The Next Generation Initiative

The Next Generation Initiative
The Next Generation Initiat.png
Type Non-Profit Education Foundation
Founded 2003
Location Washington, DC, United States
Focus Fellowships, internships, master class and mentorship programs which prepare students for leadership

The Next Generation Initiative is an independent non-profit educational foundation focused on helping students gain real-world skills and experience that will advance their education, and serve them as future leaders in their communities and in the broader public arena.

The Initiative works with leaders and executives in the fields of public affairs, government, science, technology, education, business and the arts to open up opportunities for fellowships, internships, seminars and other educational opportunities which might not otherwise be available to students.



Often referred to as Hellenext, the Next Generation Initiative was founded in 2003[1] with the help of a group of Greek-American leaders — including the President Emeritus of New York University, John Brademas, Gates Foundation executive Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Michael Dukakis, high-tech entrepreneur Ted Leonsis, former Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Spyridon Pope, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, journalist George Stephanopoulos and George Tenet — who went on to offer the Initiative’s first Master Classes for Young Leaders to students in Boston, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Joined by other leaders from the global Greek community — including Canadian broadcast journalist Thalia Assuras, Greece’s Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandros Mallias, Special Envoy Andrew Natsios, founding publisher of Odyssey magazine Gregory Maniatis, the late CBS correspondent Ike Pappas and the Hon. Sen. Olympia Snowe — these leaders have continued to inspire and guide the Initiative’s vision as members of the Initiative’s Advisory Board.[2]

Other founding members include educators who have helped guide the Initiative’s efforts to help students — such as Dr. William Capitan, President Emeritus of Georgia Southwestern State University, Prof. Theodore Couloumbis of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Dr. James Dimitriou of AHEPA’s Journey to Greece, the late Prof. Charles Moskos of Northwestern University, Prof. Chris Pavlides of Temple University, and Alexis Phylactopoulos President of the College Year in Athens — as well as leaders and experts in the fields of public affairs and philanthropy, including the founder of the Caring Institute Val Halamandaris, former President and CEO of Save the Children Canada Effie Triantafilopoulos, attorney and venture capitalist George Stamas, Initiative co-founders Leon Stavrou (the first executive director of the American Hellenic Institute and the first full-time registered lobbyist for a Greek American organization[3]) and William Shuyler, and the Executive Director of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation and former Ambassador of Greece to the U.S., Loucas Tsilas.

Master Classes for Young Leaders

The Next Generation Initiative’s Master Classes for Young Leaders program is a continuing series of informal seminars and “conversations with leaders” which bring undergraduate and graduate students together with an array of leaders who speak with students about their background and experiences as leaders, and discuss their views and insights concerning current issues. The Next Generation Initiative offers these Master Classes on a free, first-come first-served basis.

In recent years, Master Class leaders have included Bill Antholis at the Brookings Institution, Thalia Assuras at CBS News, former Congressman John Brademas at NYU, Sylvia Mathews Burwell at the Gates Foundation, Spyros Capralos at the Athens Stock Exchange, Prof. Theodore Couloumbis at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Gov. Michael Dukakis at Northeastern University, Paul Glastris at the Washington Monthly, Dr. George Hatsopoulos and Marina Hatsopoulos at MIT, Maria Iliou at the American Film Institute, Amb. Andreas Kakouris at the Embassy of Cyprus, Nikos Konstandaras at the Athens offices of Kathimerini newspaper, Amb. Tom Korologos, Ted Leonsis at AOL, Dr. Panos Livadas at the National Press Club, Amb. Alexandros Mallias at the Embassy of Greece, Mike Manatos and Tom Manatos in the Office of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Dr. Demetrios Papademetriou at the Migration Policy Institute, Aris Papadapoulos of Titan Cement, Maria Papathanasiou of the European Institute, Tony Podesta of Podesta Associates (now known as the Podesta Group), Barbara Spyridon Pope at the State Department, Emanuel Rouvelas of K&L Gates, Chairman of Greece’s Council of Economic Advisors, Prof. Plutarchos Sakellaris, Rep. John Sarbanes, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Rep. Zack Space, Chris Saridakis at Gannet, John Sitilides at the Woodrow Wilson Center, George Stephanopoulos at ABC News, George Tenet at Georgetown University, Rep. Dina Titus, Frances Townsend, shipowner Nikolas Tsakos of Tsakos Shipping, Rep. Niki Tsongas, and Dr. Roy Vagelos at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Athens Fellowship

