12/11/2015 06:01 AM
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12/10/2015 09:45 AM
Greece-Egypt-Cyprus Summit Concluded

Trilateral talks between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt concluded in Athens with the signing of a declaration in which the three countries agreed to work closer on security and energy issues.

Wrapping up the trilateral summit, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Alexis Tsipras, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, and President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, noted in a joint statement the continuous and significant progress being made at various levels of cooperation, including that of peoples with long-standing ties and of countries in the same geographical area with common understanding and approach on a number of issues.
The three leaders issued a joint declaration pledging to deepen trilateral cooperation on all fronts: "Our 3rd Trilateral Summit underlines our well-established and continuous tripartite partnership aiming at promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean in various fields (political, economic, trade, culture, tourism)" the Athens declaration said, making note of the mutually beneficial nature of the EU–Egypt relationship and stressing the need for the EU to support Egypt politically and economically (including its fight against terrorism) and acknowledging its pivotal role for the security and stability in the East Mediterranean region.

The three leaders also agreed to establish a standing joint committee to work on tourism, investment and energy projects of trilateral interest, including cooperation in the shipping industry and the linking of their ports. As regards the energy sector, they agreed to accelerate negotiations relating to the delineation of the three countries’ adjacent maritime zones and explore the potential for new pipelines in the region, depending on the level of gas reserves found in the eastern Mediterranean.

See also from Greek News Agenda: Egyptian President in Athens

12/10/2015 09:11 AM
Updated Athens Guide Welcomes Visitors

An updated Athens Guide (Winter 2015- Spring 2016) is now available and in the process of being delivered to 96 leading hotels in Athens. The Guide is published by City Contact, under the auspices of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (HATTA).

The publication aims to help Athens visitors to be updated on the best spots for entertainment, shopping, food, drink and recreational activities in the city. The 2015 Athens Guide also includes updated practical information (useful contact and emergency numbers, taxis', postal offices, country codes etc), as well as information on excursions in Athens and surrounding areas, sightseeing & culture, health & safety and various maps. 

Athens Guide was first published in 1998 as a bilingual (English & Greek) guide to Athens. Eight editions are published annually and distributed to hotels in Athens, and it is estimated that over 650.000 tourists per year consult it. 

City Contact developed the Info Stand system in 1996, providing visitors with useful information through free publications about Greece. The company also created, in 2004, Athens Walking Tours (offering, e.g. Acropolis and museum tours, as well as culinary tours in the city), aspiring to offer Athens guests a high quality cultural experience during their stay in the country.

See also: Athens celebrates World Cities Day &Athens: an art deco Mediterranean capital?

12/10/2015 09:08 AM
Athens Gallery Weekend 2015

The Hellenic Art Galleries Association, following the success of Gallery Weekends 2013 and 2014, is holding Gallery Weekend 2015, dedicated to galleries in Athens and Thessaloniki. The event is organized in collaboration with Art-Athina, the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organization and the Municipality of Thessaloniki.

The event will take place this weekend (December 12-13) offering a detailed exhibitions programme of participating galleries in Athens and Thessaloniki. The organizers aim is to establish Gallery Weekends as an annual feast enabling the public to discover the most vibrant artistic aspect of the country’s two largest cities and its place on the international art scene. 
Specifically, the public will have the opportunity to browse through 38 galleries in total that will be presenting over 200 Greek and international artists, showcasing hundreds of artworks. Participating galleries include: Gagosian, Kalfayan, Bernier Eliades, Zoumboulakis, The Breeder, Antonopoulou, Agathi- Kartalos, Rebecca Camhi, Medusa, Kappatos, Skoufa, Elika and Cheapart. The variety and scope of works on show, in terms of both media and artistic trends, will allow viewers to feel the pulse of contemporary artistic creation in Greece.

12/10/2015 08:49 AM
Culture Agenda

Orhan Pamuk in Athens

Celebrated Turkish author - and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature - Orhan Pamuk, will deliver a lecture at the Athens Concert Hall, on December 10, on the occasion of the publication of his new book, "A Strangeness in My Mind". The event is being organized in association with Okeanida Publishers and Public Bookstores.

Cirque Eloize at the Athens Concert Hall

Canada’s Cirque Eloize brings its spectacular show "iD" to Athens for a series of performances from December 15 to 20. The show, created in 2009, combines circus arts and urban dance, including breakdance and hip-hop. The setting is in the heart of a city, in a public space where people seek refuge and a chance to shed their anonymity; a place where identity is forged and individuality is expressed to a stimulating soundtrack by composers Jean-Phi Goncalves and Alex McMahon. The company has integrated multimedia for the first time, giving this show a unique feel.

