Greek History and Culture Seminars: Professor Gonda Van Steen explores the ‘Silent Migration’ of Greek children

24 June, 2024

Professor Gonda Van Steen from the King’s College London will illuminate a significant but often overlooked aspect of Greek history in her upcoming online lecture. Titled “Children of the ‘Silent Migration’: Child Adoptions from Greece to Countries Overseas in the 1950s-1960s”.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 27 June at 7pm and will be live streamed on Facebook and YouTube. The lecture is part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

The lecture explores the mass adoptions of Greek children to the USA and the Netherlands, spanning from 1948 through the 1960s. Approximately 4,000 Greek children were resettled during this period, leaving a lasting impact on their lives and families. Professor Van Steen will discuss the historical context of this migration, the role of adoption intermediaries, and the ongoing challenges faced by adoptees and their families in tracing their roots and histories.

“Adoption intermediaries played a critical role in the earliest waves of this historic overseas adoption movement, for devising the blueprint of mass international adoption and, regrettably, for letting some of its systemic mistakes happen,” said Professor Van Steen. “This lecture aims to shed light on both the personal stories of these children and the institutional frameworks that facilitated their transnational adoptions.”

Professor Van Steen works include Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece (2019) and The Battle for Bodies, Hearts and Minds in Postwar Greece (2021). Her research bridges literature, history, and social dynamics, offering profound insights into the complexities of adoption and migration.

The virtual event invites academics, students, historians, and the general public interested in Greek history and adoption studies to engage in a thought-provoking exploration of this significant historical phenomenon. For more information and to participate in the live lecture, please visit GCM’s Facebook and YouTube channels at the specified time.

Professor Gonda Van Steen holds the prestigious Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College London. Her scholarship encompasses a wide range of topics within Greek history and culture, focusing particularly on adoption, migration, and the cultural impact of historical events.


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