Evgenia Saridou & Maria Louiza Andriakopoulou

On November 16 & 17, Katheti hosted the third part of the seminar Resolving Conflicts through Peer Mediation. The newly formed Peer Mediation group of Galatas Junior High School participated in the seminar. Facilitators were once more the volunteers Evgenia Saridou and Maria Louiza Andriakopoulou (“Dialogos Civil Company of Commercial and Family Mediation“).

The following interview includes interesting information about their professions (lawyers and mediators), the financial crisis, School Peer Mediation and of course their impressions from the local area.

Tell us about your work.

E.S.: I am a lawyer and mediator. That means I am a freelancer in both my capacities, but with collaborators. So, as a lawyer, I am a partner at the “K. Konnidas & Collaborators Law Firm” and, as a mediator, I am a partner at “Dialogos Civil Company of Commercial and Family Mediation”.

M.A.: I am a lawyer and mediator as well. I work as freelancer in a law firm I have with my sister in Athens. As a mediator, I am a partner at “Dialogos Civil Company of Commercial and Family Mediation”.

What is your relationship with the local area?

E.S.: I had only been in the area as a visitor until Katheti decided to organize a training seminar in mediation at school for children for the children and teachers of Galatas high schools. Now, after Katheti has hosted us 3 times and we have collaborated with some wonderful junior-high school children and some admirable teachers, I feel like I have a special family here.

M.A.: As a child, I had come to Poros for a few day vacations. As an adult, I had come to Poros when a client was interested for buying a house there. So, I thought of Galatas as the place from where you take the boat for Poros. With the opportunity of the activities for the promotion of peer mediation in school that Katheti has been organizing since last school term, I had the opportunity to come three times to Galatas, which I now think of as a hospitable and very beloved place.

How has crisis affected your work and your life and how do you deal with it?

E.S.: Both the professions I am trying to serve have to do with human relationships, hence the financial crisis and the austerity measures that were deemed suitable for combating it had a serious financial impact on me. The most direct way was the change of my object of work as a lawyer. Meaning, my work to a large degree seized to be creative, e.g. real estate, construction, establishment of new companies, and became more barren, e.g. company bankruptcies, debts, etc. As a mediator I don’t have a measure of comparison, because mediation was legislatively introduced in Greece in 2010 and I was accredited in 2011, amidst the crisis.

On a personal level, I find that, at first, I became introverted and blew off steam by… cooking and consequently I became extroverted and sought solutions in giving, which is disconnected from financial gain.

M.A.: A lot. I faced many difficulties and challenges that I had never thought I would face after 21 (in the beginning of the crisis) years of working as a lawyer. Mediation and volunteering for the promotion of school mediation was how I dealt with them, because it gave me mental strength. It was and still is an eternal source of joy and creativity.

Which of your knowledge and personality traits have been most useful to you in your professional life?

E.S.: In which of the two? I’m kidding! In both my professions, I believe that the knowledge that you get from books is combined with day-to-day experience. You try, you make a mistake and you correct it, if it can be corrected, and next time you do it differently hoping that this time your way will be proven better. I don’t think that I have any personality traits that invariably help or hinder me. Circumstances ask of something else each time, which is inside us and we use it in order to cope. My involvement with mediation, on the other hand, has been a catalyst for the “revelation” of traits that existed, obviously, but I didn’t know I had them, such as patience.

M.A.: Both my parents were, each in their own way, fighters. So, I learnt not to lose my inner truth, even if I didn’t dare to express it to others out of fear that they would judge me. My mother’s wisdom and love, a friend that helped me a lot during my university years, the lawyer with whom I worked as an intern and my training in person-centered approach and counseling strengthened my innate love for, faith in and understanding of people, in any stage of their life.

What would you like to improve in your personality or work? What are your weaknesses and how have they influenced you?

E.S.: I will look stupid if I say that I don’t know. I have trouble thinking like that; every moment, I want and try to respond to the circumstance, to the need. The next moment, whatever I went through has become an experience and influences my next decision. This way, I feel that I improve myself.

