Description of Courses

Introducing Philosophy

Week 1: Monday

What is leadership and what makes a leader? From Plato’s philosopher king to the modern innovator, the ideaof a leader seems to have acquired a great variety of manifestations. ‘Introducing Philosophy’ discusses these manifestations, in order to explore what a philosophical discussion of the idea of a leader might entail.  The module explores types of leaders and styles of leadership by using reference points from history, politics, business and art. 

*Note: The module will provide the general guidelines for the students’ participation in the rest of the philosophy modules.

Philosophy Case Studies – Ethics 

Week 1: Wednesday

A significant aspect of leadership is the capacity to make decisions and take responsibility, even in the absence of clear criteria or circumstances that can provide a leader with guidance. As it is characteristically said, there are many times when leaders are not simply ‘given responsibility’ but must actually ‘take it’. But, what are the ethical implications of such moments? Through particular (real and fictional) case studies, this module explores exactly these implications.

Exploring Philosophy: Library and Internet Research Challenges

Week 1: Friday

Students learn how to look for and use information, in order to tackle a specific research question.

Suggested Research Question (sample from the previous year): Whether it is in politics or business, in school or within a family, a leader demonstrates the capacity to draw different people together towards common values or purposes. Pick a public figure or person in your life that has had significant influence on a particular group of people, and prepare a five-point presentation about why this person should be regarded as a leader.

Leadership Round Table Discussion

Part 1: The Phenomenon of Totalitarianism

Week 1: Friday

Professor of History, History of Ideas and Political Theory at the American College of Greece, Dr. Haris Vlavianos, will give a lecture on the relation between power, manipulation and morality, by discussing the negative example of Adolf Hitler as a leader.

Leadership Round Table Discussion

Part 2: Initiative and Uncertainty in Art and Philosophy (Film Discussion), Week 1: Friday 

This module discusses ethical decision-making, in relation to a characteristic case-example film. The philosophy instructors explore the themes and parameters which allow students to consider the film under a philosophical light.

Key topics of discussion for this year: Justice, Consequences and Influence

Philosophy Presentations

Week 2: Friday

The three student groups formed in the ‘Exploring Philosophy’ module will present the answer to the research question they have chosen, explaining their choice by using the outcome of their research. The students of each group are invited to work together, in order to integrate each individual presentation in the presentation of the group as a whole.


Week 1: Wednesday and Thursday

Week 2: Wednesday

Public speaking skills, most importantly the art of persuasion, are essential for anyone considering taking on a leadership role. Participants in the Pierce Leadership Academy will explore what persuasion means and also discuss the ethical aspects of this art. These skills will be practiced through organized DEBATES once participants have been introduced to basic debate format and rules. The overarching goals of this module are: 1) to sharpen critical thinking skills and 2) to build self-confidence when addressing an audience.

Emotional Intelligence Workshops

Week 1: Monday

Week 2: Monday and Wednesday  

* Emotional Intelligence and The Hero’s Journey Workshop

Psychiatrist, Dramatherapist and Director, Dr. Stelios Krassanakis, will discuss the influence of stereotypes on the ways we become aware of ourselves, as well as on the ways we perceive the idea of a ‘leader’. Dr. Krassanakis will also discuss the significance of our relation to art and dramatic character in acquiring self-awareness.  The relevant workshops (role-play method) will follow the discussion.

* Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness Workshop

* Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence Workshop

Psychologist, teacher and developer of innovative educational programs, Dr. Nektaria Glinou will explore ideas of self-awareness (mindfulness and spiritual intelligence) through particular exercises with the students, while also examining the relation between self-awareness and the workings of community.

For the Emotional Intelligence Workshops’ general structure, please see Curriculum Overview. Specifically; for the units of exercises, see below:

Theater, Theater Acting and Drama Modules-Workshops

Week 2: Friday

In order to enhance the students’ capacity for self-discovery, creative awareness, empathy and teamwork (see also Emotional Intelligence Workshops, Curriculum Overview), the Academy offers a range of Theater and Drama Modules.

Introduction to the Basic Concept of Drama

Week 1: Monday

Students are introduced to the workings of drama through a theoretical introduction explaining drama’s origins in ancient Greek theater. Students are introduced to the significance of concepts such as tragedy (τραγωδία), catharsis (κάθαρση) and methexis (μέθεξη), while being invited to relate these concepts to personal experiences in the theatrical context. The module is held in the Greek language.

