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Greece assumes UNESCO Presidency October 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Greece assumed the Presidency of UNESCO for the first time in 62 years on Tuesday October 16th.

The country’s Ambassador to UNESCO Georgios Anastassopoulos, was unanimously elected President of the Organisation at its 34th general conference session in Paris, for the next two years.

Greek President Papoulias’s UNESCO speech on the Parthenon Marbles > The President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, speaking on October 18th at UNESCO in Paris, emphasized the role of Greece within the centuries and in world history.

President Papoulias spoke of Greece as a center of initiatives connected to the preservation of cultural heritage in Southeastern Europe. In the presence of UNESCO’s distinguished audience, President Papoulias said that the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles, currently in the British Museum, is still open, thereby giving the issue itself further international exposure.

President Papoulias said that “civilization is a constant concern for UNESCO. This was proved in 2003 through the International Convention for the protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage”. In reference to the Parthenon Marbles the Greek President said “I have faith in the values that big Museums espouse and I feel that recently we have seen the emergence of a positive climate. I hope that the completion of the New Acropolis Museum will become an exceptional reason for the final resolution of this long-standing issue. The demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles is both an ecumenical and a contemporary demand. I am touched by the fact that my speech coincides with the birth date of Melina Merkouri, for whom the return of the marbles was a lifelong aspiration”.

President Papoulias also spoke about Greek efforts to develop, through UNESCO, regional initiatives for the preservation of the cultural heritage of different people. Regarding Southeastern Europe, Greece will host the “Intercultural Encounters on Maritime, River and Lake Routes in Southeastern Europe” convention of Heads of State of the region in 2008.

The invitation extended to the Greek President coincides with the election of Greek Ambassador to the Presidency of the UNESCO General Conference. President Papoulias is the third Greek President, after Constantine Tsatsos in 1979 and Constantine Karamanlis in 1982, to address the General Conference.

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