Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous

American University Washington DC

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 6, 2004) – Dr. Eleftheria A. Bernidaki-Aldous, a member of the Hellenic Parliament, and author of Blindness in a Culture of Light: Especially the Case of “Oedipus at Colonus” of Sophocles, will discuss, “Attitudes Toward the Handicapped from Ancient Greece to Modern USA: Problems and Solutions.” The event will be held in Room 603 of American University’s Washington College of Law, 4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW, at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Jan. 11,

Dr. Bernidaki-Aldous was elected parliamentarian nationwide to the Hellenic Parliament for Greece’s New Democracy Party in March 2004. She is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs, the Special Standing Committee on Equality and Human Rights, and she serves as Chair of the Special Standing Committee on Issues Concerning the Handicapped.

She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship. She was also awarded a fellowship from the Alexandros S. Onassis Institute for Scholarship and Research, which was the basis for her book. She was honored with the Award of the Academy of Athens, the highest scientific institution in Greece, in 1997, and has authored articles on various topics of Greek literature and culture. Dr. Bernidaki-Aldous has taught at the American College of Greece, Deree; Creighton University in Nebraska; Oberlin College, Ohio; and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

Dr. Bernidaki-Aldous was born and raised in Crete. She has been blind since age three as the result of an accident. She is married and has three children, one of whom is an LL.M. candidate at American University Washington College of Law.

This event is free and open to the public. To arrange to attend or for other media assistance, contact Kathy Thompson, director of public relations, 202-274-4279; Cell Phone: 703-855-5556; or e-mail: kthomp@WCL.american.edu

American University News Press Release

Greek scholar, politician visits AU

Η κα Μπερνιδάκη στην οιμιλία της στο Πανεπιστήμιο ΑμέρικανGreek parliamentarian Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous delivered a lecture titled “Attitudes Toward the Handicapped from Ancient Greece to Modern U.S.A.” Tuesday evening as part of the Washington College of Law’s guest speakers series. It is a topic Bernidaki-Aldous, a former classical literature and ancient
history professor, knows much about on many levels. She lost her eyesight at age three following an accident, but she did not allow her disability to dictate her life’s path. Bernidaki-Aldous attended several universities in the United States where she earned numerous degrees, including a PhD in classics from Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation is considered by many to be one of the greatest of the twentieth century, and it led to her book, Blindness in a Culture of Light: Especially the Case of “Oedipus at Colonus” of Sophocles.

Bernidaki-Aldous, who became a member of the Greek parliament last year, recounted her personal story and compared Greek society, both ancient and modern, to America’s. “In both, the ideals of Western humanity constitute the fundamental part of human relationships,” she said. “The overview of life is the same. We believe in the individual, in human rights, and democracy.

“Not all people are the same,” she said. “Handicapped people still continue to be individuals with their own abilities and aspirations. Every human being is unique. The greatest problem is discrimination. People asked me if I knew I was pregnant when I was pregnant. People have admired me for dialing a phone number, but if they admire me for dialing a phone number, how can they admire me for being a good university professor?

“Worse than the worst handicap is the hurting feeling that derives from the exclusion that can come from ignorance.” —MU

Greek Member of Parliament to Discuss Attitudes Toward the Handicapped in Greece, U.S., Jan. 11

Contact: Kathy Thompson, WCL Public Relations, 202-274-4279; Cell Phone: 703-855-5556


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