The Library of Alexandria that has been dominating the city of Alexander the Great and Konstantinos Kavafis since October 2002, constitutes one of the greatest lighthouses of culture and knowledge in the world as well as one of the greatest centres of dialogue among populations, honouring its founders and above all the spirit of the Ancient Greek Culture.
The modern Library of Alexandria is not simply a state of the art, rich in books and electronic files library, but also an integral and hyperactive cultural organisation! It already includes three museums, four exhibition centres, seven research institutes, a planetarium and a laboratory for the childrens acquaintance with art and science. Conferences, lectures and cultural events are scheduled almost daily and the interior as well as the exterior of the Library are full of young people and visitors from all over the world.
All the Egyptians, especially the President of Egypt, Mr Hosni Mubarak and his wife, Suzanne, Chair of The Board of Trustees of the Library, are particularly proud of Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the entire intellectual world actually bows before it.
The vision for the reconstruction of the Ancient Library of Alexandria is now a fact, thanks to the persistence and the determination of the Egyptian government, the touching activation and the multidimensional contribution by many populations included the Greek one-, international organisations- mainly UNESCO-, and personalities from all over the world.
The Minister of Culture of Greece of that period, the unforgettable Melina Merkouri participated in the first committee established for the foundation of the Library of Alexandria; the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Marianna V. Vardinoyannis who is an active member of the Advisory Board of the Library also participated in the first Board of Trustees of the new Library. Furthermore, the Greek “Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina” actively helped its reconstruction, and they continue their action on the spread of its work.
From the initial idea till its implementation, the reconstruction of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, its organisation and Statutes are exclusively inspired and based on the universal role the legendary ancient Library of Alexandria had 2300 years ago and for 7 consecutive centuries. The implementation of this inspired project, under the auspices of UNESCO along with the contribution of countries and personalities from all around the globe, testify its indisputable universality. This is symbolically indicated by the impressive granite exterior surface of the Library, on which the letters of all the alphabets of the world have been engraved; this has already become a landmark of the city of Alexandria.
The vision of its founders was that the Library of Alexandria be the new Lighthouse of knowledge and science, the world’s window on Egypt, Egypts window on the world, an instrument for rising to the challenges of the digital age and the centre for dialogue between people and civilisations; all studies for the construction and organisation of the Library were based on this vision of universal character. Finally, the fact that the Board of Trustees of the Library, the body which decides on the policy and planning of the programme, is constituted by personalities of international prestige, Egyptians or not, ensures its universality.
The current Greek presence is evident in any dimension. First of all, the name of Bibliotheca Alexandrina is composed by a glorious Greek name and a Greek word. Secondly, it is located on the place of the ancient one, so that its history and its universal role remain indelible in the memory of scientists, academics as well as simple people from around the world. It is not possible to speak of the modern Library of Alexandria without referring to the ancient one, the legendary Library which was born and functioned for seven entire centuries, thanks to the spirit, vision, imagination, insight, will and creativity of Greek people. It is not possible to refer to the Library of Alexandria without seeking, remembering, commenting and admiring the inspired work of Greek culture; the first and unique centre of concentrated global knowledge in the history of humanity, where the bases of mechanics, astronomy, mathematics and geography were placed. Moreover, modern Greece and modern Greeks also contributed and keep on contributing to the Library of Alexandria.
In particular, apart from her action as a member of the Board of Trustees till 2008, and then onwards as a member of the Advisory Board of the Library, the President of the Foundation for the Child and Family, Ms Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, has also taken on many initiatives concerning the promotion of the work of the Library, offered many sponsorships, organised three lectures by the Director of Library, Dr Ismail Serageldin, in Greece, aiming at informing the Greek public about the work carried out in the New Library of Alexandria. She has also supported the foundation of the International Institute for Peace Studies which has operated in the Library since 2006; along with the Chairman of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, Mr Antonis Papadimitriou, they have financed the foundation of the Centre for Hellenistic Studies in the Library, etc.