On June 25th, 2015 Garry took part in the the Fourth Annual International Conference on Philanthropy in Athens on June 25th and 26th, 2015. The two-day conference explored the issue of “Philanthropy and Sustainability”.
The goal of this year’s conference was to examine and debate philanthropy’s efforts to help address sustainability issues, but also to inquire about the use of sustainability practices in informing sustainable philanthropic thinking and action. We aimed to assess and discuss philanthropy’s role in attaining a sustainable society. At the same time, the conference also focused on how we go about achieving sustainable philanthropic engagement, emphasizing efforts to accomplish sustainable education, health, and artistic commitment, as well as sustainable social welfare.
In his keynote address to the conference Kasparov stated:
“The Kasparov Chess Foundation is delighted to collaborate with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Chess in Schools here in Greece. Chess has a proven track record of benefits as a dynamic modern education tool. It improves concentration and develops logical, disciplined thinking. It is a model of the type of creative problem solving required in every field in today’s rapidly changing world. Best of all, it’s fun for the kids and easy to teach. As an last bonus, chess is quite inexpensive to implement. With the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s vision and support, and KCF’s expertise, our cooperation shows that Greece refuses to fall behind in meeting 21st-century educational challenges.”
During the Press Conference, the “Chess in the Schools” program was presented. The program was implemented in 190 schools throughout Greece, with a grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, in collaboration with the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe and the Association of Chess Players of Thessaloniki.
In recent years “Chess in Schools” has been implemented successfully by the Kasparov Chess Foundation in various countries around the world. The program is based on the fact that learning chess at an early age significantly improves children’s cognitive and behavioral skills, while contributing to the formation of a complete personality, by enhancing critical and strategic thinking. Furthermore, children who become familiar with the logic of chess, boost their confidence, develop greater communication skills and learn about fair play and equality through a platform that unites them.
In this context, “Chess in Schools” began as a pilot program in Greece in 2013, when the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe, in collaboration with the Association of Thessaloniki Chess Players and the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, implemented the program in 20 public schools in Thessaloniki, with the participation of 500 elementary school students (first and second grade). The primary results of this first, pilot phase were particularly encouraging. As a result, the program continued during the 2014-2015 school year and was extended to 170 more public schools throughout Greece, with the support of the Ministry of Education. The selection of schools was made by the Association of Thessaloniki Chess Players, focusing mainly on schools in disadvantaged areas, where chess learning is expected to offer young students great opportunities for their future development.
Between 2013 and 2015, a total of 300 classes out of 190 schools from all over Greece, participated in “Chess in Schools”, while approximately 6,000 students had the opportunity to learn about and benefit from the recreational and educational nature of chess.
The program’s implementation includes an hour of chess training per week, either by a team of external trainers visiting schools on a weekly basis, or by school teachers who know chess and undertake the training of students, under the guidance of the Association of Thessaloniki Chess Players and the help of translated educational material provided by the Kasparov Chess Foundation.