Celebrating 30 years of partnership with the A. G. Leventis Foundation

For over 30 years, the A. G. Leventis Foundation has been an invaluable and generous partner to collegiate Cambridge, sharing the University’s vision of higher education as transformative and socially progressive.

At a special event in March, University leaders and academics hosted delegates from the A. G. Leventis Foundation to celebrate and honour the Foundation’s significant philanthropic support.

With deep roots at Clare College, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the African Studies Institute, and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the A. G. Leventis Foundation’s support has significantly impacted the study of classics, archaeology, African studies, conservation and biodiversity through investment in research, studentships, professorships, and fellowships.

This support has included an extraordinary commitment to extending the impact of these disciplines in Africa and the Mediterranean.

A. G. Leventis Professorship of Greek Culture

In 2008, one of the biggest gifts from the Foundation endowed in perpetuity the A. G. Leventis Professorship of Greek Culture — the first endowed chair in Classics at a UK university established since World War II. The chair focuses on the study of more than 1,000 years of Greek cultural achievements, highlighting their lasting influence on society today.

This innovative chair also encompasses outreach activities, a vital part of the University’s commitment to enhancing access to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Professor Paul Cartledge

Professor Paul Cartledge

“Without this chair and my Leventis Senior Research Fellowship at Clare College, I could not have produced the teaching and research I have been able to do over the past 15 years. The Leventis name has also been the passport to the kind of outreach work I continue to do.”
Professor Paul Cartledge, A. G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow, Clare College and Emeritus A. G. Leventis Professsor of Greek Culture

Cambridge Africa Programme

Thanks to the generous seed funding provided by the A. G. Leventis Foundation in 2022, the Faculty of Classics has established a collaborative link with Classicists at the University of Ghana through the Classics Beyond Borders project.

Working with universities across the world, particularly in parts of the world that were formerly under British rule, is a crucial part of the Faculty's efforts to address the colonial legacy of Classics and to to help the discipline thrive as a more diverse and inclusive scholarly endeavour.

Classicists in Ghana are at the forefront of liberating the subject from its colonial past. Developing new connections with Ghana opens up new possibilities for research and teaching, which will benefit both parties

“Classics is a global discipline which belongs to everyone and which we want to practice, in line with this Leventis-funded initiative ‘beyond borders.”
Dr Frisbee Sheffield, Associate Professor of Classics, Faculty of Classics

Thanks to funding from the Foundation, the Beyond Borders project has successfully increased access for to relevant monographs and journals for Ghanian researchers and students, established online teaching provision in Greek and Latin, provided teacher training for graduate students working in Ghana and funded an early-career research position.

A. G. Leventis Fellowship in African Archaeology

The A. G. Leventis Fellowship in African Archaeology is vastly enriching our understanding of Africa’s ancient civilisations and establishing what the world might learn from them today.

By unveiling past water use practices, researchers are learning how ancient African urban communities endured climate change and sustained social cohesion. This work exposes the nature and resilience of water security and its legacies in present-day, traditional practices.

Dr Federica Sulas, Senior Research Associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and Leventis Fellowship recipient, has been supported in her work with local communities in northern Ethiopia and southern Zimbabwe to uncover past land and water practices.

 “The Leventis Fellowship has granted me wonderful resources and much-needed time to consolidate and expand my research on African urban landscapes and water…connecting biocultural heritages and ecologies across different periods, cultures and ecologies.”
Dr Federica Sulas, Senior Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and Leventis Fellow

Dr Frisbee Sheffield

Dr Frisbee Sheffield

Dr Federica Sulas

Dr Federica Sulas

Islanders: The Making of the Mediterranean

For the last four years, the Foundation’s generous support has made the Being an Islander: Art and Identity of the Large Mediterranean Islands research project possible. 

The project's extraordinary contributions to knowledge and culture include; the Islanders: The Making of the Mediterranean exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, the publication of an academic volume, and a public engagement programme — all underpinned by extensive archaeological research in Greece and Cyprus.

Both the exhibition and research project, together with corresponding public engagement actions and outputs interpret what defines island identities in the Mediterranean. They explore how insularity affected and shaped cultural identity using the examples of Crete, Cyprus and Sardinia, and provide a platform to debate cultural evolution in the islands as distinct from the surrounding mainland.

Through key archaeological artefacts and interactive installations, the Islanders exhibition makes a case for thinking about the regions surrounding the Mediterranean in terms of connectivity and mobility rather than through modern political boundaries or disciplinary divides, resonating with current discourses about island versus mainland cultural identities, including Britain’s own.

The exhibition is the culmination of a two-year project by an interdisciplinary team across four countries, using research findings from scientific fields within archaeology — such as ceramics studies, archaeobotany, and archaeometallurgy. The team also engaged with modern artists whose work contemplates what belonging to an island means.

The Foundation’s support has been instrumental to the success of this ambitious interdisciplinary project.


Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou

Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou

“Every single episode of the Foundation's generosity has contributed to making me a more confident scholar and heritage professional. It has allowed the expansion of both my research interests and the creation of a strong community of co-researchers and collaborators.“
Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou, Senior Assistant Keeper (Curator, Greece, Cyprus and Rome), Department of Antiquities, Fitzwilliam Museum


Conservation research is a priority for the University of Cambridge and an important example of how higher education can make a positive difference in the world, a vision shared by the A. G. Leventis Foundation.

Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI)

In 2022, the Foundation supported the Cambridge Conservation Initiative’s Collaborative Fund project on Applying Nature-Based Solutions in the High Diversity Tropics. This collaborative project between University of Cambridge academics and CCI partners seeks to tackle the linked biodiversity and climate crises.

Key to this is the application of nature-based solutions: specifically the restoration of large landscape areas to sequester carbon while improving watersheds, regenerating biodiversity and supporting the health and well-being of communities resident in those landscapes.

Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS)

The A.G. Leventis Foundation is a critically important funder of the Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS), an interdisciplinary conference for early-career researchers.

Over 22 years, the conference has hosted over 3,500 young researchers from 136 countries and provided more than 500 bursaries for students from lower-income countries at a formative stage in their careers.

“It gives young researchers confidence in their work and how to present it. It’s often exposed them to new skills, and crucially it’s helped them build networks of friends and collaborators.” 
Professor Andrew Balmford, Professor of Conservation Science, Department of Zoology

2022 Student Conference on Conservation Science attendees

2022 Student Conference on Conservation Science attendees

Professor Andrew Balmford

Professor Andrew Balmford

These are just a few examples of the A. G. Leventis Foundation's wide-ranging philanthropic support for interdisciplinary and collaborative research at Cambridge.

In the face of ever-increasing global challenges, longstanding and wide-ranging philanthropic partnerships like this are more important than ever if we are to ensure that Cambridge continues to attract and nurture the world’s brightest minds, find solutions, and extend the boundaries of knowledge and understanding. 

The University of Cambridge is immensely grateful to the A.G. Leventis Foundation for their support.