"Views of fantasy"

"Views of Fantasy", the annual festival dedicated to the fantasy genre will take place in Athens December 11-12. On both days of the festival, writers will present their books, artists their works, and there will be screenings of the fantasy movies, including "The seed" (directed by Ifigenia Kotsoni) and "Edith", starring Renos Charalambidis (directed by Domenik Papaemmanouil).

The Festival, organized by Universe Pathways, is an annual event that has been held since 2011. Finally, the event includes the presentation of the Larry Niven Awards for 2015.

La Boheme at the National Opera

The Greek National Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s "La Boheme", in a production directed by acclaimed director Lina Wertmuller, from December 10 to 17. The love story between Mimi and poet Rodolfo unfolds in Toulouse Lautrec’s Paris in the 1830s. Alternating in the role of Rodolfo is Matteo Lippi and Yannis Christopoulos, while sopranos Cellia Costea, Elena Kelessidi and Anna Stylianaki alternate in the role of Mimi. The National Opera Orchestra is conducted by Myron Michailidis. 

Oneiroupoli 2015 in Drama

The Christmas Festival "Oneiroupoli" in the town of Drama (northeastern Greece) takes place for the twelfth consecutive year inviting residents and visitors to take a trip into the fairytale world of Christmas from December 3, 2015 to January 7, 2016. Located in the Municipal Garden of Drama, in an area of 20,000 m², Oneiroupoli hosts a number of activities and events for both children and adults.

12/09/2015 09:34 AM
Start ups and Democracy

You ask the questions –We provide the answers:  
WePolitics is an online tool that aspires to revolutionize political expression. The project is the brainchild οf Yannis Evmolpidis and Vassilis Zoupas, whose aim was to use social media to provide direct and liberal communication among users, while finding a way to evade stagnation in the field of politics. After two years of research and hard work, “WePolitics” was born, creating a new political social network that connects citizens with decision makers.

Within two months of its launch, there are more than 1000 registered users who express opinions, ask questions and vote on a daily basis. It is a smart and sophisticated tool, but also very easy to handle: users simply complete their profile online and are automatically connected with other users. Thus, an online neighborhood is created, where people can freely express their views on issues that matter the most and ultimately make their voices heard! Smart infographics are used to explain who shares the same or opposite views, by providing data according to sex, age and location, ultimately making political interaction and opinion exchange a pleasant and easy task.

Want to know and understand what happens in the Parliament?: 
Vouliwatch is a digital platform that engages Greek citizens with legislative politics and grants them the opportunity to communicate, evaluate and hold elected representatives in the Greek and European Parliament (MPs & MEPs) accountable. A non-profit initiative aiming to promote public dialogue, it was launched in March 2014 as a result of a long and persistent team effort.

Its founding members-who are of diverse backgrounds and careers, from national and European politics to communications, social entrepreneurship and digital innovation-worked hard to create a digital tool offering users the chance to ask questions and receive public replies by MP’s and MEP’s. At the same time, the team works with politicians and civil society so as to promote a culture of dialogue and understanding, creating a space where democracy can thrive!

12/09/2015 07:22 AM
Greece Among the Smartest Countries Science-Wise

According to the "OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015: Innovation for growth and society" report, Greece is among the 10 smartest countries in the world when it comes to science. The report includes data up to 2012 and tracks new college degrees in 40 of the world's most advanced countries. The ranking is based on the percentage of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees awarded per capita so that it's a fair comparison between countries with different populations. 

Specifically, with a score of 26%, Greece ranks 6th on the list. However, it is worth noting that, overall, the 40 most science-educated countries in the world witnessed a drop from 23% STEM degrees in 2002 to 22% a decade later. Greece, for instance, spent only 0.08% of its GDP on research in 2013, one of the lowest reported among developed countries. This might explain why its STEM degree rate dropped from 28% in 2002 to 26% in 2012. This comes at challenging times - when scientists are needed if we are to solve the biggest problems of our era, from climate change and food security to nuclear non-proliferation.

Acknowledging the significance of science in society, the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics have established the Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics, which is awarded every three years to a member of their societies for an outstanding contribution to applied mathematics in the highest and broadest sense. 

Specifically, the 2016 Prize has been awarded to the Greek applied mathematician Constantine M. Dafermos, who holds a diploma in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University, for his foundational work in partial differential equations and continuum physics.

12/09/2015 07:03 AM
Egyptian President in Athens

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras welcomed for talks yesterday, at government headquarters, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is on a three-day official visit to Greece. Tsipras remarked that Sisi’s visit inaugurates a new era of cooperation that will be a catalyst for positive developments in the broader region.

At the meeting, the two leaders agreed to expand their energy and business cooperation, most notably through their trilateral cooperation with Cyprus in delineating the Greece-Egypt Exclusive Economic Zones. The Egyptian president expressed hope that this will form a "nucleus for cooperation" throughout the region, while the Greek PM underlined that this cooperation takes place on the basis of international law so that "we can exploit our national wealth and proceed with initiatives for joint development", he said.

