Iason Apostolopoulos is the field coordinator of the Italian humanitarian organization Mediterranea Saving Humans, where he leads the Search and Rescue operations in the central Mediterranean Sea onboard the Mare Jonio rescue vessel. He has in-depth knowledge and understanding of migration in Europe and its socio-political context. Iason has been involved in humanitarian and solidarity projects since 2015, most of which were responses to the ongoing refugee reception crises at the borders of Europe, particularly in Italy and Greece. He also spent a year working in South Sudan with Médicins Sans Frontières. His formal education includes a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from the Technical University of Athens. In addition to his work onboard the Mare Jonio rescue vessel, Iason is a volunteer who actively organizes political and cultural events with Mediterrana Saving Humans. These events include grassroots actions for defending public spaces and oppressed minorities. He is often invited to public events, radio as well as television programs, and universities to speak about the refugee reception crises in addition to other social issues. He also contributes to Greek news organizations such as TVXS and The Press Project.
“Every human life has equal value. Nobody should be left to die helpless in the seas of Europe because of their race, ethnicity, or legal status. Sea rescue is not a crime. It is an obligation under international law and a universal human right.”
Learn more about Iason’s Landecker Democracy Fellowship project here.
Updated February 2021
More from Iason Apostolopoulos
RAISIN Placemaking & Community Live Conversations with Asha Iman Veal
As part of her RAISIN exhibition, Asha Iman Veal is organizing Placemaking & Community Live Conversations. The event on October 8th features several Landecker Democracy Fellows.
Landecker Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos on board of the Geo Barents ship that rescues over 300 people
Landecker Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos and the Geo Barents rescue ship have completed a challenging mission and rescued over 300 people in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
Retraction of Presidential Recognition: Politicized Humanitarian Work?
Landecker Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos was retroactively removed from a list of humanitarian workers to be celebrated by the Greek President. Although he was nominated and notified of this decoration, he was pulled from the list without any official explanation.
Barriers beyond borders: the realities for asylum seekers from the sea to Athens
On Wednesday June 2, 2021 Landecker Democracy Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos joins the virtual panel "Barriers beyond borders: the realities for asylum seekers from the sea to Athens." The event was co-organized by Iason and 2019 John Lewis Senior Fellow Chryssa Mela.
Leaving no one behind - Training civic rescuers while raising awareness on the drowning human rights in the seas of Europe.
Landecker Democracy Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos is the field coordinator of the Italian humanitarian organization Mediterranea Saving Humans, where he leads the Search and Rescue operations in the central Mediterranean Sea onboard the Mare Jonio rescue vessel. The idea os his project is to promote the concept of civil response at sea to a wider audience and to strengthen the already existing network of people who actively protect migrants’ lives. The mobilization of local communities is a crucial factor in this process.
Event on Pushbacks on the Greek-Turkish Border
On Saturday January 23rd, Landecker Democracy Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos hosted a virtual event "Pushbacks on the Greek-Turkish Border." Iason brought together human rights activists from Greece and Italy in order to shed a light on the state-led illegal push-back activities across the sea and land borders of Greece--activities that have increased dramatically over the past 10 months.
Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows Discuss Protecting Democracy After Attack on US Capitol
Landecker Fellows gathered to debrief the violent January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol and the implications this assault has had on the future of democracy--an assault fueled by conspiracy theories and former US President Donald Trump himself. From there, they deliberated on how we can depolarize our communities and call civil society into action in order to protect and strengthen democratic societies.
Webinar: How the State Manufactured the Refugee Crisis and the Importance of Social Solidarity and Action
Landecker Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos is invited to talk on a webinar hosted by the social center "Nosotros." This Athens-based group has invited Iason along with other human rights activists who worked on the front-lines of the refugee crisis in the Greek islands.
A Crisis Within a Crisis; Refugees facing Covid-19
Landecker Fellow Iason Apostolopoulos was a panelist on the webinar titled "A Crisis Within a Crisis; Refugees facing Covid-19." Iason is the Rescue Team Coordinator of "Mediterranea Saving Humans," an Italian Association that is active in the Central Mediterranean Sea.