One Day in Europe: Greece

One Day in Europe is a feature of EFG’s monthly newsletter GeoNews. Each month we travel to one of EFG’s national membership associations and discover their main activities and challenges. In September we visited Greece.

The Association of Greek Geologists was founded in 1951 with the aim of promoting the geological sciences in Greece. The number of individual members is 388. The association also deals with the scientific and professional rights of geologists. They support the education of earth sciences at different educational levels. They regularly organise workshops, conferences and public events.

Dr Xenofon Stavropoulos answered our questions.

He is a Geologist, Hydrogeologist and President of the Association of Greek Geologists (AGG). He has a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from the Sector of Geological Sciences of National Technical University of Athens where he wrote a doctoral thesis on the subject “Hydrogeological conditions of Achaia – Manolada (NW Peloponnese)”. He also has a BSc in Geology from the Universita Degli Studi di Palermo – Italy. Inside of the Association of Greek Geologists, he was elected President for the period 2014 until the completion of his term of office in 2018. He was also elected member of the A.G.G. Board and Vice President for the period between 2011-2013. In collaboration with the European Federation of Geologists (EFG), he was Coordinator of the first EuroWorkshop on Geothermal Energy in Fira on the island of Santorini, Greece, on 18 and 19 May 2017. In his work for the Geotechnical Chamber of Greece, he was Elected member of the Management Committee of the Annex of Peloponnesus, Western Greece, for the period 2004 – 2007 and 2011 – 2014 and he has worked on the Development of initiatives and actions on matters of regional development, water resources, natural habitat and management of natural resources. Finally, as a Leader person of the “XENOFON STAVROPOULOS & PARTNERS E.E.– GEOENVIRO” company establisedh in the sector of geological, hydro-geological and environmental studies, he has 30 years of professional experience (1986 – today) focused in:
1. Hydrogeological studies, underground waters artificial recharge studies and surface waters combined use and exploitation studies.
2. Management, protection and rational exploitation of water resources studies. Water supplies’s protection from pollution sources and studies on water use.
3. Mathematic models of groundwater aquifers.
4. Applied geology studies in the framework of transport work design and technical studies (road construction, railway networks etc).
5. Geological studies in the framework of dam studies, lake/water-reservoirs studies, draining networks and irrigatory networks etc.
6. Environmental impact assessments and Specialised Environmental studies for technical projects. Environmental Studies within the framework of solid and liquid waste disposal management. Study of the natural environment (air, water, land) in relation to end land use, and environmental impact assessment of human activities.

How would you define your association’s main missions and goals?
One of the main roles of AGG is to support geologists, promote networking amongst them and offer advice and consultation to the public in geological and environmental matters.

How many members does your association represent? How did your membership evolve over the past few years and in which field of geology do your members mainly work?
Over 300 members are currently active members of the association. The financial crisis has left its mark in the profession, however we are growing stronger every year especially with young passionate members who love to practice geology. Our members work in various fields, from remote sensing jobs, hydrogeology, engineering geology, water management to environmental research and even policy analysis.

Could you introduce in a few words the people working for your association and their respective role?
There are plenty of people that volunteer and offer their time for the society’s benefit. We are grateful to these people as they help our society to thrive, in an environment with limited resources.

What was your association’s main achievement in 2016 and what is your focus in 2017?
We organized the Easter summit for the EFG in Santorini. It is my belief from the congratulations that I received that the event was a great success. Geologists from all over the world gathered in Santorini, a very interesting geological place, to exchange ideas and meet each other. We plan to continue our hard work and set up a series of geological seminars for young professionals with a focus on enhancing their technical skills and making them more employable in the market.

What are currently the main challenges for your association?
To make the public aware of geology, why it matters in our environment and how it can create sustainable jobs. This is promoted by a series of one-day events orientated towards the general public.

Are you in contact with decision makers at national level? If yes, in which field?
Our society has been invited at numerous occasions by parliamentary committees to provide consultation in water management and environmental matters.

Why in your opinion are National Associations important for geoscientists?
It provides the umbrella and the common ground for scientists to adopt a common stance against the challenges that our society is called to face.

Why is the EFG important for geoscientists and how does your work and the work of the EFG complement and reinforce each other?
EFG provides the umbrella for scientists to raise their voice at European Level and be to be heard.

Is there any experience/good practice from your association that you would like to share with other associations?
Approach the young scientist, they are so eager to offer!

In your opinion, how could EFG improve the knowledge about the activities carried out by other associations?
By providing the linkage and the network amongst ourselves. By organizing events that will bring scientists together and allow them to exchange ideas and share common goals.

What are your general hopes for the future of the profession of geologists and how can national and international associations help build that future?
It is hard work to convince people about the importance of geology in our everyday life. It is therefore of great importance that we keep creating tighter bonds between the national associations and working together in our common goals. I strongly believe that the EFG is the key to that role.

More information about the Association of Greek Geologists: