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George Papandreou

Prime Minister of Greece, 2009-2011
 George Papandreou

Raised with Greek politics in his blood, yet very much a product of his multicultural upbringing, George Papandreou has followed in the footsteps of both his grandfather and father to become the Prime Minister of Greece from 2009-2011. Born on June 26, 1952, in the US state of Minnesota, Papandreou spent his childhood in the US and Canada, until his family returned to Greece in 1961. In 1967, his father, Andreas Papandreou, was arrested and imprisoned by the military dictatorship ruling Greece at the time. The pressure brought to bear by thousands of internationally prominent figures forced the junta to release him eight months later. The family fled to Sweden, where they were given political asylum. A few years later, the Papandreou family moved to Canada, where George finished high school.

After completing his university studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts and graduate studies at the London School of Economics, Papandreou won an MP seat for the Pan‐Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in 1981. He has served in the Greek parliament ever since. He has held the posts of Under‐Secretary for Cultural Affairs, Minister for Education, and Minister for Foreign Affairs. As Foreign Minister from 1999–2004, he was widely praised for his diplomatic bridge‐building. He successfully negotiated better relations with old rival Turkey. He 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.

In 2004, Papandreou was elected leader of PASOK in the party and country's first open primary ‐ a move highly symbolic of his commitment to participatory governance. As Prime Minister from 2009-2011, George Papandreou retained the portfolio of Foreign Minister and continued to strengthen relationships within Southeastern Europe, promoting a ‘zero problem’ neighbourhood policy. The Greek initiative ‘Agenda 2014’ seeks to integrate the Western Balkan states into Europe by 2014 ‐ a significant milestone one hundred years after the outbreak of World War I.

Around the world, Papandreou has deployed ‘Green Diplomacy,’ calling for the protection of the environment. He has pledged to rebuild the Greek economy using green technology as an engine for sustainable development and job creation ‐ transforming Greece into the “Denmark of the South.” Above all, George Papandreou is a firm believer in all‐inclusive democracy. He has championed human rights at home and abroad, and has actively sought to maximize citizen participation in governance through information technologies. His leadership of PASOK has ushered in a new era of accountability and transparency in government. Public participation played a major role in Papandreou’s term as Prime Minister, including the Greek public as he sought to radically change the course of the Greek economy amidst a European financial crisis.

George Papandreou is married to Ada Papandreou and has two children.


Events with this presenter

International Speaker Series (2013)

Eye of the Storm: Financial Crisis and the Future of Europe

George Papandreou

Financial Crisis and the Future of EuropeOne of Foreign Policy magazine's "Top 100 Global Thinkers," Papandreou gives a close-up picture of the state of the Eurozone today and the future of the European Union. Read More ››

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