There are collectors of all kinds: stamps butterflies, vintage cars, even collectors of university titles. The Greek minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias belongs to this last category. While adviser to the Foreign Minister, George Papandreou between 1999-2004, he was sent twice abroad on state scholarships to attend studies for mid-career civil servants, at the Weatherhead Center – Harvard University and at St Antony’s College – Oxford. A graduate of a German University Mr. Kotzias was in need of upgrading his limited knowledge of English.
While a Minister in the present government he declared himself an elected professor at three universities, Harvard, Oxford and Marburg. All this he declared in writing at the Court of Appeals on March 2015. In fact his sole election was at the University of Piraeus where he still serves. His avarice for university positions made him a target of tacky exchanges with deputy Dora Bakoyanni of the New Democracy opposition and former Foreign Minister. She demanded in vein evidence of the three university careers that never were.
The truth of the matter was that Mr. Kotzias boasted for his university posts while only spending a term there as a mid-career student. Having been consulted, the above mentioned institutions subsequently denied ever having Mr. Kotzias among their faculty members.
Hence the obvious question arises: Why would a person who has spent most of his active life in the radical left of politics, go as far as to commit an act of fabricating allegations in order to impress members of parliament for having served in the staff of two leading ‘bourgeois’ institutions of learning? What sense of accomplishment would a dedicated enemy of the present establishment derive from working for the ideological adversaries?
The question still lingers.
Professor Emeritus of Political History at Athens University