Andrew Leech is a former contributing editor of the Greek-American Review of New York.
Andrew Leech was born in Cairo, Egypt, of a British father (Lt Colonel British Army) and Greek mother (Marika Calogeropoulou: ballerina, teacher & choreographer). Educated in Britain (Manchester, Kent & London), he moved to Greece in 1971 while conducting research into the language learning strategies of young children. He returned to Britain in 1977 for postgraduate study and worked for CESC (training teachers, diplomats and young civil servants) and then the British Council in Saudi Arabia; both appointments at lecturer level. Returning to Greece in 1981, he worked for the Cararigas Schools as Director of Studies before starting his own school in 1984. Concurrently, in 1986, he also became Director of Studies and Deputy Headmaster of the prestigious St Lawrence College for an interim period. Believing language teachers should have a forum for communication, he developed a keen interest in journalism in 1990; becoming first an internationally known educational correspondent for ELT News and, later, a diplomatic correspondent for Athens News, focusing on visiting dignitaries and heads of state. He is a longstanding member of the Society of Authors and has also been a representative at various Philhellene functions, a lecturer in Journalism and Communications at Deree College, Athens, and has stood for local government in his Athens suburb of Halandri.
In 1992-3 he was instrumental in persuading the EU & UN not to recognise FYROM as Macedonia and, in 1997, was one of the central figures involved in the successful fight to prevent the closure of the British Council library in Athens. Furthermore, in November 1998, he was among the 6 language school directors presented to HRH Prince Charles and commended for the academic standing of their institutions.
He is very proud of both the Greek and Philhellene side of his family: One ancestor (George Sacopoulos) commanded a French frigate at the Battle of Navarino in 1827 and was recommended for the Legion d'Honneur. His son, Nicholas, was Greek consul in Crete and instrumental in joining the two countries, later; and an uncle, George Horton (US Consul General), was responsible for saving thousands of lives during the tragedy of Smyrna. On a lighter note, his aunt Marina was the first female Greek lawyer in Cairo, an internationally known music critic and, later, an officer of the Academie Française, while his brewer grandfather, Panayiotis, formulated the recipe for Egypt's successful Stella Beer!
Andrew is a passionate European in his wish to bring the foreign and Greek communities in Greece closer together. He also cares deeply for the environment and the way unplanned expansion and a lack of ecological teaching at the grass roots is ruining a beautiful country. A strong believer that a mixture of Greek tradition and analytical thought coupled with the originality of foreign ideas is a force for success in this country, he says: "the main stumbling block for advancement in Greece is an intractable, weighty and time-consuming bureaucracy that blinkers our possibilities for inspired creation. Reduce that and you increase positive work output.”
See a list of his articles posted on HCS, reproduced with permission.
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