On Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, the signing ceremony of the cooperation framework between the Ministry of National Defence and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was held in “Ioannis Kapodistrias” Hall, at the Ministry of National Defence.
This cooperation agreement was signed by the Alternate Minister of National Defence Fotis Kouvelis representing the Ministry of National Defence, and the Rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Meletios-Athanasios Dimopoulos.
The ceremony was attended by the Chief of HNDGS Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, the Chief of HAGS Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, the Chief of HNGS Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, the Chief of HAFGS Lieutenant General Christos Christodoulou, the Commander of National Defence College Vice Admiral Alexandros Diakopoulos, the Special Secretary of the Ministry of National Defence Kalliope Papaleonidas, the competent staff officers responsible for education and training matters, rectors and professors of all the three Military Academies. Athens University was also represented by rectors, members of the Senate, deans and chairmen of departments.
The cooperation framework regards a number of fields and activities and it combines work and study which has been conducted by personnel of the Ministry of National Defence and the University of Athens. This cooperation primarily focuses on the Greek society and its needs, scientific progress and amplification of its activities.
The application and cooperation exchange fields set out are Education, Research and Research Infrastructure, as well as other Activities and Services, such as the establishment of joint advisory committees, the digitalization of museums and cultural sites, the cooperation in Health sector, joint publications etc.
This agreement is the capstone of a long and productive cooperation between the Ministry if National Defence and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
The Alternate Minister of National Defence Fotis Kouvelis stated the following in his address:
We are very pleased to officially sign the Cooperation Framework between the Ministry of National Defence and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. We believe that we are inaugurating a new era of upgraded cooperation between these two bodies of the Greek state.
The text of this Cooperation Framework Agreement combines the work and study which was conducted jointly by the Ministry of National Defence and the University of Athens, as well as an experience which has been consolidated from the cooperation of these two bodies so far and it has an impetus which will become obvious in many fields over the next period.
From this floor, I would like to congratulate all the participants of this effort who drafted this road map of the cooperation between the Ministry and Athens University with zeal and inspiration.
This cooperation will satisfy a number of existent needs and it will show a continuously developing reality.
One may ask what the Ministry of National Defence and Athens University might have in common. Someone else might have a concern because the University is involved in military fields, away from its scientific role and mission.
Someone else might think that the Armed Forces are deviating from their purely military role.
Our maxim is an extract from Plato’s Menexenus:
“EVERY FORM OF KNOWLEDGE WHEN SUNDERED FROM JUSTICE AND THE REST OF VIRTUE IS SEEN TO BE PLAIN ROGUERY RATHER THAN WISDOM”.
We are working for the community and science which serve man and contribute to the development of science itself and social progress.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our time is characterized by the scientific development, specialization and cooperation among various scientific fields and specialties.
What we call interoperability in the Armed Forces, it is called interdisciplinary approach in sciences and in the universities.
At the same time, covering the needs and solving the problems on the real field, requires a cooperation between an agent of force and an agent of knowledge, that is of the Armed Forces with a high level agent of scientific knowledge, research and application, such as the University of Athens.
This cooperation has a particular significance at a critical time for our country.
The three fields of application and cooperation exchange described in the Cooperation Framework are Education, Research and Research Infrastructure, as well as the Other Activities and Services, such as the establishment of joint advisory committees, the digitalisation of museums and cultural sites, the cooperation in the field of health, joint publications etc., and they show us the breadth of this cooperation field.
In parallel, the Operation Model that has been selected for the best communication and the effectiveness of this cooperation which includes the Establishmentof aStrategic Planning Committee and of an Activities Monitoring and Coordination Committee ensures an effective organisation structure for operation and control.
The duration of the Agreement is determined to be 4 years with a possible tacit extension of three more years, it ensures the time deadlines required so that this cooperation can produce results and keep an open future perspective.
The text we are signing is the capstone of a long and productive cooperation between the Ministry of National Defence and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
The experience that both parties have gained from their cooperation so far, shows that it was particularly constructive and beneficial and it guaranteed the successful result of what has been set out and planned in the Cooperation Framework Agreement between the Ministry and the University.
The Ministry of National Defence, given its multifaceted role, cooperated with the scientific personnel of the University in an effort to participate in European programmes.
Our cooperation so far has already demonstrated an important work in the field of education whereas joint groups have already been working in the field of research.
At the same time, there is an expertise exchange through the participation of Athens University personnel in exercises and training, as well as of personnel of the Ministry of National Defence in research conferences and activities of the University.
New cooperation capabilities extend to potential fields of interest such as:
Synergies in new research proposals of common interest, jointly financed by EU as well as national resources, in the field of Defence and Security.