Ports, tourism and business were the three areas of entrepreneurial cooperation discussed at length at the bilateral talks. Tsipras said Athens is determined to pursue all aspects of energy exploitation and business cooperation, including those of Greek construction companies undertaking projects near the Suez Canal. The two sides also decided on information sharing in the effort to combat terrorism. 

The Egyptian leader also met with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion, where the latter referred to the exceptional trilateral cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, adding that this constitutes a model of cooperation as it fully respects international law, written and customary, noting that Turkey can learn a lot regarding its cooperation with Greece and Cyprus.

Tsipras and Sisi will be joined today by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades for a third round of talks, to be dominated by the exploitation of Mediterranean gas deposits and regional security.

12/09/2015 06:25 AM
European Capital of Culture 2021

Fourteen Greek cities rich in history, culture and stunning natural landscapes are bidding for the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2021, aiming to promote their cultural heritage and identity to Europe and the world: Piraeus, the historical port city within the greater Athens area; Kalamata, the beautiful city on the SW Peloponnesian coast, with its long history of cultural activities; Volos, the seafront city with a mythical past and famous home of the Argonauts; stunning Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, considered the centre of the world in antiquity, bringing its values from the navel of the earth to the heart of Europe; Corfu, with its rich multi-cultural heritage and glorious past, whose goal is to attract those creative industries that can provide a new platform for cultural growth and potential development; elegant and historic Mytilene (Lesvos), already honoured as Capital of Solidarity; Samos, with its rich ancient past, culture and beauty; Ioannina, with its wealth of attractions and museums, aiming to bring cumulative social and economic benefits to the whole region of Epirus; Larisa; Tripolis; Rhodes; Eleusis; Messolonghi; Salamina

The European Capital of Culture programme was initially conceived in 1983, by Greek actor Melina Mercouri, then serving as Minister of Culture. It was created in order to bring peoples of Europe closer together, enhancing cultural wealth of diversity, common aspects of European cultures and mutual understanding between European citizens. Three Greek cities have been European Capitals of Culture in the past: Athens in 1985, Thessaloniki in 1997 and Patras in 2006. One of the candidate Greek cities will host the institution in 2021, along with Romania and another city from a candidate or a potential candidate country for accession to the EU, which will be designated in 2017.

12/08/2015 10:23 AM
PM Confident on Gov't Performance

On a Monday (7.12) evening interview on public broadcaster ERT, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted that his government will prevail in tough negotiations with Greece’s creditors, called for a consensus on country’s major issues and dismissed the criticism against Greece over the refugee crisis.

In this first interview after the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government was re-elected to power in September, Mr. Tsipras argued that while the Greek government is implementing everything that it has agreed to with its lenders, rounding "several of the most difficult milestones" on the course to economic recovery, the refugee crisis has changed the agenda and a national policy is needed to address the dramatic crisis. Greece "is the last pillar if stability in the region" but the cost of the 24-hour management of the refugee flows is "massive" the PM said, stating that while Greece is scrutinized for not doing enough to curb the wave refugees, no counter-proposals are offered up and Frontex has yet to respond more adequately to certain Greek requests. 

Despite his government’s small majority in Parliament, Tsipras defended the Greek government’s viability and performance and appeared confident that he will be able to carry out what is required, refuting suggestions that he will have to seek backing from opposition parties to stay in power. The PM clarified that he wanted a dialogue with opposition parties that would result in a broad-based "consensus on critical issues", such as pension reform, the refugee crisis and a review of the constitution.

12/08/2015 08:52 AM
Opinion: A Post-Austerity Agenda for Growth in Greece

Economist Aristos Doxiadis, a venture capital professional and General Partner at Openfund, and Prof. Karl-Heinz Paqué, Professor of Economics and deputy Chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), argue that "public discourse on the crisis and on the adjustment programs should move beyond ideological conflict and national recriminations, and focus on the practical topics of growth policy". 

In their opinion analysis "Growth for Greece: Ten plus One Points for a Post-Austerity Agenda", the authors note that however inadequate they might have been, the adjustment programs that followed the balance of payments crisis in 2010 did actually contribute to growth of the economy and rise of employment and exports. 2014 figures showed that the GDP growth had resumed, while exports had grown by as much as 8% showing the first signs of recovery for the economy. However, the political uncertainty that prevailed towards the end of 2014 and during the first half of 2015 halted this course and a turbulent climate prevailed until the Greek government reached a new agreement with the EU institutions for a three-year program. 

