Intensive Summer Course on Migration and Refugee Studies in Greece

Please check back for information regarding applications for the 2024 cohort.

Revisit the 2023 course through the eyes of some of the participants:

Important Information at a Glance

Dates: July 7, 2023 – July 30, 2023

Application Period: November 5, 2022 – February 15, 2023

Open to: 30 participants from universities across the world.

In particular:

  1. Fifteen Harvard students. The following are eligible to apply: graduate students from any Harvard graduate school, doctoral candidates, college seniors. Students graduating in May 2023 are eligible apply.
  2. Non Harvard students. Fifteen doctoral, graduate or senior undergraduate students enrolled in any university across the world.

Cost of Participation: $3,650

Location: Greece: Athens, Nafplio and Ancient Olympia, Lesvos

Harvard FXB Scholarships: Available only to Harvard University applicants. Harvard graduate students with a refugee background and with demonstrated financial need can apply for the Albina du Boisrouvray Scholarship offered by the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. The Scholarship will be offered to two eligible students.

Harvard Program Director: Dr. Vasileia Digidiki

Core Faculty

Harvard University

  • Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights and FXB Center Director of Research, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health
  • Dr. Vasileia Digidiki, Harvard Instructor and FXB Health and Human Rights Fellow

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

  • Professor Emmanuella Doussis, Professor of International and European Studies
  • Professor Maria Gavouneli, Professor of International Law
  • Dr. Evika Karamagioli, Sc. Associate, MSc Global Health – Disaster Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
  • Professor Manos Pikoulis, Professor in Humanitarian and Catastrophe Emergency Medicine
  • Professor George Pleios, Professor of Communication and Media Studies

About the Summer Course

The François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, in collaboration with the Refugee and Migration Studies Hub at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, and with the support of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece and the U.S., is offering a three-week intensive, interdisciplinary course on migration and refugee studies. The course is designed to offer participants both conceptual and practical engagement with key issues related to contemporary forced migration.

The course will include lectures, seminars, interactive class sessions and fieldwork. It will be held in four sites – Athens, Ancient Olympia, Nafplio and Lesvos. Enrollment will be limited to 30 students (15 Harvard graduate students and 15 students from other Universities across the world). Expert lecturers will include leading scholars, politicians, leaders of international organizations, civil society organizations and migrant/refugee groups. The course will be taught in English and organized around a multidisciplinary, rights-based curriculum that draws on legal, medical, environmental and broader social science approaches to migration policy and practice.

Course Structure

Located at the crossroads of three continents, Greece has become a frontline migration country for distress migrants, and a testing ground for Europe’s new migration management policies. Due to its significant role in receiving and managing large-scale distress migration in recent years, Greece provides an important location for studying both the theoretical and practical aspects of refugee studies, and the associated challenges of addressing large scale forced migration in context. The program will take place in four Greek locations:

  • Athens, the capital of Greece and city with the largest concentration of asylum seeking and refugee migrants;
  • Lesvos, the Aegean island, which more than 500,000 forced migrants have landed on since 2015, becoming one of Europe’s largest migration hotspots;
  • Nafplio, a historic city, the first capital of the Modern Greek State, and headquarters of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece;
  • Ancient Olympia, one of the most influential ancient Greek sanctuaries. The city was famous beyond the borders of mainland Greece for hosting the Olympic Games every four years, starting in 776 BCE.

Who is Eligible to Apply for Enrollment?

Enrollment will be limited to 30 students (15 Harvard and 15 non-Harvard students).

The program will also include as students two refugees or asylum seekers currently residing in Greece and interested in enrolling in the course.

Harvard Applicants: Harvard students enrolled in any graduate or doctoral program, and senior undergraduates are eligible to apply. Harvard students who will graduate in May 2023 are also eligible to apply.

Harvard graduate students have the option of selecting this course as an Independent Study for course credit in the Fall 2023 semester. We will work with Harvard graduate students and their respective Schools to facilitate this process (the costs of an independent study are included in Harvard tuition and therefore will not add to the Summer School costs). Students who decide to receive academic credits will work with Professor Bhabha during the fall semester and produce a paper as part of the Independent Study requirements.

Non-Harvard Applicants: Senior undergraduate students, graduate students and PhD students from NKUA and other universities across the world are eligible to apply. Please note that non-Harvard University applicants should apply through our partner, the NKUA.


