On Tuesday, 27 August 2019, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, and the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Hellenistic Studies, Dr. Mostafa El Feki, met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos, at the Presidential Mansion.
Mrs Vardinoyannis and Dr El Feki briefed the President of the Republic in detail about the operation of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies, which was founded in 2008 at the initiative of Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis in order to offer the opportunity to young men and women from across the world to study the achievements of Hellenistic Alexandria.
“I welcome you to the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic. For us Greeks, the New Library of Alexandria constitutes an extension and a symbol of the spirit of the emblematic Ancient Library of Alexandria, which used to serve as a second Lighthouse of Alexandria, as a beacon of Intellect and Culture that shined its light across the known world of its era. Therefore, the New Bibliotheca Alexandrina can and must contribute to the progress of our Civilisation, and in particular as a center for the dialogue of Cultures. We all realise how necessary this Dialogue is during our troubled times, especially in the defence of Peace, Democracy and Justice, essentially of Man himself. Also, and in your capacity as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Hellenistic Studies of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, I would like to assure you of the enormous importance this Center has for Greece. At this point I need, once again, to praise the work of the Founder of the Center and my friend, Mrs Marianna Vardinoyannis. Dear Marianna, we are all proud of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies, this magnificent creation of yours, which has already established itself as an invaluable component of Greek Intellect and Greek Culture,” noted the President of the Hellenic Republic during the meeting, and he further congratulated Mrs Vardinoyannis on recently being name the Honorary President of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies.
Dr Mostafa El Feki, for his part, underlined: “Mr President, we are truly grateful for this meeting with you. I am here in both my capacities, as Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Hellenistic Studies. We feel that the situation here is very good for us. Greece is the country that is closer to Egypt than any other, not only culturally, but also physically and geographically. For all these reasons we would like to sincerely thank you, especially for our close collaboration under the auspices of Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, who has truly helped us enormously. In the framework of this international collaboration, we have already done a lot in our Center, and we hope that the reorganisation of Alexandria which the President of Egypt has launched will be completed. We are thus thinking of using a palace, and specifically the Antoniadis Mansion, build over 100 years ago in Alexandria, potentially to house the headquarters of the Center for the Dialogue of Cultures. If we are successful in this endeavour, then naturally the two pillars of this dialogue will be Greece and Egypt. Also, next week, a meeting will take place with government officials and officials from the district of Alexandria, who will discuss how to further activate the spirit of Greece, because you should know that Greece is always very welcome in our country, as we all remember the contribution of Greeks to our country and what they have done for us. Of course, I would like to thank Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis for her work and her exceptional collaboration. She is always there for us and we consider her a great supporter of both Greece and Egypt, as well as of humanity in general. She has dedicated her life to the noble purpose of promoting culture and international collaboration. We consider her a great friend and also a guardian angel of the two countries.”
“As a Greek,
but also as a citizen of the world, I am proud of the mark that Hellenistic
Alexandria has made on the history of mankind. I feel special honour and
joy in the fact that my family, through the Alexandria Center for
Hellenistic Studies, was able to contribute, thus allowing young people
from across the world to study the achievements of Hellenistic Alexandria and
make this important part of Ancient Greek Civilisation even better known
across the world. Our Foundation established the Alexandria Center
for Hellenistic Studies in 2008 following my request to the Chairman and
Members of the Board of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in which I have been
participating since 1998.
Students from across the world come to study at the Center – from Egypt, Europe and the Middle East – towards a Degree or a Master’s Degree and, starting this year, a PhD.
Ninety-one students have attended over the past 5 years, and we have also organised a number of events, further strengthening the ties of friendship between Greece and Egypt. The most recent event was the celebration of the Center’s 10th anniversary, held in the main hall of the Academy of Athens last year in December, where the volume of the minutes of the Hellenistic Conference we had organised earlier was presented. The celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Center will also be held in Egypt on Monday, 21 October 2019, and will be attended by prominent international figures. And to this end, Mr President, we would like to extend our invitation to you. Your presence would be a great honour for us and a way to thank you for your collaboration.Every time I visit Alexandria or Cairo, I truly feel like I am home,” Mrs Vardinoyannis concluded.
It is worth noting that the meeting of the members of the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was held on Monday, 26 August, in Athens. During the meeting, attended by the Director of the Library, Dr Mostafa El Feki, and the Ambassador of Egypt, Mr Mohamed Farid Monib, an assessment was made of the work realised to date, and the next steps and goals of the Center for the coming period were laid out.