The Minister of Culture and Sports of Greece, Mrs Lina Mendoni, in a series of her meetings in Sydney, met with the two National Committees of Australia that are working systematically for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.
According to a press release, Mrs Lina Mendoni had a long discussion with David Hill and George Vardas, President and Vice President of the Australian Parthenon Association, as well as with Emmanuel Comino, President of the International Organising Committee – Australia for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.
The Greek Minister of Culture informed the two Committees extensively about the recent developments, after the important decision on September 29 of UNESCO, regarding the request of Greece for the return of the Sculptures to Greece.
A special discussion took place for the forthcoming meeting of the National Committees around the world, next September in Athens, for the decision to coordinate the Committees in joint actions of pressure on the British counterpart.
Mrs Mendoni thanked the Presidents and the members of the two Committees for their continuous support and their tireless efforts for the international promotion of the just request of Greece for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
Meeting with Greek-Australian expatriate communities
The Greek Minister of Culture discussed issues that concern the Greek community of Sydney in its effort to promote Greek culture, to expand its artistic activities and to organise cultural events of quality, with the Greek communities.
Mrs Mendoni met in Sydney with members of the Kytherian Association of Australia and its President, Mr Emmanuel Alfieris, and discussed in detail issues concerning the promotion of Greek culture by the Greek community.
The Minister, listening to the suggestions of the Kytherian community, proposed the cooperation of the Association with the Ministry of Culture for the creation, in Canberra, of the Museum of Precise Copies of works exhibited in Greek museums, from antiquity to post-Byzantine times.
The aim is to establish a permanent center of Greek culture for its promotion to all citizens, Australians and Greek-Australians, but also to support educational programs for the younger generation of Greek-Australians. The proposal was accepted immediately.
The Minister was also briefed by the Board of Directors of the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales and its President, Mr Harry Danalis, on the Sydney Greek Festival. Mrs Mendoni suggested ways to improve the Festival, but also ways to support with artists and artistic groups from Greece.
The Committee of the oldest branch of the Hellenic Lyceum outside of Greece, in Sydney and its President, Mrs Liana Vertzagia, had a working lunch with the Greek Minister of Culture and extensively explained to her the activities and problems that concern their organisation. Mrs Mendoni presented ways of supporting the Hellenic Lyceum, which were immediately accepted.
The University of Sydney and the Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies, as well as the Australian Archaeological Institute, were two more meetings in Mrs Mendoni’s visit to Sydney.
Mrs Mendoni had a wide discussion with the head of the Department of Modern Greek Studies, Professor Vrasidas Karalis, -with the participation of student representatives- who informed her that the Department of Modern Greek Studies is the only one left in an Australian higher education institution from seven departments that operated in other universities in the country, until 2011
Lina Mendoni agreed with the Ministry of Culture to support the activities of the Department of Modern Greek Studies by sending publications of modern Greek literature, as well as invitations to writers and artists, in order to present their work in the context of seminar courses.
Mrs Mendoni was also informed by the head of the Archaeological Institute, Professor Stavros Paspalas, and about his activities. The Minister then toured the Chau Chak Museum of the University, which has important collections, including important ancient Greek collections as well.