The 26th annual Runciman lecture: Greece in the Balkans: A Cohabitation of Past, Present and Future – 2 February

Throughout the last two centuries of Balkan history, national identities have been transformed, political cohesion of nation states has given way to segmentation and pre-modern creeds have existed next to modernist ideas.

Location: King’s College, Great Hall, King’s Building, Strand Campus, London

When: 02/02/2017 (18:00-19:30)

This event is open to all and free to attend. No booking is necessary. Please direct any queries to

As is the case with most of Europe, cultural syncretism in the Balkans permeates all aspects of life. Culinary habits, education, even politics attest to these realities. In our global world, nation-states coexist in different stages of development. States still in a pre-modern phase live side by side with modernity as well as post-modernity. If pre-modernity is characterized by religious devotion, modernity is about unitary states and their secular priorities. Post-modernity is best exhibited by the influence of supranational organisations such as the EU, with multicultural values and transnational partners.

While Greece is struggling with accumulated debts to its western creditors, the Greeks are losing sight of their relationships with their southeastern European neighbours. Previous fruitful investments in the Balkans made Greece a major contributor to regional growth. A paragon of modernity since the war of independence in the 1820s, thanks to its active diaspora, Greece has suffered from a dearth of political leadership during the last three and a half decades. Whereas its northern neighbours are narrowing the gap between their economies and the only frontrunner state that belongs to all western institutions, Greece will have to make a new political start in order to maintain its lead in the region.

Thanos Veremis is Professor Emeritus of Political History at Athens University. He has been a founding member and former President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). He has served as Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (for which he wrote Adelphi Paper No. 179), as well as Visiting Professor at Princeton, LSE, Oxford and the University of Illinois-Chicago. He was appointed President of the National Council of Education (2004-2012) and was Constantine Karamanlis Professor in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Boston. He gained his DPhil at Trinity College, Oxford. He is the author of many books, including, in English: Modern Greece – A History since 1821 (with John S. Koliopoulos, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) ,The Military in Greek Politics (Hurst, 1997) and Greece’s Balkan Entanglement (ELIAMEP-YALCO, 1992).

The lecture is preceded by Orthodox Vespers in the Chapel at 17.15. The event is sponsored by Nicholas and Matti Egon.

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