M.A.: I think that it took me at least 50 years in order to recognize my value as a scientist and as a human being. Now I give myself more space than I used to and I express more boldly my thoughts.

What would you do differently and what do you consider as right steps in your career?

E.S.: As a lawyer, I believe that, if I started now, I would try to specialize more in a field. It was a piece of advice that an older lawyer had given me in the beginning of my career, but I didn’t choose to listen to him. Now I believe that maybe I should have. However, I continue to believe that there are no rules in these choices; What I now think as more desirable may be the wrong way to go for someone else.

What I feel as decisively right is the choice (?) to work through collaborations, even though I could, due to the nature of both the professions, to work alone. I’m certain that the interaction through collaboration improves me both professionally and personally.

M.A.: I believe that I was right to choose family law, since it is a field that really interests me. I also consider my decision to become a mediator correct, because it is a vocation with which I absolutely identify. The same applies to my decision to increasingly often collaborate with other colleagues. Training teachers and students in school mediation gives me energy, creativity and strength.

What piece of advice would you give to a young person who would like to do what you do?

E.S.: For both professions, that it should be something they want.

M.A.: That they want it very much, otherwise it would all be a pointless waste of time and energy. Life is short and precious and it is not worth it to waste it in things that are meaningless to us.

What are your plans for the future, short-term and long-term ones?

E.S.: I don’t have plans. I wish I can make my livelihood from my professions, so that I can also have the possibility to support my need for giving.

M.A.: I want to be healthy so that I can work and be able to give.

Why is peer mediation in school useful?

E.S.: In the short term, it helps children solve particular problems/conflicts/disputes of their daily life through talking. The children, with the trust that we show in them, take on the responsibility to solve their own daily issues through dialogue and collaboration and not with fighting and violence.

In the long term, school becomes a more peaceful space, where the community members learn to discuss about the things that trouble them openly and respectfully. Society in its entirety benefits from school mediation: the students are the future; they will show us the alternative way of settling our differences!

M.A.: As to ourselves, it helps us solve our differences in a more efficient way and become more responsible people. Listen and respect other people’s opinions and try to understand them, to learn and love ourselves more. It also helps us live better, in schools that have as little violence as possible and more empowerment, understanding and love among the students. If we look even more forward in time, it will contribute to the creation of a more peaceful and people-friendly society, no matter how different people are.

What were your impressions from the seminar on school peer mediation that you just held in collaboration with Katheti?

E.S.: Katheti is a nucleus of giving. It constantly organizes, hosts, offers. It gives to the local community in the best way. And this is something that all participants are recipients of. Although it is the weekend, teachers and children come in with a great attitude and give their best, dedicate themselves and do wonders!

Every time I leave Galatas I have a sense of warmth and fulfillment! I see the miracle of giving: the more you give, the more you receive.

M.A.: Katheti and what Ms Fay Orfanidou gives is amazing! When I come to Galatas, I always feel that there is for me, as a trainer and as a person, a warm embrace. Katheti’s space is beautiful and inspires immediate familiarity to all of us who are there. For the successful outcome of the trainings, the faith of Ms Maria Pateraki in mediation and in her really amazing students played an important role. My gratitude to both her and Ms Orfanidou!

School Peer Mediation
Σχολική Διαμεσολάβηση
School Peer Mediation
Σχολική Διαμεσολάβηση
Previous Article
All about secondary education
27 November 2019
Δανειστική βιβλιοθήκη-αναγνωστήριο Καθετής
Next Article
Katheti’s lending library-reading space
30 November 2019

Recent Posts

precious little good mornings
26 September 2022

The mornings of those emotionally frozen lockdown months was the time when the precious little good mornings started from the children.

calendar 2023
26 September 2022

Katheti’s 2023 Calendar has fishing, fishing boats and the sea as a theme. A journey with the big blue as a background.

sub
26 May 2022

Stand more, start paddling in Poros. SUP fans, had the chance to experience the blue sea water of this island.

agios georgios
26 May 2022

The Cultural Association of Agios Georgios, in its 11 years of operation, can show important initiatives for the community.

despina-kappi-talks-to-us
24 December 2021

Despina Kappi talks to us about the role of psychotherapy in our lives, her course and her plans for the future. 

oi-filoi-tis-paradosis
23 December 2021

The Cultural Association of Galatas “Friends of Tradition” was founded with the aim of promoting the area of Galatas and preserving the tradition and history of the area. 

olive tree
01 October 2021

We live in an area that can be described as land of the olive tree. An area with awards and tradition in the production of excellent quality olive oil.

