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Birthplace of Western Civilization: Culture, History and Security in Greece and Cyprus

It is impossible to fully appreciate the security issues currently facing the West without first understanding the foundations of Western civilization. Its birthplace, Greece, forms the backdrop of an immersive exploration of the meaning of Western culture and the contemporary challenges it faces. Students will spend seven days in Athens, arguably the Western world’s most significant cultural heritage site, which has a recorded history of 10,000 years. While in the Greek capital, they will see and experience the ancient cultural underpinnings of Western civilization. They will then spend three weeks on the island nation of Cyprus, a European Union member-state and one of the world’s safest countries, which is the closest one can get to the Middle East while remaining on European soil. During their time on the island, students will examine some of the most pressing global security issues facing the West, involving the Middle East, North Africa, and Islam among other topics. They will also examine the culture, history and contemporary geopolitics of one of the world’s most significant regions. In addition to taking up to two 400-level courses totaling six credits, students will attend lectures by internationally renowned experts and receive a certificate in “Illicit Antiquities Smuggling and Organized Crime: Intelligence, Law Enforcement and Prevention”. They will also attend guided tours of some of the enduring symbols of Western civilization, including the Parthenon, and interact with an ancient people and culture that produced the ideals and values of modern Western civilization.


  • Course Requirements: Student must meet course prerequisites outlined below
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0 overall GPA and permission of the instructor
  • Behavioral Requirement: No history of behavioral issues
  • Instructor permission: this required BEFORE submitting the online application to the CCU Office of International Programs. Permission is obtained by submitting a 500-word application essay (emailed to Dr. Fitsanakis and Dr. Baltes) AND by meeting with either Dr. Fitsanakis or Dr. Baltes.
  • Prioritization: Space in this program is limited, and preference will be given to Juniors and Seniors.
  • Language Requirement: None

Academic Details

This program of study has three main academic objectives. The first is to provide an overview of the cultural evolution of ancient Greek society, and assess its mark on the cultural history of Western civilization as a whole. The second is to enable a deeper understanding of the connections between the legacy of ancient Greek polity and contemporary global politics, with special emphasis on security and organized crime. The third is to encourage participants to engage in analytical thinking and critical assessment of the historical and geopolitical dynamics that shape the political discourse in that part of the world. Additionally, this program of study has two major cultural objectives: the first is to encourage participants to develop an informed worldview, which will prioritize an understanding of current affairs in a non-American cultural context. The second is to deepen the participants’ understanding of the strong connections between the ancient Greek worldview and contemporary Western conceptions of governance and security.

Course Descriptions

Students participating in this program are allowed to enroll in one or both courses.

INTEL 491 (Contemporary Security Issues in the Eastern Mediterranean). (3 Credits). (Prereq: None). This course will focus on one of the world’s most volatile and unpredictable regions in order to survey some of the core themes in contemporary security studies. Centering on Cyprus, Lebanon, northeast Africa, Turkey, Italy and the Balkans, we will explore current trends in transnational organized crime, money-laundering, illicit trade, human trafficking and political militancy (both secular and religious). These topics will be analyzed against the ever-present backdrop of weakening state structures in 21st-century capitalism.
Instructor: Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis

ARTH 499 (Special Topics in Art History: Art Crime and Cultural Heritage). (3 Credits). (Prereq: None). For nearly two centuries, various geopolitical and economic factors have led to the looting of cultural artifacts from sites throughout the Mediterranean. Today, major museums in the United States, England, and Germany house the cultural treasures of ancient Greece. How were these objects taken from their original context, and why? Should these objects be returned? To whom do they (and should they) belong? This course will help students engage with these thorny questions by thinking through the concept of (global) cultural heritage, the factors contributing to the illicit trade in antiquities, and the issues surrounding the protection and repatriation of artifacts. Through lectures, assignments, and visits to archaeological sites and museums, students will consider the roles that museums, archaeologists, art collectors, art dealers, law enforcement, and criminals play in defining, buying, selling, and stealing the cultural heritage of Cyprus and Greece.
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Baltes


Students will stay in double rooms (double-occupancy) in 2-star and 3-star hotels in Athens and Nicosia, with daily continental breakfast.

Faculty & Staff Leaders 

Dr. Elizabeth Baltes, Assistant Professor of Art History  
Dr. Baltes specializes in the art and archaeology of ancient Greece, and she is an expert on ancient sculpture. She has spent many summers living, researching, and traveling in Greece, as well as excavating at sites in Israel and Sicily. She has published on the statue landscapes of both Athens and the sacred island of Delos, and her research has been supported by a major fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America.

fitsanakisDr. Joseph Fitsanakis, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics • 843-349-6618
Dr. Fitsanakis specializes in intelligence and national security with an emphasis on international espionage. He has taught and written extensively on intelligence policy and practice, intelligence history, communications interception, cyber espionage, and transnational criminal networks. His writings have been translated into several languages and referenced in media outlets including The Washington Post, BBC, ABC, NPR, Newsweek, The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Wired. Before joining Coastal Carolina University, Dr. Fitsanakis built the Security and Intelligence Studies program at King University, where he also directed the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies.

Cost of the Program

Cost of the Program = Program Fees + (Number of Credits x Tuition Rate)

In-State Students ($357/credit)
CCU credits  Program Fees Tuition  Cost of Program
3 credits $4,500 $1,071 $5,571
6 credits $4,500 $2,142 6,642


Out-of-State Students ($432/credit)
CCU credits Program Fees Tuition Cost of Program
3 credits $4,500 $1,296 $5,796
6 credits $4,500 $2,592 $7,092

Included in Program Fees: Bus and air transportation from U.S. to Cyprus and from there to Greece; accommodations for 27 nights; breakfast every morning and at least six more meals (lunches and dinners) during the trip; museum and historic site admission fees; six excursions, including a three-island cruise and an overnight stay in Ayia Napa, Cyprus; ground transportation to and from the airports in-country; emergency medical insurance.

Not included in Cost of Program: 

  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: $350 for meals not covered by program fees (approx. 2 meals per day); $70 for washing and dry cleaning. There will be expenses not covered by the program fees that students may need to cover, and will vary based on individual spending habits. Students should talk to their program leaders about projected out-of-pocket expenses. As students will depart from a nearby airport, students will need to make sure they have accommodations leading up to the program departure date.  Students should confirm with faculty leaders the date of departure before securing housing.
  • Pre-departure Housing: Students will be leaving from main campus after Spring semester. Depending on the date of departure, students will need to make sure they have accommodations leading up to the program departure date.  Students should confirm with faculty leaders the date of departure before securing housing.

Payment Schedule for Program Fees and Tuition

Program Fee & Tuition Schedule Due Date Amount Due
Deposit November 1, 2017 $300
1st Payment December 8, 2017 $1,400
2nd Payment January 12, 2018 $1,400
3rd Payment February 12, 2018 $1,400
Tuition April 20, 2018 In-State: $357/credit
Out-of-State: $432/credit

Deposits can be made in-person at Student Accounts (Baxley Hall) or over the phone. After acceptance to the program, payments can be made either online through Webadvisor or at Student Accounts.  Please note that payments made with a debit or credit card will be charged a service fee of 2.7 percent. For more information about methods of payment, visit

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