Tonia Asimakopoulou thrives off of the power of curiosity. It all started as a child, reading any and every book she could get her hands on and has evolved in her curiosity for travel and personal narratives. By listening to people’s stories, Tonia wants to bring them together and expose them to minority narratives. And through her personal trajectory, Tonia has been doing just that.
The Volcano serves as an introduction to our world’s diversity for children, aiming to inspire them and become Citizens of the World in action!
Growing up in Athens, Tonia realized the importance of independence and a strong work ethic. Her passion for world cultures and fostering relationships came soon after as she attended an Erasmus program in Bordeaux, France. Tonia knew that Bordeaux was just the beginning of her journeys abroad, and indeed it was followed by work and/or studies in Warsaw, Brussels, Budapest, and her beloved, Jerusalem. In 2014 she applied for the Humanity in Action Paris Fellowship, participating in the first Greek delegation in the organization’s history. Thanks to her experience during the Fellowship, she decided to develop in cooperation with the Greek NGO, Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity, an interactive, floor, quiz game for children: The Diversity Volcano. The Volcano inspires children in Greece to explore the differences and the cultures of our world, to imagine beyond the nation-state and stimulates the curiosity that has brought Tonia so far. Currently, the Volcano is being translated to German and will be facilitated by the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung in Berlin schools.
One of the constant sources of inspiration for Tonia, is people from different backgrounds coming together over food and personal stories; this is why as part of her Master of Public Administration at the Central European University in Budapest, she wrote about the rich culinary past of Aleppo, Syria, interviewing its food masters with the hopes that gastronomic tradition will be continued there in the future. For Tonia, it is extremely important to focus on aspects of culture that are often forgotten, hoping that cities will engage their rich traditions and history, to re-develop, or simply rebrand their identity. Tonia’s current work as a Non-Formal Education Coordinator with Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity, combines some of her passions, extending the scope of her impact in education, cultural diversity, as well as electoral mobilization.
“I want my children to enjoy our city greener, cleaner with equal social rights for all, allowing to all its citizens, regardless of their race, color, religion or sexual orientation, to walk in the Athenian streets feeling safe.”
Tonia explains that she is “confident that our Greek Humanity in Action network will keep on enriching its members with committed fellows, who through their investment in it, will all contribute to the goal of having an Athens Humanity in Action Fellowship!” Her continued participation in Humanity in Action since her Paris Fellowship certainly embodies this goal, as she has been a Pat Cox Fellow in 2015, and a Democracy Fellow in 2019. Tonia has also presented on her Action Project at the 2016 Paris Conference and continues to spread the word about Humanity in Action in Greece, an opportunity she hopes more dedicated Greek students will take in the future.