President Papoulias, who served from 2004 to 2013, was regarded as a statesman who defended the country's social cohesion and national unity.
According to a Bloomberg report on Sunday (December 26, 2021), Greece's current president, Aikaterini Sakellaropoulou regards him as a figure who is "honored with his morals and behavior the highest state institution, vigorously defending social cohesion and national unity."
Papoulias was born in 1929 in the city of Ioannina. His father, Grigoris, was a major-general who died when he was seven years old. He spent his high school years in Athens and Pogoniani. During the German occupation, he was one of the first Greeks to join the resistance.
While in Munich, he worked for a private international law firm, the Institute for South-Eastern Europe. Later on, he earned his doctorate at the University of Athens.
Papoulias was a socialist who served as foreign minister in 1985-87 and 1993-94. He was a close associate of Andreas Papandreou, Greece's prime minister, from 1984 to 1987.
As a member of Greece's parliament, he played a vital role in organizing the evacuation of Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders from Lebanon in 1983.
Papoulias was first elected as the country's president in 2005. He served as the country's head of state until 2015. He coordinated the formation of a unity government in November 2011 during the euro crisis.
Papandreou sought to improve the relations between Turkey and Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus. He also helped the country join the European Union. Papoulias also restored diplomatic relations with Bulgaria. He successfully negotiated the peaceful settlement of the Bulgarian-Greece oil pipeline dispute in 1988.