For the first time since 2010, the large majority of the electorate generally supports the adjustment program and despite recent events, the GDP has been surprising resilient. Unfortunately, the fact that many in the governing coalition disagree strongly with the rationale of many of the reforms is threatening to political stability, while businesses and households are unable to pay all taxes and still even higher taxes have been planned. 

So the big question remains: how to achieve a fundamental structural change of the economy? The authors propose a set of reforms as the barebones of an appropriate reform agenda consisting on putting emphasis on the growth of SME’s, achieving a quick recapitalization of Greek banks, boosting current levels of exports of goods and services and effectively reforming the tax system to name a few. The most essential remains the cultivation and promotion of a new, growth-oriented mindset, a political and psychological task of utmost importance that will help transform Greece into a truly modern economy and society in a globalized setting.

12/08/2015 07:59 AM
Conference Calendar

Finance & Investments

The Equity Investment Forum 2015 (December 7-8)– organized by Athens Stock Exchange, Enterprise Greece, Hellenic Venture Capital Association, TANEO Fund and Praxis Network – kicked off yesterday in Athens, with discussions on the venture capital and private equity industries in South Eastern Europe. 

The Forum, which is supported by Enterprise Europe Network and the European Commission and is under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Economy, Development & Tourism, brings together more than 1,300 participants and is presenting more than 330 business plans by start-ups and enterprises in Greece, evaluated by Greek, Israeli and international venture capital funds. Israel is the honoured country in this year's Forum, one of the top technologically and investment-wise countries in the world. Speeches scheduled for the first day of the forum aimed to an understanding of what kind of investment opportunities attract investment funds, while private one-to-one meetings are expected to take place today, for those who have submitted a business proposal.

Gender Equality

A conference entitled "Women in politics and decision-making" is hosted today at the Secretariat General for Information & Communication (SGIC), organized by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (Ministry of Interior & Administrative Reconstruction) and the Embassy of Sweden in Greece.

SGIC is also representing Greece and co-organizing the International Development Cooperation meeting on Gender and Media taking place in Geneva (December 7-8) under the auspices of UNESCO and the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG). The meeting aims to give impetus to all stakeholders to work together to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women in and through media, including online.

Democracy & IT

The 6th International Conference on e-Democracy – organized by the Scientific Council for the Information Society (HSCIS) in co-operation with the Hellenic Data Protection Authority and a series of Greek and European Universities - will take place in Athens (December 10-11).

This year’s conference, which is supported by the Greek Ministry of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, focuses on the "Challenges for Citizen Rights in the World of the New Computing Paradigms". Among other issues, topics to be developed at the conference by the keynote speakers of the event - Steve Purser, Giovanni Butarelli and Peter Parycek – will be "Information security as a support for e-Democracy" and "Democracy in the Digital Age".

Tourism & Hotels

The 3rd edition of Business Travel Professionals Forum (BTPF), organized by Simple Way Of Tourism (SWOT) company under the auspices of Visit Greece organization and the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), will take place in Athens (December 10-11).

Following the first two successful events, the forum gives the opportunity to outside Attica area based hotels, interested for participation, to meet, introduce and above all create cooperation opportunities by communicating "face to face" with the key persons of the most important representatives from corporations and various travel companies (DMC’s, PCO’s, MICE, Business Travel & Wholesalers) who materialize corporate travels and events in Greece.

Food Science & Innovation

The 29th EFFoST International Conference, organized by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on behalf of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), will take place in Athens (December 10-12) under the theme "Food Science Research and Innovation: Delivering sustainable solutions to the global economy and society".

The conference provides a forum for the broader spectrum of food science research and innovation and will serve as a meeting point for an International audience of researchers, scientists, engineers, policy makers and professionals.

12/08/2015 07:41 AM
A New 'Diachronic' Museum in Larissa

The Diachronic Museum of Larissa was inaugurated on November 28, displaying the outstanding archaeological and byzantine finds from the Larissa area, from the Middle Palaeolithic to the late Byzantine times, including exceptional discoveries from the Neolithic period. 

The collections of the Archaeological Museum of Larissa - which were previously housed in an Islamic mosque constructed in the 19th century - are also housed in the new reconstructed museum. The collections include Palaeolithic fossils, Neolithic vases, figurines, tools, Bronze Age and Geometric vases, Archaic funerary finds from St George at Larissa, burial finds of the Classical period, architectural parts spanning the period from Archaic to Byzantine times, Hellenistic and Roman sculptures, as well as a Roman mosaic from Kalo Nero at Larissa. 

The initiative for the creation of a modern Archaeological- Byzantine museum in Larissa was undertaken by the first director of 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities, Mr. K. Gallis, around 1973 when the Municipality of Larissa ceded land to the Greek Ministry of Culture. In 1995 started the construction of the museum, which was realised in two phases 1995 - 1999 and 2002 - 2007 via EU funds. 

