In 1988, a small team of academics and journalists, together with former members of the armed forces and diplomats, led by Thanos Veremis, Yannis Valinakis and Theodore Degiannis founded the Hellenic Foundation for Defence and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). The aim was to create an independent body that would promote research and dialogue on foreign policy and security issues, with a focus on Greece’s wider neighbourhood. 

A few years later, in 1993, ELIAMEP was renamed the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy but opted to retain its established acronym.
With this change of name, ELIAMEP acknowledged the enormous importance of European integration and made clear the distinction between European and traditional foreign policy, while also significantly expanding the scope of its activities. 

ELIAMEP is an independent, non-profit organization that produces and disseminates evidence-based knowledge. It offers a forum for dialogue and serves as a window to the world beyond Greece. It embraces pluralism and diversity, promotes gender equality, and rejects intolerance. The history of ELIAMEP is one of optimism and the promise that initiative, cooperation, volunteering, and hard work will ultimately bear fruit. 

Presidents : 

  • † Admiral Theodore Deyannis (1988-1992)  
  • † Professor Theodore Couloumbis(1993-1995)  
  • Professor Thanos Veremis(1996-2000)  
  • Professor Loukas Tsoukalis(2001–present)  


  • Professor Thanos Veremis (1988-1993) 
  • Professor Yannis Valinakis (1993-1998) 
  • † Professor Theodore Couloumbis (1998-2006) 
  • Dr Thanos Dokos (2006-2019) 
  • Professor George Pagoulatos (2019-2023)
  • Professor Maria Gavouneli (2023-currently) 

With the invaluable contribution of researchers, advisers, associates and countless trainees, ELIAMEP over the last 30+ years has developed into a broadly recognized Greek and European think-tank and policy-oriented research organization. 

Major milestones in the history and evolution of ELIAMEP: 

2019: Gender equality policyΙn April 2019 ΕLIAMEP adopts a Gender Equality Plan approved by the Board of Directors. 

2018: Student simulations of EU institutions by ELIAMEP Europe DirectStarting in 2018, ELIAMEP launches a series of student simulations of decisionmaking in EU institutions, with the participation of schools from all over Greece 

2017: ELIAMEP is awarded a prize by the Academy of Athens for its overall contribution. 

2016: White Paper on Greek Foreign Policy, Defence and SecurityIn 2016, ELIAMEP publishes its White Paper on Greek Foreign Policy, Defence and Security, examining strategic choices with respect to major issues and proposing a new institutional framework for policy implementation. 

2015: ELIAMEP European Seminar is selected as a success story of the Erasmus+ programs. To date, 15 European Seminars have been held, bringing together prominent figures from politics, academia and the media, from Europe and the world, to reflect on and discuss current European issues. 

2014: ELIAMEP becomes the first research institute in Greece funded by the European Research Council (ERC) in the field of social sciences, for the five-year Grassrootsmobilise research program. The program examines social processes in the field of religious pluralism in the context of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on religious freedom. 

2013: New Pact for EuropeELIAMEP participates in the pan-European deliberation, initiated by eight European institutions and think tanks to shape a New Pact for Europe, leading to the publication of two Reports (2014 and 2017). ELIAMEP coordinated the Greek representation in national, international and pan-European public discussions and meetings. 

2013: Crisis ObservatoryEstablished in 2013 with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and currently funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the Crisis Observatory publishes studies of primarily economic nature, maintains a website of its own covering a wide range of topics, and organizes conferences and public events. 

2011: Establishment of the South East Europe Program. The SouthEast Europe Program promotes dialogue and research on important issues in the Balkans, organizing and participating in high level events. Its members often lecture at conferences held in the Balkans and internationally. ELIAMEP publishes the academic journal Southern European and Black Sea Studies in collaboration with Taylor & Francis Publishing. 

2009ELIAMEP Europe Direct Information CentreIt is one of the 17 centres in Greece chosen by the European Commission to inform citizens, offering multifaceted and documented information on European issues. 

2008: Through its “An EU fit for purpose in a global age” initiative, ELIAMEP participated with the London Policy Network and the LSE European Institute in an ambitious program that included meetings in different European countries with the participation of politicians and academiaAim was to develop proposals for European policy choices in the new globalized environment. Final proposals were presented at two major conferences in London and Brussels, with the participation of the heads of EU institutions. 

2007: Contributing to Proposals for the Future of Europe. ELIAMEP participated in the network of European international relations institutes, Think Global Act European, created by Notre Europe and the Fondation pour l’Innovation Politique (Fondapol) with the aim of contributing policy proposals to the next three presidencies of the European Union (France, Czech Republic and Sweden – July 2008 – December 2009). 

2007: International Recognition – Golden Star AwardGolden Star Award from the European Commission for ELIAMEP’s Program “Communicating EU values ​​across Greece”. The awards were granted under the Europe for Citizens program. 

