greek alumni put aside their problems and anxiety about the future, and came in the best of their spirits to the “hottest event in town”, as our Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, so smartly said.
On 25 April, for one night, the talk of the town was not the recession, but our beloved British university and the memories that we cherish from our student years.
All the Greek UCL alumni that attended the reception at the British Embassy felt proud to be part of the history of UCL. The first University to accept women as students, the first University that put religion aside – UCL is part of our personal history.
The legacy of UCL runs in our veins and reminds us nowadays that although our country is on the verge of default, there is always a solution and that science and technology can always find a way, even in the gloomiest situations.
Our Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, opened the UCL alumni reception with a friendly and spirited speech that reminded us once again how lucky we are to be a living part of UCL.
Following the speeches, the garden of the British Ambassador’s residence hosted a great party – spring coming to Athens just in time for the big event.
Each and every one of us is a member of a growing community of 150,000 alumni who hope to change the world. And maybe one day we will succeed.
For the community of Greek UCL alumni, the first step is to try to change our country: a country that gave birth to democracy but that now faces great problems along with other European countries.
We are just a part of the big European issue, a small piece of the puzzle that describes the European crisis. And like Great Britain – the home of UCL – we want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
UCL taught us to believe in science. And science, in practice, is, above all, about teamwork. In order to get out of the crisis, in order to stop the recession, we need to work as a team. That’s what I realised after leaving the reception that night. I really hope that next year the situation in Greece will be better and we can celebrate this at future alumni gatherings.
At the next alumni reception, I hope that the “talk of the town” will be not the Greek recession or the Greek experiment, but the Greek miracle – the miracle of a country being reborn from its ashes, using as building blocks the skills of a new generation, a generation that has benefited from studying at one of the greatest universities in the world.
On the world ladder, UCL stands at number 7, my personal lucky number. This is, I think, a good omen!