The curriculum is thematically divided across the three weeks. Teaching styles will vary and include in-class lectures, debates, small group seminars, and simulations. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork. Topics to be covered include (but are not limited to):

  • The global architecture of contemporary migration and its geopolitical underpinnings
  • Drivers of forced migration globally, with a range of geographical focal points
  • Emerging conceptual and policy challenges to established state practice
  • Digital technology and its impact on migration management and access
  • Securitization, externalization and the challenge to migrants’ rights
  • International and regional policy and legal frameworks: their scope and limitations
  • The role of public health in forced migration settings: limitations, opportunities, innovations.
  • Climate change and forced migration
  • Adolescent agency and mobility: opportunities and obstacles
  • Race and Gender justice as factors in forced migration
  • Refugee and migrant leadership in agenda setting
  • The meaning of “the best interests of the child” in a migration context.
  • Human trafficking and exploitation in the context of forced displacement
  • The role of host community solidarity in driving migration policy.
  • The role of COVID-19 pandemic on forced migration and migrant rights

Application Process and Scholarship Opportunities

All applicants are required to submit a short application that includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • A description of previous academic, professional and/or extracurricular experiences relevant to refugee and migration issues
  • A statement of interest in enrolling in the course

Harvard applicants should apply here.
Νon – Harvard applicants should apply here.

Scholarship opportunities for Harvard applicants:

The FXB Center at Harvard is offering two scholarships for applicants with a refugee background and with demonstrated financial need. The Albina du Boisrouvray Scholarship will cover 90% of the cost of participation in the program. It will not cover the cost of airfare to Greece and personal expenditures during the course.

Eligible applicants should apply for the Scholarship here.


In Athens and Ancient Olympia participants will share double occupancy rooms. In Lesvos and Nafplio students will stay in single occupancy rooms. If students wish to stay in single-occupancy rooms in Athens as well, they should clarify this in their application forms. There is an additional cost of $730 associated with this option.

Breakfast is offered in all hotels. Lunch will also be provided most days. Though some dinners will be covered by the program, students will need to make their own dinner arrangements for the majority of their stay. Ground and sea transportation for specifically defined program activities will be covered by the program.

  • In Athens, students will stay at Amalia Hotel, located close to the Acropolis. Classes will take place at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
  • In Ancient Olympia, students will stay at Hotel Europa. Classes will not be held while visiting Ancient Olympia.
  • In Nafplio, students will stay at Rex Hotel. Classes will be held at the facilities of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece.
  • In Lesvos, students will stay at Hotel Lesvion and classes will be held at the University of the Aegean.

Cost and Expenses

The cost of participation ($3,650) includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Lunch and some dinners
  • All program activities, including scheduled cultural activities
  • Ground and sea transportation for planned program activities
  • 4 COVID rapid tests while in Greece

There are a number of expenses that are not covered by the program fee that students are responsible for. These expenses include:

  • International airfare
  • Ground transportation for personal reasons
  • Personal expenditures, communication, course materials, and incidentals

It should be noted that students who need a visa to travel to Greece are responsible for securing their visas themselves. An invitation letter to support the visa application can be provided by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.


Successful applicants are required to pay a $600 nonrefundable deposit by March 20, 2023 to secure their place in the program. The remaining amount is to be paid by April 30, 2023.

Program Cancellations

In the event of cancellation of the whole course, all amounts paid towards the course cost will be refunded to students, including the deposit. The program is not responsible for refunding airfare, visa application fees, or any other incurred expenses not covered by the course fee. While planning for your trip, consider purchasing travel insurance or refundable airline tickets.

If students decide to cancel their participation for personal reasons, the deposit is nonrefundable. The remaining amount is not refundable if participants decide to cancel their participation for personal reasons, after June 1, 2023. Individual cases will be considered, and refunds of the remaining amounts will be at the discretion of the organizers.

Ensure Safety while Traveling Abroad

Applicable to Harvard applicants only

Global Support Services 

For Safety Information and Recommendations while traveling abroad, please visit Harvard’s Global Support Services (GSS) for important tools, as well as a list of steps for planning your departure and for staying safe while abroad.

International SOS  

Ensure that you register your trip with the Harvard International SOS. International SOS provides 24/7 medical, mental health, and security support and evacuation services to eligible Harvard students abroad as well as access to helpful resources and alerts.

Important Dates to Remember

  • November 5, 2022: Application process opens
  • February 15, 2023: Application process closes
  • March 10, 2023: Notification of successful applicants
  • March 20, 2023: Payment of $600 deposit to secure place in the program
  • April 30, 2023: Payment of full amount
  • July 6, 2022: Departure to Athens 

Need Additional Information?

For additional information on the program or application process, please contact Dr. Vasileia Digidiki at


FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens - Home

Supporting Institutions

Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece Harvard University - Home

Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University - Home


Look back on the summer 2022 program