Making Sense of the Useless: Transforming waste into theater scenery objects

Week 1: Monday

By utilizing apparently useless materials (i.e. used bottles of water), the students work together in order to produce an artefact that is necessary for their final theatrical performance.  The module brings together two basic concerns of the Academy: the cultivation of environmental sensitivity and the cultivation of the capacity for creative teamwork. Suggested Topic: WATER (Use – Metaphor – Significance)

Ancient Forum of Athens Theater Workshop /Agora Workshop

Week 2: Tuesday

One theater workshop takes place in the social, economic and cultural center of ancient Athens, the Agora. From philosophers to slave traders, from craftsmen to politicians, the Ancient Agora of Athens was a place that drew people together from all walks of life. What is the function of such a ‘melting pot’, what is the meaning of a ‘public space’ and what are its possibilities? It is these questions that we will be exploring through this workshop. The workshop takes place on site, in order to allow participants to experience each place as an imagination ‘trigger’. Participants are invited to integrate this experience in their performances.

Environmental Responsibility Workshops

Week 1: Wednesday

A field of action that equally requires our heightened awareness and our responsible decision-making is our relationship with the environment. Therefore, the program offers a range of environmental workshops that intend to encourage the participants’ understanding of and engagement with the relevant issues.

Greenspaces Initiative Workshop -WWF Hellas

Week 1: Wednesday

The purpose of this workshop is to familiarize students with the need for more ‘green’ areas in our cities. More specifically, students learn how to identify and evaluate this need in particular parts of Athens. The workshop this year will start from the Botanic Garden, and then move to the urban space nearby.

Global Climate Change and Water Workshop – WWF Hellas

Week 1: Wednesday

The workshop will use various games and learning exercises, in order to render intelligible, the complexity and urgency of increasing global warming, as well as the significance of questions related to the use of water resources.

Plato’s Academy: Space and/as Thought

Week 1: Tuesday

During our visit to Plato’s Academy, we will learn and discuss the various ways the space has been used throughout history (for an exploration of such layers of usage, see also ‘Kapodistrias Walk’ [building of the old orphanage]). We will focus, of course, on the most significant use of the space as a forum for the development of a diverse, philosophical culture.

Visit to the Nursery Garden of the Agricultural University of Athens

Week 1: Tuesday

The visit will allow students to understand the significance of biodiversity, an issue that will also be expanded upon during the visit to EKPAZ in Aegina.

Mediation Presentation and Games

Week 3: Monday

A presentation of what mediation is to all students of the Pierce Leadership Academy course, in order to understand and explore the fundamental principles of mediation. Students will have the opportunity to practice mediating conflicts and understand the value of mediation as a conflict resolution tool applicable games.

STEM Presentation and Games

Week 3: Monday

A presentation of what is STEM to all students of the Pierce Leadership Academy course. Students will have the opportunity to see experiments and science workshops in order to understand the varied roles science plays in our society.

Ethical Dilemmas and Games

Week 3: Monday

A presentation of what leadership is to all Pierce Leadership Academy students, in order for them to understand and explore the fundamentals of leadership, so that they can connect STEM and mediation areas with social responsibility controversies.

Mediation, STEM, and Social Change: The Work of Nobel Peace Laureate Sir Joseph Rotblat (UK)
Week 3: Wednesday

Sir Joseph Rotblat won the Peace Prize in 1995 for advocating for human safety and security in the use of scientific developments, and against the reckless use of weapons of mass destruction, after working on the atomic bomb with Einstein and Russell Bertrand.  Students will explore right vs. wrong ethical dilemmas in STEM research, and the responsibility that scientists have to preserve human life in the pursuit of progress. Students will participate in a conference call with his Research Assistant, Sally Milne.

Theater Acting

Week 3: Thursday 

Students from all groups will work together for the Final Performance of the Pierce Leadership Academy that will be presented on the last day of the summer program.

Feedback: Final Reports

Week 3: Friday

Each student is invited to write an individual report about their interaction with the rest of the students, as well as about their experience of the Academy as whole. The reports are going to be handed in to the program’s coordinators and will be taken into account by the instructors’ reports, which will be sent to each student via email, after the program has ended.

Final Performance – Ethical Dilemmas: An artistic touch – Certificates

Week 3: Friday