Watch videos: Diachronic Museum of Larissa promotion spot (in Greek) & Invisible World - maintenance work at the Diachronic Museum

12/07/2015 07:37 AM
Can Europe make it?

In his opinion article "The Eurozone crisis and the future of Europe, as viewed from Greece", Manos Matsaganis, Associate Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business, explains that the necessity of imposing austerity measures to combat the economic crisis in a country where prosperity does not seem to be returning anytime in the near future, has become a dire reality both for rulers and their voters. 

Matsaganis points out that many misconceptions still abound even about the basic facts of causes and implications related to the Greek economic crisis. At the same time, the need to clarify "what went wrong and why" is an even more urgent task in Greece, being far more affected by the European crisis than any other economy. 

Moreover, he assesses that while in Greece people’s immature perceptions about the country’s debt, "have been given a pseudo-intellectual patina by university professors who should have known better", the same thing can also be said of politicians in northern EU member states who labeled the Eurozone crisis "as if it were a simple story of lazy and corrupt southerners living beyond their means". In fact, politicians in northern Europe "never acknowledged nor explained to their voters that the European rescue of Greece was also, if not primarily, the rescue of over-exposed French and German banks by European taxpayers".

As for the economists, they "have not been of great help either in predicting the Great Recession, or in preventing the Eurozone crisis while many in the profession now accept that mainstream economics underestimated the destructive tendencies of unregulated finance". Finally, the author assesses that what is at stake today, is "our capacity to build a European economy that is dynamic as well as sustainable", and to accept our need to bring out Greece’s comparative advantages and upgrade the country’s productive capacities as a crucial step to safeguard the monetary union.

12/07/2015 06:47 AM
2016 State Budget Approved

Following a debate of five days in the Greek parliament, the 2016 budget was approved in the early hours of Sunday morning with a total of 153 SYRIZA- ANEL coalition MPs in favor of the budget plan, 145 opposition MPs against and two MPs being absent. 

The budget maintains a primary surplus target of 0.5% of GDP for 2016 and the government forecasts zero economic growth this year and a contraction of 0.7% in 2016 from a previous forecast of 2,3% and 1.3% decline, respectively. The budget also foresees privatization revenues of 1.9 billion euro, while public debt is projected to reach 187.8 % of GDP (from 180.2 percent in 2015) despite spending cuts of around 2 billion euro and additional taxation of citizens and businesses. 

During his speech at the Parliament, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras noted that the government’s agreement has secured partial restructuring of debt with a 1.3% interest rate covering the country’s needs until 2019 and an increase in the average maturity of loans to 33 years, adding that the discussion on the necessary debt reduction will start after the first evaluation of the program. 

Moreover, he defended the budget saying that - for the first time since the economic crisis hit Greece- the aim is to promote social justice in conditions of budgetary constraint and difficulty. "The 2016 budget proves our will and ability to lead a great and difficult social effort amid extremely difficult and adverse conditions" the Prime Minister said, adding that "behind the numbers, one can see the efforts made to support the labor forces and the most vulnerable social groups" and citing as examples of social policy 300 million euro earmarked for hospitals and 12 jobs programs offering short-term employment to 100,000 people.

12/07/2015 06:41 AM
Pyrforos, the Eco-friendly Car Inspired by Greek Mythology

Pyrforos, designed by a group of Greek students of Electrical and Computer Engineering School in the National Technical University of Athens - the Prometheus Team – is an experimental electric car, with extremely low energy requirements –thus, absolutely Eco-friendly.

The team was established in 2009 and has since participated successfully for seven years at the renowned European fuel saving contest Shell Eco-Marathon in the Netherlands.

In 2011, they built the 100% electric car "Pyrforos" (a name apparently inspired by Greek mythology and "Prometheus Pyrphoros", that is the Fire-Bringer). One of the team’s achievements was the acquirement of the "Best Team Spirit off-track award 2013" among more than 180 European contestants. The award was given to encourage and reward the Greek team spirit and hard work during the competition, as well as the assistance provided to other competing teams and the promotion of the Greek culture.
The vehicle gets adjusted every year to the safety requirements of the contest, while it simultaneously gets evolved and improved. In 2015, the team pioneered among other teams because they designed and built every single part of the car from scratch, without including any commercial parts. Furthermore, they created an innovative permanent magnet motor which proved to be advantageous. The car managed to run 487 km at the cost of one kWh beating its previous record. 

The team achieved to rank in the 10th place among 50 participating teams in the category Prototype Battery Electric Car and became the first Greek team in the top ten in its category.

