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A “Mini” Greek-British History

The British Press (Independent, May 7 & Daily Telegraph, May 12) reports on the life of the Greek-British car designer of the legendary Mini model.  Sir Alexander Issigonis, (1906-1988) is now remembered chiefly for the groundbreaking and influential development of the Mini, launched by the British Motor Corporation in May 8 1959.  Issigonis was born into the Greek community of Smyrna (now İzmir) in the Ottoman Empire. Because Alec and his family were British subjects, they managed to escape the Turkish re-possession of Smyrna in 1922.  Alec studied engineering in London. In 1955, Issigonis was recruited by British Motor Corporation. A year later, following the Suez Crisis, Issigonis was asked to bring to production a small car as quickly as possible.  By early 1957, prototypes were running, and in August 1959 the car was launched as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Mini Seven or just Austin Mini. In later years, the car would become known simply as the Mini.

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Archaeological Park in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Culture Minister Antonis Samaras recently announced  the creation of a unique archaeological park – approximately 3.4 hectares – in downtown Athens. The park will unify the famed Lyceum established by the philosopher Aristotle with the Byzantine and Christian Museum. According to Culture Minister, a translucent protective roof is to be erected over the antiquities of the Lyceum’s area. Work on the project, which will cost €4.5 million, is to begin soon and to be completed by 2011 and it will be funded by the partly state-owned company OPAP. Aristotle opened the Lyceum- also known as “the Peripatetic School” – in 335 BC upon his return to Athens following a period during which he taught Alexander the Great. Foundation of the Hellenic World: Aristotle & Education; (Photo:Plato and Aristotle in Raphael’s masterpiece “The School of Athens”)

Onassis Prize in Finance

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The recipient of the Onassis Prize in Finance is Professor Eugene Fama from Chicago University’s Graduate School of Business. Professor Fama was honoured for his lifetime contribution to finance academia. In his speech delivered for the occasion at a ceremony held at the Guildhall in the City of London on April 27, Fama referred to the global economic crisis stressing that it has not yet ended and that it is advisable for markets to be left free to adjust, away from government interventionism. The Onassis Prize, sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, is awarded biennially and recognises a lifetime contribution by a leading academic in each of the areas of shipping, trade and finance.  The winner receives prize money of $250,000. Addressing the ceremony which attracted some 700 distinguished guests from across the world, President of the Board of Directors, Anthony S. Papadimitriou stated his enthusiasm for the international recognition for a valuable institution such as the Onassis International Prizes.

Hellenistic Studies at Library of Alexandria

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The ancient world’s beacon of knowledge, the Library of Alexandria in Egypt – Bibliotheca Alexandrina – has acquired a Centre of Hellenistic Studies which was inaugurated on November 28, and will soon offer a new programme including post-graduate and doctoral courses in Hellenistic studies. The Centre, part of a joint initiative of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and the Vardinoyannis Foundation – will open in the next academic year, with funding by each of these foundations and the Alexandria University, under the auspices of Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak, all part of the Alexandria Library partnership. Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis inaugurated the Centre, and UN Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis attended the event.  Athens News Agency: Hellenistic Studies in Alexandria; Greek News Agenda: Hellenistic Studies @ Biblioteca Alexandrina 

The Awards at 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) opened on November 14 and concluded on November 23. Iranian filmmaker Abdolreza Kahani’s feature-length black and white film “Over There” won the Golden Alexander award as the best foreign film. A critics’ committee special award and the Silver Alexander went to the Romanian- Italian co-production “Hooked,” directed by Adrian Sitaru. The best director award was given to Argentina’s Celina Murga for her film “A Week Alone,” while the prize for best scenario was awarded to Australian Matthew Newton for his “Three Blind Mice.” The Best actress award was given jointly to Ioana Flora and Maria Dinulesku from Romania and Best Actor award was also jointly bestowed to Sid Lucero and Emilio Garcia.  Thessaloniki Int’l Film Festival: 49TIFF Awards (23/11/2008)

Athens to Host Global Forum on Migration, 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Next year, Athens will host the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), and the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation will undertake the organisation of the event – which will take place in November 2009. The GFMD is a voluntary, cross-border initiative launched by the UN secretary general’s office and aims to display the potential and challenges of international migration. The two-day forum is expected to be attended by 200 participants and representatives of non-governmental organisations from around the globe.  Hellenic Migration Policy Institute: www.imepo.gr