The Athens Fellowship is an international leadership program for university students which focuses on Greece.[4] Conducted in partnership with Greece’s Secretariat of Communication, the Next Generation Initiative’s Athens Fellowship program offers outstanding undergraduate and graduate students of Hellenic heritage who are studying government, political science, international relations, economics, business, journalism and related fields, opportunities to meet with leaders on both sides of the Atlantic and attend seminars and briefings on a range of issues that focuses on Greece as a global power based on the global dominance of Greek shipping, as a growing economic and political power in Europe, and as a regional leader in Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. In previous years, Athens Fellows have included students from Brown University, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown University, Harvard, Princeton University, Vanderbilt University and Yale University, Boston College, Dartmouth College, Dickinson College, Miami University, Occidental College and the University of Chicago, the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania as well as students from Arizona State University, George Washington University, Hollins University, James Madison University, New York University, MIT, Stanford, UCLA and the University of Virginia.

Got Greek?

The Got Greek? National Student Survey is the first national online study designed exclusively for American university students of Greek ancestry. The Got Greek? survey is part of the Next Generation National Research Study, the first nationwide, in-depth research study of Greek-American/Greek/Hellenic college students using interviews, polls, surveys and student forums to help students tell their own stories. Launched in 2008 by the Next Generation Initiative with significant support from the Zapis Charitable Foundation and others, the Study is being conducted with the assistance of a network of over 45 Greek-American/Hellenic student groups on college campuses across the country. The survey has been featured in various news publications such as The National Herald.

Birthright Greece

To meet the growing interest on the part of young Greek-Americans in a revitalized Greece following the Athens 2004 Olympics — especially on the part of those college-aged students who have never been to Greece — the Initiative launched the Athens Fellowship. At the same time, the Initiative began its support of AHEPA’s reborn Journey to Greece — a program which offers students college credit for summer classes taken on a campus in Athens. Taken together, these two programs mark the first steps towards the Initiative’s pioneering vision of a “Birthright Greece” alliance, inspired in part by a 2007 Odyssey Magazine article[5] in which Gregory Maniatis argued passionately for the expansion of the Athens Fellowship into a program similar to the Birthright Israel program — which is a network of programs that offers thousands of college-age students the opportunity to visit Israel every year. The Initiative’s continuing work with the government of Greece and organizations such as AHEPA’s Journey to Greece represents the foundation of the Next Generation Initiative’s efforts to make the “Birthright Greece” concept a reality for all the young men and women of the Greek diaspora who want to see and experience Greece for themselves.


  1. ^ “What’s Next” Publisher’s Logbook by Gregory Maniatis Odyssey Magazine January/February 2006 page 7
  2. ^ “Leon Stavrou leads efforts to reach young Greek Americans who are "outside the box"” by Vicki James Yiannias, The Greek American Weekly Newspaper Monday, April 06, 2009
    “Young diaspora Greeks and ethnic identity: The Hellenext network connects younger Greek Americans with eminent personalities who come from the same background” By Margarita Pournara, I Kathimerini newspaper, April 11, 2007
    “Will You Be Interning in Washington, DC This Summer?” May 19, 2008 The Greek American Weekly Newspaper
    “The Next Generation Initiative: Leon Stavrou’s Latest Hellenic Passion” By Eleni Kostopoulos, National Herald, April 25, 2009 page 3
  3. ^ “Greek Americans, struggle and success” by Charles C. Moskos - 1989 page 171
  4. ^ “Next Generation Initiative Offers College Students Unforgettable Experiences in Greece” Greek America Magazine, May June 2008 pages 42-46
  5. ^ “Birthright” Publisher’s Logbook by Gregory Maniatis, Odyssey magazine July/ August 2007

External links

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