See also: World's Greenest Car is Greek, Centaurus Racing, Eco Racer: The Greek Hydrogen Car, University of Patras Wins Int’l Competition & Sunnyclist Test Drive @ Santorini

Watch videos: Prometheus Research Team of National Technical University of Athens (in English), Pyrforos II design and construction|Prometheus Team-NTUA & NTUA Prometheus "Pyrforos II" motor Development

12/07/2015 06:17 AM
The Caravan Project: Another World is Here

In 2011, a team of artists and researchers began a journey across the country, aiming to bring to the forefront human stories that have the power to move, inspire and create spaces for self-reflection. The Caravan Project is a travelogue which began as a road trip in crisis-stricken Greece and evolved into an institution that captures the inspirational lives of unique individuals 

Equipped with two circular Mongolian tents (yurts) and a motor vehicle, the team stayed in various Greek towns, inviting locals to take part in a series of cultural and educational actions. 

Employing a variety of media, such as documentary, portrait photography, and narrative, they traveled from Pomakochoria in Northern Greece to Crete, from Kastellorizo to the Grammos mountain range, from Mani to Mount Athos, creating a small ark of human stories, inaugurating a creative dialogue on the meaning and the dynamics released from each story. 
"Our ultimate goal is to launch Another World is Here, an educational and cultural platform that will use The Caravan’s Project stories as a vibrant educational resource […] Ideally, we would like to offer alternatives to a monodimensional education system and bring people closer to the poetry and sensibility that such human stories emit", says the team, consisting of photographer/ cinematographer Stratis Vogiatzis, photographic artist Thekla Malamou and Alexandra Salimpa

The Caravan Project, funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, composes a mosaic of images, narratives and documentaries, calling attention to a different way of life than what is promoted by the media and shedding light on a land that continues to create, dream, and proclaim that "Another World Is Here". 

Watch: The Caravan Project – Another World is here

12/04/2015 01:17 PM
The Inner and Outer Landscapes of Irish and Greek Poets

The poetry symposium “The Inner and Outer Landscapes of Irish and Greek Poets”, organized by the University of Athens and the University of Lodz, will be held in Athens on the 4rth & 5th December.

The symposium is a part of the interdisciplinary project “The Greek Connection: Irish Poets and Contemporary Greece”, which aims at exploring the relations between contemporary Greece and Ireland. Spanning the domains of ecocriticism, translation studies, postcolonial theory and reception, the project reaches out into the disciplines of ecology, history, politics, sociology, and anthropology. Via literature it focuses on landscape, myth, tourism and travel, as well as historical and political issues in both countries.

The Athens symposium provides an opportunity for a meeting of Irish and Greek poets, scholars from different countries, and general public. Some of the visitors are established names, like Harry Clifton, Theo Dorgan, Paula Meehan, and some, like Leontia Flynn & Caitriona O’Reilly, are growing voices from the emerging generation of Irish poets. This pattern is matched with the Greek participants, where renowned poets Yiorgos Chouliaras, Liana Sakelliou, Nasos Vayenas & Haris Vlavianos, are joined by their younger colleagues like Anna Griva.

12/04/2015 09:49 AM
Greek Filmakers @ PriMed 2015

The 19th edition of the International Awards Festival for Mediterranean Documentary and Reportage (PriMed), organized by the Mediterranean Center for Audiovisual Communication (CMCA), will take place in Marseille, France, from December 5 to December 12, 2015. The festival is open to all authors, filmmakers, television bodies and production organizations who, through their programs or artistic activity, partake in cultural exchanges between countries of the Mediterranean basin in a wider sense, from the coasts of the Atlantic to the Black Sea.

The films to be shown at the festival deal with subjects related to the culture, heritage, history, societies and life of men and women of Mediterranean countries. For each edition of PriMed, two international juries are formed by TV professionals, film directors, producers and broadcasters from the Mediterranean to award the best documentaries. This year's awards committee received 348 entries from 18 countries, but only 24 of them were shortlisted as candidates for a prize.

Among them, four Greek filmmakers in three Prize Categories: George Avgeropoulos (with the documentary “Agora: from Democracy to the Market”) competing in the Mediterranean Issues category; Dimitris Koutsiampasakos (with the documentary “The Grocer”) competing in the Mediterranean Art Heritage and Cultures category; and Agnes Sklavou & Stelios Tatakis (with the documentary “Events in Phocaea 1914”) competing in the Mediterranean Memory category. 

12/04/2015 09:23 AM
After Cyprus, Kerry Visits Athens on a Broad Agenda

US Secretary of State John Kerry is on an official visit to Athens today (4.12) for talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, on a broad range of bilateral and regional issues.

Security in light of recent developments on the crisis in Syria and terrorist attacks in Europe, is expected be high on the agenda as well as the migrants and refugee crisis, Greece’s relations with Turkey and the Cyprus issue. Another major topic of discussion will be strategic energy cooperation, particularly regarding Europe’s gas supply and the progress in the construction of LNG shale gas terminal stations in Revythousa and Alexandroupoli and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) pipelines.

