A new momentum in Greece-China cultural relations

A new momentum in Greece-China cultural relations

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Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Ms Lydia Koniordou concluded, on 24 September 2017, an official visit to China (Shanghai, Dunhuang, Beijing, 17-24 September, 2017), which yielded significant results, creating a new momentum for the future.

Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Ms Lydia Koniordou concluded, on 24 September 2017, an official visit to China (Shanghai, Dunhuang, Beijing, 17-24 September, 2017), which yielded significant results, creating a new momentum for the future.

Ms Koniordou, signed with her Chinese counterpart, Luo Shugang, a “Memorandum of Cooperation for the joint organization of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between Greece and China”. “What we are experiencing in China is remarkable: the warmth that surrounds us and the Chinese people’s interest in Greek culture is touching. Because they see in Greece a great civilization comparable to their own ancient civilization. We believe that the dialogue between these two cultures will yield great results for both countries”, noted the Minister.

The two sides expressed their mutual desire to continue the successful cooperation and to set up a five-year action plan and partnerships that will allow the two countries to broaden their relations. “The Memorandum of Cooperation is not just for the current year; it was a common desire to extend it to 2018. Not only that, but to carry on in the years to come, which shows how important the cooperation and exchange between two countries with such important and ancient civilizations is” explained the Minister.

In addition to cultural exchanges, Koniordou and Luo agreed to tap into the new momentum created by the One Belt One Road initiative in culture. The Greek initiative Ancient Civilizations Forum, where China plays a major role, works in the same direction.

Artistic education and know-how in the field of archaeological research and conservation
The Minister met with the Director of the Dunhuang Academy, given the latter’s expertise in archaeological conservation and research. During the meeting, the two officials discussed the possibilities for exchanges of exhibitions and the promotion of collaboration between conservators, the development of joint projects, educational exchanges and the organization of a conference. Ms Koniordou was the keynote speaker at the launch of the “2nd Silk Road Culture Expo” in the historic city of Dunhuang, on the Silk Road. Her address, which received a very warm welcome, centred on the year of cultural exchanges between Greece and China as a model of cultural cooperation.

Creation of a Greek Theatre Research Center at the Shanghai Theatre Academy
During her visit to Shanghai, the Culture Minister inaugurated the Greek Theatre Research Center, as part of the Shanghai Academy of Theatres (STA). Earlier, the Minister had met with the Academy’s administration, namely with President Lou Wei, Vice President Gong Baorong and teaching staff. At the meeting, the Minister noted that she would seek the strengthening of exchanges of teaching staff and students between STA and the network of ancient drama in Greece, i.e. the Epidaurus Lyceum, the International Workshop of Ancient Drama in Delphi, the Attic School of Ancient Drama in Elefsina and the State Theatre of Northern Greece. She also expressed her wish for theatre exchanges between the Greek Festival and the Shanghai International Arts Festival taking place every October. She further underlined the emphasis placed by the Greek side on translations, especially of contemporary plays, under a related Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the two countries and expressed support for the exchange of theatre directors in order to realize mixed productions. In addition, she analyzed the theatrical tradition of the two countries as well as the prospects for future cooperation.

An International Ancient Drama Network
In Beijing, the Minister gave a lecture on Ancient Drama in the amphitheatre of the famous Theatre Academy of the Chinese capital and discussed with the Academy's Director the prospect of exchanges and collaborations in the field of drama education, especially in the context of the newly established International Ancient Drama Network.

Memorandum of Understanding between the National Theatres of Greece and China
In Beijing, Ms Lydia Koniordou met with Zhou Yuyuan, President of China’s National Theatre with whom she signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Theatres of Greece and China to take effect in 2018. In addition, they decided to extend the collaboration of the two theatres through a five-year joint action plan.

Panorama of Greek Cinema in Beijing
During her stay in Beijing, the Culture Minister inaugurated a “Tribute to Modern Greek Cinema”, the first to be held in China. The Greek film week was launched with the award-winning film “Little England”, by director Pantelis Voulgaris. The Panorama of Greek Cinema in Beijing is the beginning of a long collaboration between the two countries in the field of production, coproduction and distribution of films. Lydia Koniordou also met with the deputy director of the Forbidden City Palace Museum, with whom she discussed the possibility of exchanging exhibitions.

Opening of the exhibition “The Body-The Soul-The Place. Contemporary Greek Artists”
A special exhibition titled “The Body-The Soul-The Place. Contemporary Greek Artists”, by the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art, is being hosted, from 24 September, at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), as part of the 7th Beijing Biennale of Contemporary Art (24/9 -15/10/2017). The exhibition was inaugurated by the Minister of Culture and Sports Ms Lydia Koniordou on 24 September. Ms Koniordou was the keynote speaker – and the sole foreign speaker – at the exhibition and a guest of honour at the event. Ms Maria Tsansanoglou, director of the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art, and Syrago Tsiara, director of the Center for Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki, are the exhibition’s curators.

International Forum on the Protection of Ancient Civilizations
The General Secretary of the Greek Culture Ministry, Ms Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki was the keynote speaker at the plenary session of the “Forum on Protecting the World’s Ancient Civilizations” (19-21 September, 2017) that was held in The Forbidden City at the initiative of the Palace Museum and its General Director, Dr. Shan. Ms Vlazaki made a comprehensive presentation of the interventions of the Greek Archaeological Service in various archaeological sites, of new findings as well as new ways of conservation. More than 80 delegates participated at the forum; their papers offering a panoramic view of developments around the world with respect to conservation, preservation, and showcasing as well as on ideas concerning the importance and relevance of ancient cultures in modern life. Various roundtable discussions were held in the framework of the Forum, in which both the General Secretary of the Culture Ministry and the President of the Acropolis Museum, Dr Dimitrios Pantermalis, participated. The latter, in his speech, expanded on the topic of “Preserving and highlighting the exhibits of the Acropolis Museum in new ways and approaches”. In addition, in his capacity as President of the Acropolis Museum, he signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Forbidden City Palace Museum and the Acropolis Museum.