It is a small world – and Greek politics is even smaller

George Papandreou will teach a seminar here at Columbia University this spring semester called “Challenges to democracy and governance in times of global crises – the case of Europe and Greece.”

So here is something you perhaps did not know: Papandreou did actually not grow up in Greece, but here in North America. His father was teaching Economics at the University of Minnesota at the time when he was born in Saint Paul. He entered Amherst College (which enrolls fewer than 2000 students in total) with the class of ’74 together with Antonis Samaras. The two of them became roommates. In 1981 they would both meet again at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean when they were both elected to the Greek Parliament. Representing different parties, they would become members of cabinets that succeeded each other in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

In 2009, Papandreou became the 182nd Prime Minister in 187 years. He followed in the footsteps of his father (174th and 179th Prime Minister) and paternal grandfather (134th, 160th, and 162nd Prime Minister). And after two caretaker governments, the former roommate Samaras succeeded Papandreou, and also became Prime Minister of Greece.

Simon Hedlin

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