Kerry is coming to Athens after a one-day visit to Cyprus, yesterday (3.12), where he referred to “tangible progress" in terms of the Cyprus issue and that a solution was within reach, following separate meetings with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. Kerry noted that the international community has a responsibility to support a comprehensive and lasting solution for Cyprus, which will have an enormously positive impact on the island, it will lift up the entire region and it will serve as a model for other embattled countries.

12/04/2015 09:09 AM
Opinion: Schengen and EU Responsibilities on Refugee Crisis

According to Apostolis Fotiadis’ latest opinion piece, "Kicking Greece out of Schengen won’t stop the refugee crisis”, recent media reports that Greece might be facing suspension from the Schengen zone reveal a tendency of certain European officials to easily abdicating the EU’s responsibilities for the mishandling of the refugee crisis, by blaming Greece’s lax border controls for the influx of the refugees into central Europe. Fotiadis, a freelance journalist who writes for Inter Press Service from Athens, points out that while Greece is accused for delays, “the EU has for months been dragging its feet in providing support for overworked Greek border staff”. European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was critical of the snail-paced EU relocation system of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, which he estimated will take eight decades to complete at current rate.

In the meantime, Frontex is still issuing desperate requests to EU countries to chip in more officers to help with screening and registration. Moreover, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas stated that he “has been waiting in vain for the Eurodac machines required for taking fingerprints… And yet, between 25 October and 25 November, out of 45,000 people who arrived in hotspot areas, 43,500 were fingerprinted – mostly by national police officers working around the clock.”As Fotiadis notes, "blaming Greece for its ineffectiveness in relocating refugees is also much easier than admitting that the entire relocation system has collapsed before really finding its feet". He believes that the real problem lies behind the effort by European leaders to turn Greece into a kind of “population filter” while its northern and eastern partners in the EU are not willing to offer places to any more people.

Fotiadis warns that “cutting Greece loose from the principle of free movement would not directly alleviate the refugee flows moving towards central Europe”, but it will have a severe impact on the tourist industry that is vital to the Greek economy.

See also: "Fotiadis interview “Europe speculates on the refugee crisis"; "Greece asks EU for help with refugees following threats"

12/03/2015 08:52 AM
Culture Agenda

The Christmas Toy Factory at Technopolis

The fabulous Christmas Factory returns for the third consecutive year at Technopolis from November 27, 2015 to January 6, 2016. With new impressive decorations, interesting workshops, amazing games, delicious treats and numerous events, it aims to offer visitors an unforgettable experience, including Santa Claus and his cheerful elves that will be there to welcome all. 

Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy theatrical performances, choirs and ensembles, puppet shows, shadow theatre as well as traditional Christmas songs and dances by local groups. Visitors will have an up-close look at preparations for the making and distribution of presents to children. Visit the Christmas Factory and experience the magic of Christmas! Santa also asks his little friends to bring their old toys, books or clothes to The Christmas Factory so that he can give them out to children in need.

"In One Breath: Greece Under the Sea"

The Eugenides Foundation invites visitors on a journey into the magical world beneath the waves, revealed through stunning images by underwater photographer and diving instructor Stefanos Kontos. The exhibition “In One Breath: Greece Under the Sea,” consists of 30 photos printed on metal to create a 3D sensation.

The photographs are on display around the hall of the old planetarium, which has been transformed to recreate the sense of being underwater. The exhibition runs to December 31, 2015.

"Available Light" at Onassis Cultural Center

The Onassis Cultural Center presents "Available Light", a pivotal work of contemporary dance that was first staged in 1983 and was the vision of three legends of American minimalism: choreographer Lucinda Childs, composer John Adams and architect-set designer Frank Gehry.

The three artists will be in Athens from December 5-7 to recreate the legendary production, which reveals not only the individual artistry of its three creators but also the shared aesthetic that was common to their experimental approaches.

5th Greek Jazz Panorama

The 5th Greek Jazz Panorama dedicated to contemporary Greek jazz open its doors on December 4 for a three-day festival, also taking place at the Onassis Cultural Center.

This year’s event goes beyond presentation to actively encourage a fertile stylistic pluralism which combines the contemporary with the traditional to feed into the vivacity of the Greek jazz scene.

7th Greek Honey Festival

It’s all about the celebrated Greek honey, its byproducts and its uses at this year’s Greek Honey and Bee Products Festival, to take place December 4-6, 2015 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Neo Faliro. 

The Festival, taking place for the 7th year (since 2007), brings together more than 70 honey producers from around Greece and its islands, experts, chefs, amateurs, and connoisseurs for three days of events including seminars, honey tasting happenings, children’s shows, cooking, pastry-making, workshops as well as bee-keeping demonstrations.

