"Annual Lecture Series-Nobel Prize in Economics"

The Athens University of Economics and Business and the Bank of Cyprus organized on Friday, 8 April 2011, in Athens, the “Annual Lecture Series – Nobel Prize in Economics”, with Mr. Christoforos Pissarides, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics, as the invited speaker.

In his address, the Rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business, Professor Gregorios Prastakos, referred to the fortunate coincidence of the launching of the Lecture Series by Professor Pissarides. He noted that these lectures will serve the purpose of providing information on current economic affairs and promoting research excellence. He also noted that the series is “yet another opening to society, to which it aims to offer fresh ideas, innovative proposals, international experience and useful lessons; Lessons which can be utilized by the academic, business and political world and support both the Greek economy and Greek education, in these undeniably critical times”. He further added that the series “offers a vision, a perspective as well as models”.

He then referred to the role of contemporary Universities which - beyond the technocratic knowledge they provide - are responsible for the attitude towards life and the systems of values of a country’s young scientists, who will define its future course. He also talked about the significance of research carried out in Universities for the growth of a country and the need for support by both the State and the private sector. He further mentioned the need to review the legislative framework on higher education in such direction that “would allow a greater development of initiatives and establish the self-governance of Universities, always in a framework of accountability and good governance.”

Mr. Andreas Eliades, Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Cyprus Group, congratulated Dr. Pissarides for the great distinction achieved with the Nobel Prize, which has filled with pride both the people of Cyprus and the entire Hellenism. In his address, he said that “the period we are going through requires good management, a proper appraisal of the facts before us, a correct assessment of changes, both current and future, so that we may draw lessons from the past and look to the future in a dynamic perspective.

We must see the crisis as an opportunity, envisage the new Greece and give it back the place it deserves. Contemporary Greece is called to make its own fight for restoring the confidence of the markets and reviving its economy.

This is the time when Greece is called to exploit the present and turn it into a hopeful future.”

Mr. Eliades stressed that the “Bank of Cyprus has been investing in Greece for 20 years, leaving its own mark on the financial affairs of the country. In these difficult conditions, I wish to reassure you that the Bank of Cyprus is standing by its clients, it is extending its network and supports its staff so that we can overcome the crisis together.”

Professor Nicolaos Vettas, Chairman of the Economics Department of the Athens University of Economics and Business, presented the work of Dr. Pissarides and his contribution to economic theory and policy. As he said, Mr. Pissarides is the first Greek to receive a Nobel Prize in a scientific discipline and the third in total after G. Seferis and Od. Elytis. The scientific activity of the honoured professor focuses mainly on the “search theory” and the understanding of how “frictions”, which inevitably exist in a market, affect the way it operates, as well as the study of appropriate policy measures, such as for example unemployment benefits. More specifically, treating unemployment as a phenomenon of balance in the market is central to Pissarides’ work. His scientific work has had a fundamental impact on the thinking of those concerned with the labour market, macroeconomic and economic theory and politics in general.

For many, said Mr. Vettas, the theoretical framework developed by Mr. Pissarides (together with Nobel Prize co-winners P. Diamond and D. Mortensen) is the most significant contribution to the understanding of labour markets since Keynes. The understanding of structural unemployment and the reason why it is so strong in modern interdependent globalised economies is of crucial importance.

Then followed Dr. Christoforos Pissarides’ speech titled: “The Labour Market in the Modern Economy: Theory and Lessons for Economic Policy”.

The event ended with Dr. Christoforos Pissarides being awarded an honorary Doctoral degree from the Economics Department of the Athens University of Economics and Business.

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