In ancient Greece, hospitality was an act of virtue. Xenios Zeus was the god of hospitality and protected ξένοι [xénos] (=alien, foreigner). It was a sacred duty to welcome, protect and care for foreigners while mistreating foreigners was considered a sin. Social and class barriers were abolished through hospitality, as both rich and poor, noble and commoners were entitled to hospitality.
In this sense, welcoming refugees to Greece nowadays is simply continuing an ancient tradition. Following the ancient thread, the programme “KA2 – Managing the refugee and migrant flows through the development of educational and vocational frames for children and adults” was developed.
The target group in our project is newly arrived refugees in Northern Greece. The present Welcome Guide is addressed to refugee children aged 6-15 and aims to acquaint them with the wider area of their temporary home. Children at that age along with their parents or guardians or/and teachers in the hot spots can tour the city and visit historical landmarks, find and familiarize themselves with everyday convenience buildings and sneak inside a school.
The structure of the Welcome Guide is based on the principles of literacy development in a second or foreign language. Except for the written form, texts are supplemented by visual and sound sources to facilitate children in identifying the link between signifier and signified. An attempt has been made, wherever possible, to link the children’s culture (Syrian, in this case) with the Greek culture. All pictures are followed by a short caption addressed to younger children and a slightly longer text addressed to older children. Also, websites are suggested for further exploration for most of the entries. The Welcome Guide invites adult mediation; however, children can explore the Guide on their own through a multimodal, multilinguistic and multicultural journey.
The Welcome Guide aspires to be a hospitable and friendly introduction to the city of Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki being the paradigm for any city), but also the threshold to the children’s sensitization and initiation to the Greek culture and language.
Research project conducted by members of the Centre of Pedagogical Research and Praxis – C.P.R.P., Faculty of Education, School of Primary Education, AUTH
- Christodoula Mitakidou, Academic Supervisor, Professor, Faculty of Education, School of Primary Education, AUTH
- Evangelia Tressou, Professor, Faculty of Education, School of Primary Education, AUTH
- Martha Ioannidou, Lecturer, Faculty of Education, School of Primary Education, AUTH
Primary Education Teachers responsible for the preparation of additional educational material
- Thekla Mihaloglou
- Eleni Xefteri
Special thanks for the support in the production of the Welcome Guide to:
- Anastasios Papas, Primary education teacher, 92nd Primary School Thessaloniki
- Eleni Bousia, Primary education teacher, 1st Primary School Neapoli Thessaloniki
- Panayotis Somounidis, 5th grade student, 92nd Primary School Thessaloniki
- Maria Kokkinidou, 5th grade student, 92nd Primary School Thessaloniki
- Anna-Vilelmini Valsami-Triantafyllou, 5th grade student, 92nd Primary School Thessaloniki
- Albanos-Rallis Lefteris, 5th grade student, 92nd Primary School Thessaloniki
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