12/03/2015 07:31 AM
Gov’t on Refugee Crisis and Schengen

The Greek government has repeatedly pointed out that the migrant and refugee crisis is a European issue that needs to be dealt with at European level. As the crisis continues to escalate, recent media stories have been reporting that Greece is being threatened by the EU with suspension from the Schengen Zone unless it overhauls its response to the migration crisis by mid-December.

Responding to the reports, the government admits it has come under pressure on the issue, but strongly rejects allegations of any threats at official level. 

According to a press statement issued yesterday, government spokesperson, Olga Gerovasili underlined that suspension has never been raised in the EU framework, noting her regret that certain circles within the EU insist on distorting reality, in the belief that Europe's future could be structured on phobic reflexes, fences and exclusion.

Noting that despite great difficulties, Greece has been fulfilling its European obligations, including the setting up of hotspots, accommodation centers and exercising effective border management, a fact very clearly acknowledged at the recent meeting of eight EU Member States in the margins of the EU-Turkey Summit. Meanwhile, Greece expects its European partners to fulfill their own commitments.

Alt. Minister for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas also acknowledged that Greece is under pressure from some European states that think it feasible to control inflows at sea borders. Adding that as long as Turkey does not put an end to people smugglers operating on its coastline, Athens could not stop boats loaded with refugees from landing on its islands in the Aegean Sea.

Read more from Greek News Agenda: A European Solution needed for the Refugee Issue

12/02/2015 03:11 PM
KEPE's Economic Outlook for Greece

The latest "Greek Economic Outlook" report by the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) offers an  optimistic forecast for Greece, anticipating the rate of recession for 2015 to drop to 0.3%, as a result of the 1% growth rate in the first half of the year. The country’s GDP however is expected to shrink by 1.3%., with the average rate of change of real GDP in the second half of 2015 at about -1.6% as compared to the same period last year.

The report includes sections on "Macroeconomic analysis and projections", "Public finance", "Human resources and social policies", "Development policies and sectors", and special articles on "The relationship between Tourism Receipts, Real Exchange Rate and Economic Growth in Greece", "Education and unemployment prospects across regions in Greece", and "Competitiveness of the Manufacturing Sector in the Eurozone countries, EU19". 

According to the publication’s editorial, measures that need to be taken for growth and recovery include: taxation increasing its base whilst reducing its intensity; curbing the out-migration of the country’s human capital and utilizing it; investment to finance new business ventures and technological upgrading of production facilities and service provision businesses. At the same time, sectors performing well in exports industries with comparative advantage should be preserved and bolstered with development laws, while the banking system needs to regain depositors trust flexibility to become once again a lever for economic development.

KEPE is the largest economics research institute in Greece. It focuses on applied research projects in regard to the Greek economy, and provides technical advice to the government and the country's regional authorities on economic and social policy issues. KEPE’s publications include Studies, Reports, Discussion Papers, Research collaborations, the Greek Economy monthly report and the four-monthly Greek Economic Outlook

Latest economic information on Greece: Hellenic Statistical Authority: The Greek Economy (Dec. 2015); Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research: Report on the Greek Economy (Nov. 2015)

12/02/2015 09:29 AM
Gov’t Sees Exit from Crisis in 2016 at AmCham Economy Conference

Addressing the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s 26th annual Greek Economy Conference in Athens yesterday (1.12), Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras noted that "2016 will be the year that will mark the “exit from the crisis” and “consolidate the long-term political, economic and social stability in our country”.

Promising that in the new year the government will implement its plan for “growth and restoration of social justice which will be directed as a priority to the most disadvantaged social groups”, Tsipras also argued that for the debate on Greek debt restructuring to start, the country must wrap up its programme review which is why the government’s goal is to complete it as soon as possible. This goal is achievable, said the PM, noting that it would be easier if all political parties agreed on these issues.

Speaking at the same conference, Economy Minister George Stathakis argued Greece could exit the crisis next year and the economy will return to positive growth rates sooner than expected, before the end of the first half of 2016. "Greece could become a pole of stability and growth" Stathakis said, adding that a successful completion of the bank recapitalization plan and the first review of the Greek adjustment programme in December, along with a series of planned reforms, will bring stability and prospect back to the economy, allowing the government to present a new growth model by May 2016.

A day earlier (30.11) Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told conference participants that the issue of the Greek state debt will have to be resolved by the end of March, to remove financial uncertainty and enable the government to present its growth plan and its strategy to pass from a vicious circle to a virtuous circle. The minister stressed that that Greek debt sustainability was the key to liberating the economy and restoring confidence among depositors, companies and investors. He also warned creditor countries against "kicking the can down the road" again, because without a clear pathway for Greece the eurozone uncertainty will not disappear, hurting consumer spending and foreign investment.