01 October 2021

The exhibition that managed to build “Bridges” was visited by more than 2,500 people. It caused nostalgia and offered knowledge of the area and its culture.

summer-activities
01 October 2021

This summer Katheti flourished. She expanded and became active. But how? What did Katheti do in the summer of ’21?

24 July 2021

The beaches of Methana connect the wild beauty of the peninsula’s mountains with the endless blue of the sea.

lemonodasos
01 July 2021

UNESCO has declared Lemonodasos a landscape of natural beauty and it is protected by the European Ramsar Treaty. We present the organization which fights for its revitalization.

paralies troizinias
29 June 2021

Summer and sea! A combination that both young and old people like. And our area has a lot of sea and many beaches!

Hiking trails of Poros, Troizhnia and Methana
28 May 2021

The hiking trails of Poros, Troizinia and Methana unfold in a place with special geography and variety of landscape.

27 April 2021

Our region, has an idyllic landscape and tradition in fishing and tourism. What better than a fishing trip with the Saronic Gulf as a view!

27 April 2021

Summer is coming and it smells like sea! Sun, sandy beaches, clear, blue waters, taverns, beach bars but also seclusion. Poros beaches offer many different options.

sustainable tourism featured image
29 March 2021

The sustainable tourism model is promoted and encouraged around the world, increasing the positives and reducing the negatives. How could sustainable tourism be applied to Poros, Troizinia and Methana? Local research on sustainable tourism, with the aim of mapping the activities, needs and prospects of the region.

24 March 2021

2020 has been a strange yet wonderful year. Despite the difficulties Katheti set its own course with an unexpected result.

22 January 2021

Handmade creations combine knowledge and traditional techniques with modern aesthetics to produce functional, useful products and serve practical needs. Local artisans have a two-way relationship with the area in which they live.

21 December 2020

Sustainable tourism, which respects people, the environment and culture, is ideal for this blessed place. This is the belief of Ec(h)o, the local team of Project Resound, a social design organization, which uses its creative skills to bring a positive change in the world.

24 November 2020

What better gift than a book? Katheti compiled in one article all books with a local flavor we managed to discover and we present them to you.

29 October 2020

Some say that people resemble the place they come from. In order to discover the area, its beauty and specificities, the most suitable way is through a gastronomic adventure. The local products and producers are going to reveal surprising hidden treasures, by giving us a glimpse of the Saronic Gulf’s charm.

30 September 2020

Katheti visited the space of the association “Cultural Action of Troizina” at the Municipal Office of Troizina.

11 August 2020

Summer on Poros, having changed a lot in some aspects, has remained the same in many others, and Poros is here to offer it to you again and again. So that, once more, the scent of pine and lemon blossom fill our memories.

22 July 2020

Since 2013, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Piraeus and Islands has been organizing communicative actions and educational programs for the students of Poros and Troizinia-Methana. The art workshop “In the way of…” is part of the program “Vacation at the Museum”.

18 June 2020

CITRONNE Gallery opens again this summer and welcomes you to Poros. This year, art historian and owner of the gallery Tatiana Spinari-Pollali opted to create a continuous with the exhibition “Inner Space”, which is presented at the Athens gallery. At the same time, she collaborates for the eighth consecutive year with the Antiquities Ephorate of West Attica, Piraeus and Islands at the Archaeological Museum of Poros. She co-curates the exhibition of Konstantinos Xenakis.

small-buddies
25 August 2022

The Small Buddies network is an innovative project which assists new and small organisations in showcasing their work and creating communication channels.