"Study in Greece" interview with Prof. Petros Gaganis on MESPOM

December 30, 2021

The web portal Study in Greece, campaigning for the promotion and international visibility of Greek Universities interviewed Professor Petros Gaganis, Head of the Department of Environment of the University of the Aegean, on the MSc in Environmental Science, Policy & Management (MESPOM), its features and what it has to offer to international students.

The "Greek semester" of the program is a 3-month stay on Lesvos island, Greece in Spring of the 1st year, typically from April to July.

As he stated "MESPOM partners provide a highly cohesive programme which offers on-site insight in multiple cultures, exposes students to the diversity of geographic perspectives (including Central European, Mediterranean, Scandinavian, and British) and complementary professional competences (policy, management and science). The Department of Environment at the University of the Aegean represents the Mediterranean perspective combining the science of ecosystem management with local strategies especially relevant for developing countries, smaller economies, and rural contexts characterised by scarcity of water and local management natural resources."

Professor Gaganis had talked extensively about the Department of Environment, University of the Aegean in the interview, being the first Environmental Sciences’ University Department established in Greece. "Over the past 35 years of its existence, it had followed a ground-breaking and pioneering path. It has set the beat of environmental sciences in Greece, by internationalising the curriculum, promoting academic excellence and introducing innovative ideas, new activities and novel courses."

He highlighted the uniqueness of the island Lesvos and the city, Mytilene: "Lesvos is one of the largest and most beautiful islands of Greece. It is an ideal case study, a living natural laboratory where natural and human environment, history and culture mix together in spectacular and diverse ways, while the whole island is recognised as a UNESCO Geopark. According to a recent MESPOM graduate, this is very important for learning: “Greece (Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, Lesvos) is much closer to the natural environment and it’s easier to see the connection between communities and ecosystems – students are able to reflect and absorb this connection very differently, after an intense year of learning in an urban university. The journey from urban to rural seems to me a key part of the MESPOM experience.”

Living in a medium size town such as Mytilene is different to the big Greek urban centres: it is more comfortable, safer, less costly and altogether more authentic. Mytilene is a "University Town", with a vibrant student life, full of students, academics, teachers and artists who have come to visit and stayed there. It has been a cosmopolitan and sophisticated town for most of its ancient and modern history. Studying in Mytilene, Lesvos is a unique experience and "adventure"." 

Last, but not least he defined the exceptional career opportunity that the MESPOM program offers: "First of all, many MESPOM students seek to change rather than merely continue their careers. A typical MESPOM class is a mix of (a) engineers and natural scientists seeking to work in policy or management positions (about 30-40% of students), (b) students with backgrounds in social sciences and humanities (about 30-40% of students) seeking to learn about scientific and technical aspects of environmental protection and (c) environmental practitioners who seek to supplement their practical experience with formal knowledge about the environment. By consciously mixing these different categories in one classroom, encouraging their learning from each other and structuring the curriculum in such a way that it enables planning individually tailored careers MESPOM has contributed to hundreds of successful environmental careers. Secondly, many young people join MESPOM with rather broad and open-ended rather than narrow and specific career aspirations. Rather than being ushered into narrowly-defined slots these students seek to experience different possibilities and receive mentoring on making hard career decisions in line with their talents and the dynamically changing global job markets. This corresponds to a large job market niche of environmental professionals with broad competences."

Please read the article in detail at the following sources:

We congratulate and are grateful for Professor Gaganis for the excellent interview!