“Reclaiming Your History and Identity; The Story of Greek Adoptees and Intercountry Adoption” will be hosted online on June 9, 2021. The event will feature Gonda Van Steen and Mary Cardaras and is hosted by Adoptees United event.
The event will be comprised of a conversation with King’s College London Professor Gonda Van Steen and with Greek adoptee and communications scholar Mary Cardaras. The discussion will explore the early years of international adoption and how it was used at times as a political weapon to silence dissidents as well as a Cold War propaganda tactic to promote Greek patriotism and American exceptionalism.
Professor Van Steen and Professor Cardaras will discuss the history and impact of Greek intercountry adoption from the late 1940s through the 1950s, a period that corresponded with the Greek Civil War, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the ultimate rise of sustained intercountry adoption to the United States.
Various topics will be addressed and questions answered. How was intercountry adoption framed and used by both Greece and the United States for each country’s national benefit? What prompted the large-scale movement of Greek children to the United States through adoption, and what protections existed, if any, to protect children from unscrupulous brokers and corruption? And, critically, how are Greek intercountry adoptees today working to reclaim their own histories and identities, including increasing demands for Greek citizenship?
Gonda Van Steen is the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College London. Her 2019 book, Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo? delivers the first critical historical study of the mass adoptions from Greece to the USA and to the Netherlands in the 1950-60s, affecting some 4,000 Greek-born children.
Her book has opened up a conversation about the Cold War adoptions from Greece and paths of recognition and redress, in which many adopted adults from Greece have joined her. Potamos Publishers will be releasing the Greek translation of her book by September 2021.
Mary Cardaras is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at California State University East Bay. She was adopted from Greece to the USA in the 1950s. She holds a Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs and is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication where she teaches Political Communication, Journalism and Documentary Film at California State University, East Bay.
She is an Emmy Award winning documentary film producer who is currently working on a number of short films about the effects of the environment on public health.
As an adoptee, Cardaras is compiling an anthology of Greek adoptee stories. This is a pioneering initiative, given that no previous Greek collection exists in English. Mary has thirteen essayists on board for the collection with the working title Voices of the Lost Children of Greece. Their stories, including her own, will strike home the experience of international adoption, whose impact is lifelong, but is not properly measured, let alone acknowledged.
Reclaiming Your History and Identity: The Story of Greek Adoptees and Intercountry Adoption
June 9, 2021 | 6:00pm CST
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