After months sailing and carrying out scientific projects, Mediterranea is landing at Athens on August 30th. In Athens it will be moored for a month to get in touch with the Hellenic cultural community, that warmly welcomed the invitations sent over the last few months thanks also to the valuable cooperation of Professor Silvana Vassilli, cultural attaché of the Italian Embassy in Athens and Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Athens.
Mediterranea does not sail for the sake of knowing the Mediterranean Sea, of experiencing the sea and carrying out scientific experiments. At least not only for that. The aim of the expedition is meeting the Mediterranean culture. Intellectuals, writers, artists to talk and dialogue with, to draw out a “Mediterranean thought” as a means to face present times and the serious decline of this area and of the whole world in the second decade of the third millennium.
It is no surprise that our Mediterranean fellow citizens in Greece reacted so positively. Isn’t dialogue their own invention?! Being involved in such cultural exchange must have appeared fair and interesting to them. Yet there are different ways of responding positively. The enthusiastic response by the most diverse areas of the Hellenic cultural world is significant. It reveals mainly Greek open-mindedness and absence of provincialism. The curiosity towards their neighbours and the confidence in the invitation received. Beautiful people are those who seize the opportunity when they are given a good reason and, just for that, promptly reply “I’m coming!”.
The question arises as to whether the Italian cultural world welcomed so warmly (and we really hope so) an expedition coming from Greece, Turkey, Egypt or France. And when in 2019 Mediterranea will be back to Italy and invite the cultural world to meet aboard and discuss our tired times, what will then happen? Wait and see.
In the meanwhile, we arranged a dense and rich programme involving leading intellectuals, artists, cultural representatives. Mediterranea Project will provide the most exhaustive report of the meetings and their outcomes.
Programme of cultural activities and meetings in Athens from August 30th to September 25th
|On Tuesday, September 16th, at 13.00 local time – Press conference on Mediterranea Project at the Italian Cultural Institute in Athens, under the aegis and patronage of the Director of the Institute, Professor Silvana Vassilli and her staff.|
On September 16th meetings and debates will follow, including two panels with intellectuals and leading figures of the Greek literary and cultural society focusing on:
“Which Humanism after the crisis?”
With the participation of:
“Mediterranean Sea and novels: writers in a time of crisis”
With the participation of:
In September, moreover, a tight schedule of private meetings with representatives of the Greek cultural world is being arranged. The meetings will be held aboard Mediterranea, in cafés and in the Italian Cultural Institute in Athens.
Hereby a list of people invited who have already largely confirmed their participation:
Petros Markaris, writer and playwright, cooperated with Theo Angelopoulos in a number of film scripts. One of the few Greek writers very well known in Italy together with the protagonist of his novels, the genuine and contemporary police investigator Charistos. Smart and sharp essayist, polyglot and cosmopolitan, Markaris belonged to the Greek community in Istanbul, his father was Armenian and he studied in Germany. He declares himself Greek, but he was born in Istanbul, the City as still called by the Greeks who are born there.
Ersi Sotiropoulos, writer. Born in Patras, she studied anthropology. She long lived and studied in Italy before moving back to her homeland. Since her debut in 1980 she wrote a number of novels. Some were translated into Italian including Zigzag Through the Bitter-Orange Trees, a novel of balancing acts and scrappy lives in the continuous pursuit of love.
Antonio Ferrari, columnist and correspondent of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera from the Eastern Mediterranean. He is the killjoy memory of the Mediterranean, “he remembers and writes what others forgot or ignored”. Ferrari met the protagonists of Middle East history and most of them had the honour to be the subjects of his interviews. He lives and works in Athens.
Paris Sigalas, mathematician and wine-maker. From teaching mathematics at school to the hundred-years-old vineyards in Santorini, where he founded his winery, one of the best and most internationally-awarded of Greece. The old vines are all ungrafted as this is one of the few phylloxera-free vineyards in the world. Thus, Sigalas’ wine may rightly be described as “the wine of gods“.
Denys Zacharopoulos, director of the “Alex Mylona” Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. An expert of the Arte Povera movement and of contemporary art, he was artistic director of many international museums and institutes, from New York to London, from Geneva to Vienna and Amsterdam.
Kostas Koutsourelis, poet and translator of works of the Italian Renaissance. Among others he translated the poetry of Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Vassilis Makios, director of Corallia, technology development network promoting innovation in South-East Europe.
Michel Demopoulos, a cinema and tv critic and producer. Born in Paris, he studied film-making, classical literature and linguistics and, in 1995, he oversaw a Greek cinema retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Maria Peteinaki, architect, co-spokeperson of the green environmentalist party in Greece, founder of Alternative Tours Athens, participating in Falafel Network and promoting the movement of urban agriculture.
Katerina Kafentzi (aka Kafka), music journalist, Program Director of EN LEFKO Radio 87,7FM. She’s the host and the editor in chief of the radio show «5/25 Live Sessions».
Maurizio De Rosa, essayist and translator of contemporary and modern Greek literature. He made the best translations of the works of Ioanna Karistiani and Maro Duka. He cooperates with the Hellenic centre for translation. He lives and works in Athens.
Nikos Moschonas, historian and art critic. Emeritus Research Director of the Section of Byzantine research, Institute of Historical Reasearch of the National Hellenic Research Foundation.
Gerasimos Zoras, director of the Faculty of Italian Language and Literature at the Kapodistrian University in Athens. He wrote Risonanze Italiane nel Mar Ionio (Italian resonance in the Ionian Sea), linguistics essay on Italian literature in the Renaissance.
Nanos Valaoritis, one of the most distinguished writers in Greece today, with a life troubled by exile during the Second World War and under the Greek military junta. He lived in Egypt, the United States, Switzerland, Paris… A self-described “surrealist”, Valaoritis expresses the depth of his mind and thoughts in works filled with parody, absurdity and metaphors. The Athens Academy of Letters and Science awarded Nanos Valaoritis the prestigious prize for poetry, and the President of Greece presented him with the Gold Cross of Honour. He is 93 years old.
Christos Hadziiosif, Professor of Contemporary and Modern History at the University of Crete and Director of the Institute for Mediterranean Sudies – Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas. He is an expert of economic and social history of the Mediterranean and wrote a number of essays on the economic history of the Mediterranean and Greek region.
Thanassis Valtinos, born in the Peloponnesus in 1932, he is an acknowledged and honoured writer and playwright. He is author of many novels and short stories and wrote film scripts in collaboration with film director Theo Angelopoulos, most notably the award-winning Voyage to Kythira.
Kostantinos Tsamiotis, writer and art critic. He worked at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Panagiotis Makris, Vice-President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, reference centre for cultural and art events, and the training, teaching and promotion of the Greek language.
Telemaco Chytiris, poet, former Minister for Culture in Greece.
Read the take by ANSAMed: “Mediterranea Project: Greek writers and artists onboard“