Cooperation of the School of Medicine with Military Hospitals.
Joint organization of educational activities of Interdepartmental Programmes of postgraduate studies with the Military Academies.
Use and execution of experiments in experiment premises of both bodies.
Possibility for Armed Forces personnel to study in Master Programmes regarding their field of specialization, as well as a possibility for Athens University personnel to participate in training agencies of the Ministry of national Defence, such as Military Academies, Hospitals, cyber security etc.
Synergies in facing real incidents in the specialized fields of Armed Forces activities.
The capstone of this whole effort is the declared objective of both parties to cooperate and establish state-of-the-art services and products, in order to achieve the national strategic objectives through the exploitation of the available resources and their capabilities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We can all be confident that this cooperation will be successful and it will be amplified across time.
As a conclusion to this address, after congratulating again all those participants of this effort, I wish the best of success in achieving your objectives and to commit myself, on the part of the political and military leadership of the Ministry, that we will help you in every step of this cooperation.
The Rector of Athens National and Kapodistrian university Meletios-Athanasios Dimopoulos stated in his speech:
the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was founded 181 years ago and it was the first University in the newly founded Greek state and in the area of the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean. It role was decisive from a historical and social point of view and its contribution to the establishment of this country was decisive as well.
Nowadays, the University of Athens is a modern Higher Educational Institute which offers study programmes on a wide spectrum of scientific fields and has been ranked in distinctive positions globally.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens aims clearly to provide integral education, and to promote innovation and science through basic and applied research. An important educational and research activity is conducted in 76 University Clinics and in the 210 laboratories of all the Departments of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
An important research work is produced in all these structures, since Research is very important for Higher Educational Institutes. It is a key principle of their nature and identity and a main pillar of their mission. Tertiary education has always been directly related with Research and its future is there.
So, a public University, and particularly the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens due to its history and nature, exists only when, along with the education it offers, it also conducts high level research through broad cooperation.
The research programmes which are underway in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens are innovative and they include state-of-the-art technologies, they promote scientific excellence and they contribute decisively to outreach activities of the University since their vast majority involves cooperation with other universities and other bodies as well. This is, therefore, the basis to develop further cooperation, to conclude agreements of joint activities and mobility of educational personnel and students, and to consolidate the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens as a public foundation with an attitude of outreach and an international orientation.
Along with the educational and research work, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has been always offering significant social services, since members of its teaching and research personnel often participate in national and international committees, they fulfil significant educational and other social works, they organize and participate in seminars about various social groups and this is in parallel with their University duties.
Based on a 181-year-old history and having our personnel as the main point of our force, professors, research assistants, administrators and students, we all, in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, try to contribute to the satisfaction of the social, cultural and developmental needs of our land and our people focusing on the principles of scientific moral, sustainable development and social cohesion and aiming to serve the Public Interest.
In parallel, the University of Athens undertakes action and participates in addressing important social and national problems, such as the refugee issue, through various activities in local communities and through the implementation of various actions for health, education and culture.
This is it the orientation we follow in our new cooperations and we wish to reinforce Education and Research in our University and, in parallel, to contribute to the achievement of national strategic objectives, through the utilization of the available resources and their capabilities.
We are sure that the cooperation of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens with the Ministry of National Defence, one of the most important pillars of security, social contribution and development activities in the Country will contribute to the achievement of the University’s objectives and will reinforce the work of both agencies.
The personnel of the Ministry of National Defence, both the civilian and the military personnel, offer valuable service to our country every day with a significant social work and a total acknowledgement by the community.
Therefore, the cooperation between two public pillars of stability and growth is very important: tertiary education – particularly the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – and the Ministry of National Defence with the Hellenic National Defence General Staff and the three services.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is a pioneer in technological development. So, the synergy with agencies, such as the Armed Forces in these fields is very important and mutually beneficial.
This is the reason why we, Deans of Schools and Chairmen of Departments, are here today. We all together acknowledge the significance of this cooperation and we can contribute to the achievement of common actions, as well as new forms of cooperation in other sectors.
Finally, let us not forget that our students serve in the Armed Forces, just like many members of your personnel and their families study in our University. So, we already have a close cooperation. This is why life-long learning and post-graduate studies are fields in which we can achieve synergies.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, as a typical Greek public University ought and can reach even better performance through its work and cooperations, as well as point out examples and paradigms to help this country follow a full course of growth.
In Athens University, we are faithfully devoted to achieving these objectives and we know that we can achieve them to the benefit of Greek society, with the country’s support of people’s confidence which we have always been having.
I wish the best of success for our cooperation!
Thank you for your attention”.