2022 2022 Winner Project | Engage Science Engagement (Falling Walls Engage)

“EcosySTEM” is a project that targets the population of the Pomaks, which is situated in the mountainous area of Thrace, in Northeastern Greece. This population is both geographically and socially isolated, as their religion and language differ from the remaining population of Greece.

The past and current situation still fosters inequalities for the Pomak minority, frequently limiting the prospects of locals either to labour professions in Greece and abroad for men or to household and caring for the family for women. This makes it very difficult for either gender to pursue alternative professional and social paths.

We (SciCo) run “EcosySTEM” as a pilot program, aiming to connect the population of Pomak students with the rest of the students living in the city of Xanthi (capital of the regional unit), through STEM environmental education and out-of-school workshops. By using the neutral “language” of Science, SciCo has co-created and ran a curriculum together with the local academic entity “Athena” Public Research Institute and the local high school science teachers. This has succeeded to bridge the students, Pomaks and non-Pomaks with each other, and the local academic and school community whilst raising awareness on current environmental challenges.

The impact of this program is the bridging of this isolated group with its neighbouring populations, the upskilling of the students and the connection of the local academic community with the local schools through science.

Theo Anagnostopoulos

Science Communication

Theo Anagnostopoulos is a social entrepreneur, science engager, National Geographic Explorer and the Manager of the Falling Walls Engage Hub Greece. He is the Founder and General Manager of SciCo, an international social enterprise aiming to make science and technology simple and understandable. He is also the Co-Founder of the “Athens Science Festival”, “Mind the Lab”, “STEMpowering Youth”, “Generation Next” and “Celebrity Science” amongst several other initiatives. Theo holds a PhD in Medical Genetics, he is an Ashoka Fellow and a Falling Walls Engage Winner (2018, 2019) and Finalist (2020, 2021). Theo has traveled to 93 countries on six continents.