Dr. Konstantinos D. Karatzas is the founder and director of GIRES. He is specialized in twentieth-century international political history, with a particular interest in African American history and political and racial violence.
He holds a BA in Russian and East European Studies by the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece where he was introduced to Soviet and Post-Soviet history, mastered Russian language and explored the vast culture and literature of this part of the world. Exploring languages and loving teaching, Konstantinos became a TEFL teacher and received his IB certificate in Teaching in Toronto, Canada. Establishing his lifetime relationship with the Netherlands, Konstantinos received his MA from the University of Leiden,where he studied with scholarship by the Dutch state, specializing in political cultures and national identities, focusing on the study of oppressing regimes and started his scholarly life-changing relation with the research of the American Civil Rights Movement. He worked as a doctoral researcher at the Institute of History at the University of Leiden, received the first scholarship ever offered by the Greek government for advanced studies in American history and finished his doctoral studies at the University of Zaragoza in Spain from where his received his title as a Doctor of History. Konstantinos graduated with the highest mark and his dissertation was the first-ever written in English at the Department of History since its foundation in 1458.
Passionate educator, Dr. Karatzas has collaborated with numerous universities, institutes and international organizations in Europe and the United States, some of which are the Universities of Leiden (NL), Zaragoza (Spain), Kent (UK) and the Polytechnic School of Athens (Greece) and the American universities Davidson, Morehouse, Central Florida, Oklahoma, North Florida, Texas, Ohio State, Valdosta, Florida (Gainesville) and Kentucky.
Keen researcher, Konstantinos has worked in numerous university, state and private archives in Oklahoma and Florida, London (UK), The Hague and Middleburg (NL), Athens (Greece), Washington D.C., New York and Chicago. Advocate of oral history, he has interviewed more than 2000 people for his work on African American experience in the United States and the memories of survivors from the Dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974) serving his interests on hate groups, dictatorships, individual and collective memory and political and cultural transfers. Prominent public speaker, he has made numerous public appearances in various media outlets one of which is the 2018 TedX Athens with his “Shall we play a game? Connecting the dots of history” speech.
Dr. Karatzas’ scholarly life is interconnected with Oklahoma and the struggle of black community for independence and freedom in the United States. He has been the first non-American scholar that worked on the archives of the Tulsa Massacre creating a unique 80,000 pages digital record of primary sources that for the first time travelled in its whole outside the United States. His pioneer research will be presented in the book entitled “Violence and Memory in the United States: The Case of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot” that will be published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis, US in 2021.
As an advocate of accessible knowledge he believes in the reformation and (re)connection of academia with society and the creation of a symbiotic relation by offering insights, scholarly opinions and tangible solutions and tools to the public sphere.