Yenching Academy Ambassador Speaker Series: H.E. Leonidas Rokanas, Ambassador of Greece to China
On December 8, 2016, H.E. Ambassador Leonidas Rokanas, Ambassador of Greece to the People’s Republic of China, visited the Yenching Academy of Peking University to participate in the Ambassador Speaker Series. John Holden, Associate Dean of Yenching Academy, greeted the Ambassador and the delegation.
Ambassdor Rokanas began his speech on “Greece's Role Today in the European Union and South Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and Greece- China Relations” by sharing his career profile and experience with the Yenching Scholars in attendance. Next, he introduced some basic information about Greece, such as the country’s history, population and political system. Ambassador Rokanas said that Greece is a strong regional economic player, and one of the most prosperous countries in the South Mediterranean region as well as globally. Despite being at the center of a geopolitically unstable triangle, Greece remains a source of peace, security and prosperity in the region.
Ambassador Rokanas spoke passionately about the need for countries and leaders to recognize and learn from their mistakes, so as not to repeat them in the future. As an example, he discussed the 2008 financial crisis, which nearly resulted in Greece’s exit from the European Union.
When it comes to the Sino-Greek relationship, Ambassador Rokanas argued that bilateral cooperation between Greece and China should be further strengthened. Concrete projects should be conducted, such as the establishment of a Greek cultural center in Beijing and a Chinese cultural center in Athens.
Commenting on the event, Liu Xiaolin (China, Beijing Normal University) noted, “It’s such a distinct opportunity for us to listen to what a country’s leaders think. Similar to China, Greece has a glorious history, with splendid legacies. The country definitely needs to weigh in more in global society.” Hector Zavala (Mexico, National Autonomous University of Mexico) added, “The Ambassdor has a deep love for Greece, and I could tell that he is very proud of his country, which is a must for any diplomat in order to represent and promote his or her nation abroad.”
The Yenching Academy Ambassador Speaker Series seeks to provide a platform for students to interact with Ambassadors, learn about their experiences and thoughts, and benefit from their advice. Through the lens of the Ambassadors, students can contextualize China’s development in the international setting.