The Institute’s name, as well as its activities and aims, are directly associated with its location in the Jesuit Monastery of Ano Syros. Ano Syros, which is the primary springboard for the Institute’s activities, constitutes a characteristic traditional settlement exemplifying the living conditions and cultural identity of the populations inhabiting the Aegean islands. As such it provides fertile ground for research into the cultural processes that can be broadly grouped under the general term “tradition”.

However, the site's geographical position, and the wealth of historical records and cultural artefacts in the area (that in fact predate the settlement's establishment in medieval times) extend beyond the relatively limited notion of “tradition” and merit a wide array of research approaches. The area of the Cyclades in the Aegean sea constitutes the birthplace of ancient Greek civilization. In this sense the roots of the grand narratives of Greek and Western history can be traced back to this region. In this context, the Institute's name is indicative of a broader endeavor that focuses on the study of heritage but also of traditions. In order to draw attention to this two-fold perspective we should also underline the close, symbiotic connection between Ano Syros and the adjacent city of Hermoupolis, whose name, location and neoclassical architecture are indicative of the importance of the ancient Greek paradigm in defining contemporary cultural and political identity. This ancient Greek archetype includes not only the Athenian paradigm but elements of ancient Aegean civilization as well.