The aim of the endowed Chair of Pontic Studies, founded in May 2017, is to teach the history of the Hellenism of Pontus, incorporated into the great unity of the Hellenism of the East, during the Modern Times. Undergraduate courses contribute to the acquaintance and gradual education and “maturation” of students in matters of society, economy, ideology, coexistence with other peoples, etc. that concern the Hellenism of Pontus and the whole of the East, as well as the Black Sea Area, from the Fall of Constantinople and the abolition of the Empire of the Komnenoi until the Exchange of Populations (1923/4). It is necessary to point out that courses of History of Hellenism of the East (IEA) were offered in the past (in the 1990s and 2000s) in the School of History and Archaeology, with the emeritus professors Konstantinos Fotiadis and Artemis Xanthopoulou-Kyriakou.
In addition, the Chair provides the opportunity to attend postgraduate courses in the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of the School of History and Archaeology, an effort already begun in the spring semester 2016-2017 with the emeritus professor Artemis Xanthopoulou-Kyriakou - a university lecturer of many of the younger professors of the Department - and associate Professor Iak. Michailidis. The purpose of these lessons is no other than the creation of a "nursery" of young historians who will engage in their postgraduate and doctoral theses with the unexplored aspects of the rich history and culture of the Greeks of Pontus.
Both the teaching and research work (research projects) of the Chair of Pontic Studies are based on the financial support of the Ivan Savvidis Charity Foundation following the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Charity Foundation and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (May 2016).
The Scientific Working Group of the Chair of Pontic Studies will not confine itself to its teaching and research work. High on its priorities will be the development of relationships and partnerships with other academic institutions, research centres and archives of Greece. Above all, however, what is important is the cooperation with universities, research centres and historians abroad in general, dealing with relevant scientific issues. Τhe organisation and participation in international scientific conferences in Greece and abroad, the invitation of Greek and foreign researchers for lectures, events, and lessons, the organisation of summer schools and the exchange of students, cooperation with the Armenian and Jewish communities of Thessaloniki, and of course the communication with the Greek Diaspora are also envisaged.
The aims of the Chair are of course both the study and the scientific approach as well as the awareness of the Genocide of the Hellenism of the East. Undoubtedly, important steps have already been taken in the research and documentation of this important issue, but there is still much to be done, for example, to include this issue in foreign-language publications (books and magazines), a sector in which we are lagging behind, as the references in foreign literature are scarce. The study of the presence and activation of Hellenism in Pontus and throughout Anatolia (national consciousness and intense economic and intellectual development) undoubtedly explains the hostile attitude and actions of Young-Turkish and Kemalist politics in the early 20th century. A policy that affected not only Greeks, Armenians and all Christians in Asia Minor, but also Muslim-non-Turkish populations in the same region.