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Published on November 20, 2019

Vasillopulos Represents Eastern in Greece, China

Vasillopulos
Professor Vasillopulos poses for a photo with a student aid in China. 

Christopher Vasillopulos, professor of political science at Eastern Connecticut State University recently served on a higher education board in Greece and presented research in China. In Greece, Vasillopulos was part of a group at the University of Patras to evaluate the University’s Philosophy Department. In China, Vasillopulos gave a presentation at a symposium in Shanghai by the name of “China's 70-Year Development and the Construction of the Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.” The symposium was held under the framework of the Second China International Import Exposition, with Vasillopulos presenting on philosophers Confucius and Aristotle.

Invited by the University of Patras to evaluate the school’s philosophy program, Vasillopulos was on a board to determine if the university followed European Union regulations. Vasillopulos said the evaluation process “was very comprehensive, exactly the way we would evaluate schools here.”

When asked how prior experience benefited his evaluation skills, Vasillopulos commented, “I think it helps that even though I’m a political scientist, our department at Eastern is connected to philosophy.” He also said that some of his experience stems from the fact that “we’re a small department, but we’ve been flexible, so I’ve been able to develop all the political theory classes.” Vasillopulos said that the environment in Greece was welcoming and well organized. “They marketed their program very well.”

Vasillopulos was invited to the Chinese International Import Expo by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and Professor Wang Linggui, who serves as the executive vice chairman of the Board of Directors and Secretary General of National Institute for Global Strategy (NIGS). The event was co-hosted by the Chinese government, NIGS and CASS.

The goal of this event was to explore the development of China over the past 70 years after the Republic of China was established. Spanning two days, the symposium kicked off with an opening ceremony on Nov. 5, with a set of all-day panels on Nov. 6. Attending the event were former international dignitaries, leaders and scholars from international think-tanks, heads of international organizations, as well as China’s state leaders and well-known experts and scholars.

Vasillopulos’ paper, “The Globalization of Virtue: Reflections on Confucius and Aristotle,” was presented in the NIGS Think Tank, which encourages ideas and thoughts that will contribute to the idea of expanding mankind’s knowledge.

When asked how he discovered and developed this topic, Vasillopulos said, “I did some research on Confucius and it turns out Aristotle and he were similar in their views. Both say you should devote (life) to virtuous activities.” Vasillopulos also said he spent time trying to convince those at the conference that Confucius was very individualized, meaning he valued the freedom of individuals over state control. “Individualism is not a dirty word, it’s not something to shy away from.”

Another aspect of the conference was the treatment of foreign visitors. In Vasillopulos’ experience, it was all positive. “They went out of their way to welcome us and give us privileged treatment.” He also commented how big the event was, saying, “President Chi was there, this was important for them.”

Like his experience in Greece, Vasillopulos found his time in China to be very positive. “The best part was meeting my colleagues,” he said. He also discussed how his experience as a professor at Eastern helped him with these events. “I want to thank Eastern. If I wasn’t working here, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity and I’m very grateful for that.”

Written by Molly Boucher