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Tribute to poet Odysseus Elytis

On November 2, 2011 Greece commemorates the 100th anniversary since the birth of poet laureate Odysseus Elytis. To mark the centenary of his birth, 2011 has been designated as Elytis Year by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Odysseus Elytis was born in Heraklion, Crete on November 2, 1911 and died in Athens on March 18, 1996.
A major poet in Greek language, Elytis is also one of the outstanding international figures of 20th-century poetry. Elytis’ poetry has marked, through an active presence of over forty years, a broad spectrum of subjects with a rarefied and passionate stylistic touch. The first collections of poetry (Orientations, 1939, and Sun the First, 1943) are joyous and radiant, celebrating the Greek landscape as an ideal world of sensual enjoyment and moral purity.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Centenary Celebrations
The Athens Concert Hall is paying tribute to Odysseus Elytis by holding a two-day (October 31 to November 1) international conference titled Odysseus Elytis: The 20th century in the poetry of Elytis. The poetry of Elytis in the 21st century, exploring new approaches in the interpretation of his work.
On November 2 and 3, there will be an event of original music by George Kouroupos under the title Odysseus Elytis’ This Small, this Great World!, with poetry and prose set to music, representing the main facets of the work of Odysseus Elytis: lyricism, a restless spirit of inquiry, courage, spirituality, sensation and true emotions. Continue reading

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Prime Minister`s Belgrade Visit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou paid a short visit to Belgrade on January 4 to address the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors of Serbia. During his visit, the premier met with Serbia’s President and Prime Minister, Boris Tadic and Mirko Cvetkovic.

Speaking after his meeting with the Serb President, Papandreou said that bilateral relations are excellent and noted that his presence in Belgrade signals the beginning of an effort to enable the western Balkans to join the European Union in 2014.
“Greece is in the front line of the initiative that constitutes a basic aim for peace, cooperation, and stability in the region,” Papandreou said. 
Addressing the 3rd Congress of Serbia’s ambassadors, Papandreou said that 2014 is a crucial year for the EU accession of the Western Balkan states, stressing that this region has to make big steps forward and leave behind the wars and conflicts of the past.
The premier also referred to “global governance that is in the making,” stressing, among other things, that “national states are gradually becoming incapable of handling global problems by themselves, such as climatic change, immigration and organised crime,” and called for global cooperation and regional alliances. 
See also: Athens News Agency: PM reiterates support for Serbia’s EU course

Tribute to the Greek Patriot Rigas Fereos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The restoration of Nebojsa Tower in Belgrade, Serbia where Rigas Fereos (1757-1798) was held captured and tortured will be launched this month and it is expected to be completed before the end of the year. The project will be funded by the Hellenic Parliament, the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Municipality of Belgrade. Rigas Fereos was a writer and revolutionary, an eminent figure of the Greek Enlightenment, remembered as a Greek national hero, the first victim of the uprising against the Ottoman Empire and a forerunner of the Greek War of Independence. Fereos’ vision for Greece’s emancipation from the Ottoman Empire was based on a Pan-Balkanic uprising under the guidance of Greece.  Around 1793, Fereos went to Vienna -the capital of the Austrian Empire and home to a large Greek community– in an effort to ask Napoleon Bonaparte for assistance and support.  The Austrian Empire opposed every movement which could jeopardise its territorial integrity and therefore ordered its secret services to arrest Fereos. He was imprisoned and tortured in the in the Nebojsa Tower in Belgrade and his body was thrown to the Danube River.  Fereos’ last words reportedly were: “I have sown a rich seed; the hour is coming when my country will reap its glorious fruits”.  Foundation of the Hellenic World: Ottoman Period- Towards the Greek Revolution

Greece – Serbia Connection

Papoulias in Belgrade
papouliasserbia1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) 
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias is on a two-day official visit in Serbia. Papoulias was warmly received by his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadić in Belgrade yesterday (July 2), where they held talks on bilateral relations and the European prospect of Serbia. Tadić thanked Greece for its position on the Kosovo issue. On his part, Papoulias emphasised the great importance of Serbia as a strategic partner and interlocutor for Greece. “Serbia can and should play a stabilising role […] in the region of Balkans” stated Papoulias, while stressing Greece’s support for Serbia’s accession to the European family and the ongoing initiative within the EU to lift visa restrictions for Serbian people. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Serbia; Greek News Agenda: Relations with Serbia  
Hellenic Culture Foundation in Belgrade
belgrad_ktirio5The Hellenic Culture Foundation Centre in Belgrade was inaugurated July 3, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias and his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadić. The new HCF centre will promote relations between the two countries in the field of education, as the Greek language has been taught for more than twenty years in Serbian Universities, and the same is true for the Serbian language in Greek Universities. Moreover, the HFC Centre in Belgrade will offer the study of the Greek language and will organise cultural events in collaboration with the local educational and cultural institutions.

Greece’s Relations with Serbia

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met her Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic in Athens on Thursday for talks ahead of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. As expected, issues topping the ministers’ agenda included the major challenges facing the Balkan region, such as the status of Kosovo and Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic course.  Outlining Greece’s positions with respect to Serbia, Bakoyannis said Athens was “proceeding with exceedingly cautious steps and would continue in this way.”  On Kosovo, in particular, she emphasised the need to improve the quality of daily life in the region, especially for minorities, and regardless of the governing regime. The European Union Rule of Law Mission – EULEX– was an important factor in this direction, she added.  Regarding Serbia’s relations with the European Union, the minister said Greece was playing a key role in speeding up the strengthening of EU-Serbia ties, while she expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between Belgrade and the International War Tribunal, noting that the latest developments opened the way for greater rapprochement with the EU. “The next step will be for Serbia to apply for accession to the EU,” she noted, adding that Belgrade would have Greece’s full support for this step.  Bakoyannis also referred to the very good bilateral relations between Greece and Serbia, especially in the area of developmental cooperation. She said Greece had so far disbursed €235 million from an overall budget of €550 million under the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, with priority given to completing Pan-European (roadway) Corridor X linking Thessaloniki with Belgrade and central Europe. Athens News Agency: Serbian FM in Athens; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis and her Serbian counterpart, Vuk Jeremic, following their meeting