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Foundation Launches Young Leadership Experience to Hellas (Greece)

Much of science, medicine, mathematics, theater, music and art come to us from ancient Greece, representing the highest of human virtues. This fascinating world of Gods, majestic temples, and stunning antiquities will be the experience of a lifetime.

Jim Luce

By Jim Luce, Contributor

The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation Supporting Young Global Leadership

Jan 11, 2016, 11:45 AM EST

|Updated Dec 6, 2017

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Leadership. The ability to motivate others towards a common goal. When coupled with a charity or philanthropy, the art of connecting with others to better humanity. This has been our objective since founding Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) in 1999, ‘raising global leaders.’ And it continued in 2008 with the launch of the J. Luce Foundation, ‘supporting young global leadership.’

The Parthenon, Acropolis — temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

We have sought to make the world a better place, especially for arts, education, and orphan care. The niche of Leadership has allowed us to focus on transferring skills and assets to the next generation – to continue the never-ending challenge of allowing people to be their best.


Detail of an Ionic column on the hill of the Acropolis. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Towards that end, we began to publish The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness in 2010. Last spring, we began a Fellowship program with Marietta College’s leadership center. This fall, we sponsored the formation of civic club, the New York Global Leadership Lions Club (NYGLLC). Our emphasis across all organizations has been on honor, intelligence, benevolence – and stewardship.


Statue of a young man displayed at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Leaders are born, not taught. However, born leaders still need to be grounded in the Humanities and given access to the tools, funds and network they need to move mountains. It is with this in mind that we announce The J. Luce Foundation Leadership Experience, our inaugural trip to the cradle of education, philosophy and democracy – where our young leaders will absorb The Ideals of Hellas.

Breathtaking sunset at the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Much of science, medicine, mathematics, theater, music and art come to us from ancient Greece, representing the highest of human virtues. This fascinating world of Gods, majestic temples, and stunning antiquities will be the experience of a lifetime.

The Caryatids (maidens) used as columns at the Erechteion, Acropolis.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Scheduled for Saturday, May 14 – Sunday, May 22, The J. Luce Leadership Experience: The Ideals of Hellas is open to the leadership of our Foundation (both young and old) and all of its many affiliates, including Orphans International Worldwide and the New York Global Leadership Lions Club. Board members, Global Advisers, Executive Committee members, Luce Leaders, Luce Fellows, and Luce Scholars are all welcome – as well as their parents!


We will announce this trip formally with a spectacular video at our
Leadership Awards Reception in February. Courtesy: J. Luce Foundation.

Students from any educational institution we support are welcome, including our new friends from the Center for Global Business Stewardship at St. John’s University and Legacy High School in New York.

Grand Temple of Olympian Zeus in the center of Athens. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

This nine-day experience ‘Empowerment Tour’ will allow participants to not only experience the Spirit of Hellenism and its glories but also receive Certification. Several certificates of achievement will be available, from the Greek government to various Greek non-profit organizations to our Foundation.

Doric columns illuminated by the Athens sun on the Acropolis hill.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Georgia Nomikos, President and C.E.O. of The Orpheus Luxury Collection in New York and a Global Adviser to our Foundation, explains:

In the words of the great Socrates, ‘We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live.’ I am absolutely inspired by this upcoming trip, where youth from around the world will he introduced to my Hellas, taught phrases in Greek, and discover the intricacies of Hellenic culture and the intellectual stimulation that transpires. They will journey through the land that gave birth to our civilization today, indulging and embracing Eros the Light and the Passion of our nation!

Upon climbing the Acropolis, you will feel the powerful energy of the sacred rock, where the longest lasting democratic leader, the great Pericles stood, as well as the legendary Aspasia, a scholar and philosopher. You will be in awe of the sight and grandeur of the Parthenon, a monument built high above the city as an eternal Symbol of Democracy – a temple of perfect structure and aesthetics devoted to Athena the Goddess of Wisdom. Sophia, “Wisdom,” has always been the goal of the Hellenes’ humanistic spirit and whose philosophers were perpetually seeking.

Bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon with arms extended as if in the process
of throwing a thunderbolt (or trident), found at Cape Artemision.
Circa 460 BCE, displayed at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle understood that leadership could be safe and stable either by transforming the leader into a philosopher or the philosopher into a leader through the virtues of prudence, bravery, justice, and piety. The leader, in turn, should be able to inspire and cultivate an inner motive for the good inside each citizen. Georgia continues:

The practical examination of these theories were tested to be true with Aristotle’s student, Alexander the Great, who treated Persians equal to Hellenes throughout his reign – no doubt a direct result of his teacher’s philosophical influences. You will follow the very footsteps of these giants of thought as they walked along the streets of the ancient Agora (market), discussing and proving their theories and ideas with fellow citizens and thus changing the future of the world.

At the Acropolis Museum shining in the extraordinary bright light of the Athenian sky, you will have a chance to admire the divine sculptures of the gods, heroes and leaders of the most famous wars and battles of antiquity, such as Achilles, Leonidas, and Themistocles. Under this very same light, the ancient citizens of Athens dared to practice direct democracy, freedom of speech, and the political argumentation at the Ecclesia (Assembly).

The Propylaia, the main entrance of the Acropolis. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

They will also see the famous courthouse of Areios Pagos in Pnyka – where they opposed the tyranny and intellectual slavery of the established civilizations of the East. Pnyka is the hill where Demosthenes gave his most brilliant speeches to defend democracy and Isocrates conceived the Pan-Hellenic idea of the Hellenic City-States, making an unprecedented revolution in the definition of a human nation: “Whoever is not a Hellene is a barbarian,” however, “A Hellene is one who has a Hellenic education.”

This trip is a direct result of the launch of our foundation’s Hellenic Fund, launched this fall to benefit ethnic and migrant youth in Greece (HuffPo). This Fund will support Luce Leadership, Fellowship, and Scholarship projects in Greece that will begin to be set up by our young leaders traveling there in May.

Ionic column at the Acropolis. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Lessons and idioms from the philosophical wisdom of the ancient Hellenes to be learned include “Teach a youngster” (Delphic maxim), “Know Thyself ” (Socrates), “Moderation in all things” (Aristotle), and in terms of therapy and medicine, “You are what you eat” (Hippocrates).

The group will explore the oldest district of Athens, Plaka, considered one of the most unique, beautiful, and historic neighborhoods on earth. Also known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods,” Plaka lies right under the cradle of Western civilization, the Acropolis. Plaka is filled with many archaeological monuments and sites spanning millennia. It’s also thought that it has been continuously inhabited for nearly three thousand years, which of course makes it one of the most ancient continuously active neighborhoods in the world today.

The Caryatids standing tall and proud, Erechteion building Acropolis.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

The team will dine in one of Plaka’s oldest restaurants, ‘Fisherman’s Taverna,’ which is one of the neighborhood’s oldest restaurants offering connoisseurs of the finest Hellenic traditional cuisine has to offer. Additionally, will have the chance to experience ancient Hellenic cuisine at Archeon Gefsis (‘Ancient Tastes’) which serves dishes based on original ancient recipes proved by studies to have high nutritional value and healing powers. Today, we realize the healthy eating habits of the Mediterranean Diet.


In Athens, the young leaders will see the Zappeion, the first building to be erected for the revival of the Olympic Games in the modern world. Inspired by Orphans International Worldwide, they will also visit the Hatzikriakio Childcare Institution that houses orphan children – both Hellenes and refugees – and have the chance to do their part in this philanthropic organization.

Front view of the altar at the Temple of Poseidon, Sounion at sunset.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Then, they will take part in a World Leaders of the Future Workshop and become familiar with ideas deriving from great leaders of antiquity from Solon to Alexander the Great and to the present. Next, a visit to the Hellenic Parliament to learn about the traditions of politics from ancient Athens to the present day. There they will have the opportunity to meet with our friend, the Hellenic Minister of Tourism to exchange their thoughts and ideas.

At the end of their journey, they will complete their Hellenic Ideals Experience by attending an amazing theater production encompassing the most important works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in ancient tragedy. Through the meaningful ancient Hellenic myths and the moral basis of ‘Hubris-Ate-Nemesis’ they will learn how the greatest leaders in mythology wielded power, leading to a therapeutic cleansing of the soul known as “catharsis.”

The Boy Jockey bronze statue of a boy on a horse, discovered in a
shipwreck near Artemesium and dates from 220 BCE displayed at the
National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

The Hellenic idea of Leadership opposes the Machiavellian principals of domination and gives rise to the Humanistic Ideal, something that we need now more than ever. As global citizens, we each have a responsibility to raise awareness, advocate and promote the education and empowerment that will enrich life for all and foster a healthy sustainable planet for the future. Socrates said: “Let him who would move the world, first move himself.” That is the greatest power a leader can have.


Seminars and other sites planned for the Experience include “The Mysteries of the Great Gods” (Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Ancient Agora, Pnyx, Areopagus), Syntagma Square, Kolonaki, Plaka, Piraeus, Delphi, Attica-Athens Riviera, the Temple of Poseidon – and many more.

Bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Many optional activities are available, including Synagogue services for our Jewish young leaders. Three museums – Benaki, Goulandris, and Ilias Lalaounis are available, as is a ‘street art walk,’ ‘dinner in the sky,’ as well as a day cruise to Hydra, Poros, Aegina.

Accommodations in Athens run the gamut of student-level to five-star hotels, including the Grande Bretagne, King George, Amalia, Electra Hotel, and New Hotel. The Grand Bretagne offers eternal elegance with breathtaking views of the fabled Acropolis, regal Syntagma Square and the Parliament. Situated right in the heart of the city since 1874, this landmark hotel is within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas, museums, and the business district. The Amalia and Electra hotels have special student packages.

Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon, in Sounion. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Orpheus Luxury Collection – Travel Group has moved mountains to contain costs for this experience, for which a limited number of scholarships may be available. Package costs excluding airfare range from $4,550 for Deluxe $3,350 for First Class, and $2,950 for Student, per person based in double occupancy.

We thank Georgia for including in these packages accommodations for seven nights at hotel of choice including all taxes and fees, daily breakfasts, all transfers as mentioned in the itinerary, five Lunches, four dinners, certified English-speaking tour guides accompanied by special theatrical performances outlining historical/cultural importance at specific sites, theatrical performances, tours and entrances to the sites mentioned in the program, Certificates of Achievement presented and signed from Greek officials and other institutions for attendance and volunteer work, as well as photographic highlights of special memories throughout trip with a gift album presented to each participant upon departure.


The Erechteion on the Acropolis was the repository of the ancient Athenians.
Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

Our foundation has granted Honorable Mention for Leadership over the past years to several individuals around the world including 16-year old Lobsang Tsering of the Manjushree Tibetan Orphanage of Twang, India; Aadel Euro, a modern dance student from Baghdad, Iraq now in New York; Eric Niragira, an ex-child soldier in Burundi; and Ranjan Kumar, founder of the Gyanjyoti Rural Development Welfare Trust in Bihar, India. We hope to raise contributions to have them join this experience.

The Bon Voyage Benefit to raise funds for scholarships for The J. Luce Foundation Leadership Experience: The Ideals of Hellas is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 12. Readers may make a tax-deductible contribution on-line here. Checks payable to The J. Luce Foundation may be sent to 540 Main Street #418, New York, N.Y. 10044.

The Metopes of the Parthenon. Photo: Ariane Nomikos.

We are excited to offer this once in a lifetime opportunity for connecting with others to better humanity; what better way could we support young global leadership. Our foundation will continue to focus on transferring skills and assets to the next generation – to continue the never-ending challenge of allowing people to be their best. We believe the group that completes this first Experience will be uniquely qualified – and certified – to do just that. Through our ideals of honor, intelligence, benevolence, and stewardship, coupled with the ideals of Hellas, these young leaders will move mountains indeed.


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