George Papandreou

Prime Minister of Greece (2009-2011)


George A. Papandreou served as Greece's Prime minister from 2009 to 2011 during the outbreak of the Greek financial crisis. He prevent his country from plunging into bankruptcy, whilst applying a series of structural reforms for modernizing his country. In 2010 he was awarded Germany's Quadriga Award in the category "Power of Veracity", for his achievements related to government Transparency. For his efforts to reform Greece he was named one of the Foreign Policy magazine's TOP 100 Global Thinkers in 2010.


From 1999 to 2004 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. As Foreign Minister he pursued and initiated action to establish common ground between different countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Balkans. In 2000 he received the Eastwest Institute Peace Building Award, jointly with Ismail Cem (Foreign Minister of Turkey), for efforts at improving relations between their formerly rival countries. He also played a key role in the negotiations that led to Turkey's EU candidacy in 1999 and Cyprus's entry into the European Union in May 2004.


Papandreou is a Member of the Board of Directors of Mercy Corps, international NGO supplying humanitarian relief in nearly every conflict zone around the world. Papandreou is a globally recognized expert on the future of the EU, and on the on-going eurozone financial crisis. He is at the forefront of the discussion of the threat of the dangerous political figures that fuel nativist ethnocentrism and xenophobia. Named as one of Foreign Policy magazine's "Top 100 Global Thinkers," he is an expert on the future of the European Union with regard to the refugee crisis, economic stability, global security and shifts in geopolitical alliances. Currently he is the President of the Socialist International, the largest global political organization with 153 social democratic, socialist and Labour parties from all continents.


In addition to his service as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister he served in several government posts, as undersecretary of Culture and Minister of Education. As Minister of Education, he founded the Greek Open University, which allowed for all to participate in distance studies for University degrees, he established multi-cultural schools, and instituted a minimum quota for admission of students in Greek universities who were members of the Muslim community in Greece.


He was leader of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), from 2004 until 2012. During his tenure he brought deep changes to the party by initiating for the first time in European politics, open primaries for the election of the party leader, implementing innovative methods of democratic participation of the grass roots in shaping policies, spreading the use of new technologies for citizen participation in political decision making, promoting educational programs and leadership training seminars for party members and elected cadres. In January 2015, Papandreou he founded a new political party the Movement of Democrats and Socialists, which today is part of a larger alliance under the name of 'Democratic Alignment'. He currently is developing a school for young leaders, through inclusive and democratic leadership training, sustainable policy development as well as building networks beyond borders, in particular in the wider region of the Mediterranean and the Balkans.


He graduated from Amherst College and holds an M.Sc. in Sociology and Development from London School of Economics. He was a fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (1992-1993) and the Institute of Politics (2012). In 2013, he served as a Global Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs as well as a faculty member in the Master of Public Affairs program at Sciences Po in Paris. He speaks Greek, English and Swedish.


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