The Citizens’ University of Larissa

The Citizens’ University of Larissa promotes a culture of learning in the city, helping to improve the knowledge, skills and future prospects of all of the city’s residents.


The City of Larissa recently identified a lack in the provision of free training programmes, especially for vulnerable groups. This was largely due to the fact that the only public provider of non-formal training ceased operating in 2016. As the city began working on promoting a culture of learning in the local community, an increasing number of questions concerning the availability of courses was reported. In 2018, the Citizens’ University of Larissa was established within the framework of the Larissa – Learning City project, with the approval of the City Council and under the aegis of the UNESCO National Commission.


The Citizens’ University is the first local institution for continuing education open to all citizens. It is based on internationally recognised methods of adult education which have been adapted to the local social context. This reflects the city’s determination to promote access to high-quality, non-formal learning and training programmes for all citizens, with academic advice and support provided by experts in their fields. The university offers a wide range of learning options,ranging from local history to health, the environment or technology. The educators are highly qualified and apply participatory learning methods.


The Citizens’ University of Larissa promotes active citizenship and boosts participants’ critical thinking in a transformative way by providing useful knowledge and skills. As a local institution, it is aware of local training and labour market needs and is also free to design its educational programme without being bound by national regulations, meaning that it can more easily adapt to exceptional situations. Between 2019 and 2020, more than 4,000 citizens attended the programmes on offer, highlighting the acceptance of the institution. In many cases, the participants acquired skills that improved their daily lives or even their future prospects. The Citizens’ University of Larissa was awarded with the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2020.

Project owner
Dimitris Deligiannis
Chairman of the City Council
Project team
Ted Fleming
Adjunct Associate Professor of Adult Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Project team
Alexis Kokkos
Professor of Adult Education, Hellenic Open University
Project team
Sotirios Voulgaris
Deputy Mayor of Social Policy and Lifelong Learning
Project team
Stavroula Baxevanou
Director, Lifelong Learning Department
Project team
Tsiougou Kleoniki
Executive Assistant, Lifelong Learning Department
Project team
Vicky Goutha
Executive Assistant, Lifelong Learning Department