This event will focus on the topic of international adoption, its effects on adoptees and their descendants, and the search for roots.
The film screening of The Greek Connection (2018) will be preceded by introductions from scholars and experts on international adoption, including Cold War era adoptions from Greece to USA, and forced adoptions in Australia. An open forum discussion will follow the documentary screening.
The aim of the event is to foster connections and conversations between adoptees, academics, activists, charities and others interested in the topic.
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The Greek Connection, directed by Ronit Kertsner, tells the story of the Greek postwar adoption movement. Kertsner follows a group of Greek adoptees as they travel across Greece in search of their roots, with all the ups and downs they encounter. Meanwhile, viewers learn what exactly happened in Greek history with these overseas adoptions of the 1950s and 1960s and what impact they left behind. The documentary has not yet been released commercially, and this will be its first screening in London.
Professor Gonda Van Steen, King’s College London
Professor Van Steen’s latest book, titled Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo? (2019), takes a deep dive into the uncharted history of over 3,000 adoptions of Greek children in the United States during the Cold War era. Van Steen’s research considers the impact on adoptees and their descendants, as well as on the processes of large-scale international adoptions today.
Gonda Van Steen is the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College London
Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister
Julia Gillard is the only woman to have served as Prime Minister of Australia, a position she held from 2010 to 2013. During her tenure, she delivered a historic national apology for Australia’s forced adoption policies. Over several decades, thousands of unwed mothers were forced to give up their children to married couples for adoption.
Julia established, and is the chair of, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London in 2018.
This event is organised by the Centre for Hellenic Studies with the assistance of the AHRC Impact Acceleration Account, the Impact and Knowledge Exchange team, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the King’s Policy Institute.