First established in 2008, the Modern Greek Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joins a growing trend among leading institutions of higher education such as Princeton University, Yale University, and the University of California at San Diego by offering programs in Hellenic Studies. All are part of the Modern Greek Studies Association. It continues an educational tradition started by the Chicagoland community with one of the nation's largest concentrations of Greeks and Greek-Americans in the world.
The program's first component was introduced in 2009 with the offering of Modern Greek language classes. A wide variety of culture courses soon followed. In 2013, a Study Abroad course taught by Director Stefanos Katsikas, Ph.D., the first of its kind, entitled "Conflict and Post-Conflict Resolution in Modern Cyprus: Life and Culture Divided by a Wall" brought undergraduate students of Greek-American and non-Greek heritage from across the U of I campus to Cyprus where they had the opportunity to meet with top government and religious officials and appear on Cyprus's national television, radio stations, and other public media.
The program organizes numerous events each year pertaining to modern Greece and Cyprus, featuring research and scholarship in areas such as national and regional identity construction, immigrant coomunities, minorities, multiculturalism, and the economic crisis and its impact.