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Lighting the way to 2010 Youth Olympic Games

The official ceremony for the Lighting of the Olympic flame that will burn at the inaugural Youth Olympics Games in Singapore will take place today (July 23) at Ancient Olympia.
In the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and Minister of Culture Pavlos Yeroulanos, the priestess will stand in front of the 2,600 year-old Temple of Hera and by using a concave mirror will light a silver torch with the sun’s rays.
As soon as the flame is lit, the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame will begin travelling in five cities across the globe: Berlin, Dakar, Mexico City, Auckland and Seoul.
Yesterday, a successful rehearsal was conducted and hundreds of tourists, visiting the site where the Ancient Olympics were held from 776 BC to 393 AD, witnessed the event. The first ever Youth Olympic Games will be held from August 14 to 26 in Singapore.
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism: The Archaeological site of Olympia
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

PM George Papandreou Interview at “Politique Internationale”

Few countries have suffered from the global economic crisis as much as Greece. Not only did it feel the full force of the financial earthquake, but it also found itself under attack by international speculators.
Today, as the IMF and the European Union prepare to help, the country is licking its wounds and trying to understand how things got so bad.
George Papandreou is not the last to ask the question. Elected prime minister in October 2009, the leader of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) is fiercely critical of the previous center-right New Democracy administration, which he believes is guilty of setting up a system of cronyism and of knowingly underestimating the public debt and budget deficit. But the new head of government is an energetic man.
In this exclusive interview, he outlines his strategy for resolving his country’s daunting problems.
http://www.politiqueinternationale.com/revue/article.php?id_revue=127&id=901&content=synopsis

Blue Flags 2010

Greece was awarded Blue Flags for 421 Beaches and 9 Marinas by the International Blue Flag Jury, winning second place among 41 countries. 
The prefectures of Lasithi (on Crete), and Halkidiki (northern Greece), as well as the islands of Corfu and Rhodes were awarded the highest number of Blue Flags.
The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized standard for quality, develporewarding sustainable development at beaches and marinas, relying on strict criteria, such as water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety.
Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature: Greek Beachs awarded the Blue Flag for 2010
Greek News Agenda: 425 Blue Flags for Greece

PM George Papandreou interviews at “El Pais” & “Al Jazeera”

Prime Minister Georges Papandreou was interviewed by the Spanish daily “El Pais” (May 23).

In a three page interview, the premier answered questions regarding the economic situation in Greece noting that the euro-zone has reached a tipping point which will bring it before an “historic reflection period.”
In the case of Greece, the international community did not react in a timely manner, it did not admit that the currency was under attack, and “there was the same fear as when a buffalo leaves the herd.”
Today, the country’s austerity plan is on the right track, but it is not enough if it is to be left without European support. For Papandreou, the support is necessary for all members so to act as deterrent of speculation. “Spain and Portugal were not in a bad situation yet they fell victims of the ambient hysteria.”
In related news, in an interview with Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips  on May 20 in Athens, Papandreou said that Greece will eventually emerge from the crisis with a more viable economy, determined to say “never again.”   
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

7th Thessaloniki International Book Fair

The National Book Centre of Greece (EKEBI) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with HELEXPO and the Hellenic Federation of Publishers and Booksellers are organising the 7th Thessaloniki International Book Fair (TIBF) from April 22 to 25, with “Antiquity and Us” as this year’s theme.
TIBF is the leading cultural event for books in Greece which has managed over the years to become a focal point for the book world in Greece and the wider Balkan and Mediterranean region.
Thirty countries will be represented in this year’s fair which features more than 100 events: Greek and foreign authors as guest speakers, special features, seminars and workshops.
China will be the country of honour. Over 200 Chinese (publishers, authors, artists, government representatives) will be in Thessaloniki to present China’s immense book market but also a country with a rich tradition and history.
Greek News Agenda (30.5.2008) – Special Issue: Thessaloniki – City of Culture

Lecture of the writer Theodor Kallifatides at the University of Warsaw (26/3/2010)

The writer Theodor Kallifatides, visiting Warsaw in order to participate at the Conference “Literature and Immigration”, hold a lecture at the University of Warsaw on the 26th March.
The lecture was attended by the students of Modern Greek Philology at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales”.
The Greek writer spoke about his life and his decision to immigrate in Sweden, where he lives for the last 45 years. He referred, also, to the subjects that have inspired some of his 40 books and had a discussion with the students who were eager to learn about his new books.
The lecture was proposed by the Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Warsaw, which invited Kallifatides in Poland. The writer had, also, the chance to meet the Greek Ambassador, Gabriel Koptsidis.  

International Conference “Literature and Immigration” in Warsaw (25/3/2010)

An international conference “Literature and Immigration” took place in Warsaw on the 25th March, under the auspices of the European Commission and EUNIC (EU National Institutes of Culture).
The conference was organized by Goethe Institut, Austrian Cultural Forum, Danish Institute, Romanian Cultural Institute, the Swedish Embassy and the Press Office of the Greek Embassy, all of them members of EUNIC, as well as by the Representation in Poland of the European Commission and the Centre of Modern Art Zamek Ujazdowski, where the conference took place.
Scholars involved in academic research related with the topics of literature and immigration were invited to share their views with writers that have chosen to write in a foreign language.
  

The writer Kallifatides

 Greece was represented by the Albanian writer and journalist, Gazmend Kapllani, who lives and works in Greece and the writer Theodor Kallifatides, who has lived the last 45 years in Sweden, publishing more than 40 books.
Both writers were invited by the Press Office, with the support of the Greek Book Centre

Kapllani spoke about “The strange language of dreams”: ”I think that writing in a language that is not your mother tongue is a privilege and a trap at the same time. It’s a trap because every time that you are not satisfied with what you are writing, you’re tempted to blame your failure on the “foreign” language. In a way, it becomes your scapegoat. 

The writer and journalist Kapllani

On the other hand, it’s a privilege, because the relationship between yourself and that language is a relationship of a never ending curiosity. You never take it for granted. This happens for the sole reason that it was never given to you, you had to “conquer” it. You are in a constant search for yourself and this language. The foreign language will never fully be yours in the same way your mother tongue is. I believe that the relationship one has with one’s mother tongue always contains an element of routine and heaviness. The relationship with the “foreign” language never becomes routine. It gives you a sense of lightness and freedom, a desire to play and conquer. The relationship with your mother tongue seems similar to the maternal affection. The relationship with a foreign language that you acquired resembles a love affair. At least, this is what I can say about my relationship with the Greek language. I feel that I am no longer a stranger to the Greek language. But I am not a native either. Therefore, I do not live inside the Greek language either as a stranger, or as a native. Maybe I live within it as a strange one”. 
Kallifatides, who has published novels, poetry collections, travel essays and plays, has received numerous awards for his works which usually revolve around his experience of Greece and of being Greek in foreign domains and almost all his works have been translated and published in more than twenty languages.
During the conference, he stressed that for him the Greek language is the language of connotations and feelings, and the Swedish language is an intellectual language. He mentioned the problems of writing in your own language and the privileges of writing in a foreign language. He considers himself an immigrant and a writer and not an immigrant writer.