This is the third in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Spiros Efthymiopoulos is the chair of the public awareness committee of the Hellenic Society for Neurosciences, and a professor in the department of biology at the University of Athens, Greece.
Dana Foundation: At last year’s FENS conference in Milan, Italy, the Hellenic Society for Neuroscience (HSfN) was awarded the EDAB-FENS Brain Awareness (BAW) Excellence Award for its outstanding presentation of a BAW public outreach program. How long has the Society been involved in awareness outreach and how have its efforts evolved through the years?
Spiros Efthymiopoulos: The HSfN has been involved in brain awareness events since its formation in 1985, as informing the public about the brain is one of the constitutive goals of our society. However starting in 2005, the HSfN began organizing events in a more systematic manner and has been keeping records of the activities. You can see most of our activities, both in Greek and in English, on our web page under the section Public Awareness/Brain Awareness Week.
The brain awareness program has expanded over the years and includes more than ten activities every year in various Greek cities including Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Heraklion, Rethymnon, Nafpaktos, and even in islands like Corfu, Amorgos, and Rhodes. More than 2,500 people attend these events every year. Some of the events are broadcasted via live streaming and are afterwards available in video. Furthermore, the event that takes place at the Eugenides Foundation (Athens, Greece) is communicated with all of the schools in Greece that participate by sending questions, videos, or poems. So, we expect that we reach a significantly larger audience.