2006: ELIAMEP published proposals for the protection of Orthodox religious and cultural monuments in Kosovo, as a result of careful analysis and evaluation by a group of ELIAMEP experts. Elements of ELIAMEP’s proposals were utilized by UN mediator Martti Ahtisaari’s team. 

2004: Arab Reform InitiativeELIAMEP is a member of the Arab Reform Initiative (along with the: Council on Foreign Relations, EU Institute for Security Studies, Center for European Reform, FRIDE and research centers from ten Arab countries). ELIAMEP’s involvement in this network is part of its broader interest in issues related to the security sector reform and good governance in Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean / Middle East. 

2004: Migration – Human Rights – Civil SocietyELIAMEP entered into the field of migration through implementation of a series of research programs funded by the European Commission and other institutionsIn addition to migration, ELIAMEP would further expand its research interests ithe fields of human rights, European integration, good governance, civil society and active participation in public life. 

2003: College of Europe, BrugesSince 2003, ELIAMEP is responsible for the selection committee for Greek candidates for the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. 

2003: Launch of the “European Seminars”, initially in the framework of the International Halki Seminars. Their success led to the creation of a separate annual high-level meeting on European issues. Meetings are attended by experts, academics and policy makers from all over Europe and beyond 

2001: Journal of Southeast European & Black Sea Studies, ELIAMEP’s official journal, is launched. Published quarterly, it is indexed in the ISI Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and directly linked to ELIAMEP’s South East Europe Program. 

2000: Marshall Memorial Fellowship ProgramSince 2000, ELIAMEP has been coordinating the Marshall Memorial Fellowship Program in Greece. The German Marshall Fund awards over 100 fellowships each year to young European and American journalists, representatives of the business and political world, as well as non-governmental organizations. 

2000: International Hydra Meetings. Launch of International Meetings in cooperation with the British Embassy and the British Council, these seminars were been repeated for several years. ELIAMEP has also held bilateral “Strategic Dialogue” meetings with institutes from Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, India, Russia and Israel, with the aim of exchanging views and facilitating research cooperation. 

1997: EuroMeSCoParticipation of ELIAMEP in the EuroMeSCo (Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission) network, which deals with issues of Mediterranean security and Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. In 2004-06 ELIAMEP assumed the cochairmanship of EuroMeSCo, and since 2006 it is a member of the network’s Executive Committee. ELIAMEP’s main priority is to ensure the Greek presence and active participation in European and regional non-governmental initiatives and processes. 

1995: Conflict Resolution SeminarsELIAMEP launches a long-term partnership with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) by organizing a series of conflict resolution seminars for high-level officials from Southeast Europe and the Black Sea, thereby contributing to a peaceful settlement of disputes in the abovementioned areas. Areas of interest in conflict resolution will be expanded to the Mediterranean / Middle East, with Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue as a top priority.  

1991: Seminar on Japanese StudiesFirst Seminar on Japanese Studies (in collaboration with the Japan Foundation and with the support of the Japan External Trade Organization). A Research Center for Japanese Studies also operated within ELIAMEP. The training seminars ran until 1995. 

1990: Halki International SeminarsThese landmark seminars began in 1990 on the island of Halki, designated by UNESCO as the “Island of Peace and Friendship of International Youth”. They quickly became one of the key “summer schools for young leaders” from the broader region of Southeast Europe, the Middle East and the Black Sea.  

1989: Annual Lecture. ELIAMEP’s Annual Lecture is inaugurated by Sir Michael Howard, Professor at Oxford and President of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). National and global leaders, such as former Prime Ministers Carl Bildt and Mario Monti, former leader of Germany’s Green Party Joschka Fischer, Richard Holbrooke, Pascal Lamy, and Lord Patten, have honored the ELIAMEP Annual Lecture with their presence. 

1989: Southeast European YearbookPublication of ELIAMEP’s first annual English-language edition. For the next 12 years, the Yearbook would become a reference publication on developments in South East Europe on security, foreign policy and democratization. The Greek-language Foreign and Defense Policy Yearbook was also published annually from 1990. 

1988: In April 1988 the Hellenic Foundation for Defense and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) was established. 


Achievements & distinctions: 

  • ELIAMEP was awarded a prize by the Academy of Athens for its overall contribution (2017).  
  • The first institution in Greece with a research program funded by the European Research Council (ERC) in the field of social sciences.  
  • The European Seminar of 2015 was selected as a “success story” by the European Commission.  
  • ELIAMEP is among the 5 top institutions in Greece awarded the highest number of projects and funding in Socio-Economic Sciences and the Humanities from the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission (2007-2013).  
  • ELIAMEP ranked No.1 think tank in Greece in the University of Pennsylvania’s 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Ranking and among the top 50 “Best Think Tank Network” in the world
  • Golden Star Award from the European Commission to ELIAMEP’s Program “Communicating EU Values across Greece”.