Declaration in support of Eleusis’ candidacy for European Capital of Culture 2021
As we drive down Hierá Hodós (the ancient Sacred Way) towards Eleusis, we may possibly not realize that we are on the oldest road of the European civilization. It is the same road often followed by the poet Sikelianos “to milk life from the outside world”, as he writes in his poem “The Sacred Way”.
Since the dawn of time, when King Erechtheus of Athens defeated King Eumolpus of Eleusis, Eleusis has been supporting the operation and the growth of Athens, initially through its agricultural production and, as of the 20th century, it has been supporting the economic growth of the entire Greece through its industrial production.
Even though the city of Eleusis is very important both historically and culturally, most Greeks identify it with industrial activities and environmental pollution. Indeed, for decades, the greater area of Eleusis (the so called Thriasian Plain), has been home to the largest part of the country’s industrial activities.
However, how many of us have realized that Eleusis was for Ancient Greece what the Holy Land is today for Christianity, Jerusalem for Judaism and Mecca for Islam?
How many have visited its wonderful archaeological site and its acropolis, the sole acropolis in Attica region apart from the one in Athens? How many know that Eleusis is where the graves of the “Seven against Thebes” are located? How many know that Aeschylus and Cynaegirus were brothers and that they were born in Eleusis? How many know that the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian had been initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries?
Even when it comes to more contemporary history, how many of us know that this is where Commander in Chief Karaiskakis created the so called “Eleusis camp”, from where he commanded the siege of Athens, during the Independence War in 1821? And how many remember that the hero Vassilios Laskos wrote one of the most glorious pages in the history of the Greek Navy in World War II?
How many know that Eleusis was home to the first Greek soap industries, cement industries, ship yards and steel plants, which together form a unique group of industrial archaeology and urban development monuments?
This combination of historic and cultural tradition combined with the contemporary significant contribution to the Greek economy is what makes unique the candidacy of Eleusis for European Capital of Culture 2021.
Through Eleusis’ candidacy, we send out a global cultural message. This message is linked to three ideas.
Firstly, the idea of “euphoria”, the primary relationship between humans and nature; a relationship of life and death but also a relationship of rebirth. We follow Persephone’s descent into the Underworld as well as her ascent back on Earth, bringing back life with her. So, EUphoria (from the Greek words ευ and φέρω, meaning “well” and “carry”) because Eleusis is a worthy carrier of the real, primordial message of life throughout Europe.
Secondly, the idea of democracy and the citizen, as expressed through Greek tragedies. Aeschylos from Eleusis defines the essence of the rational political speech and highlights the triumph of human civil justice. Eleusis has been standing there for centuries, reminding the entire Western civilization these fundamental values. Even in modern times, through the events named Aischylia, Eleusis continues to share the heritage of the famous tragic poet.
Last but not least, the idea of modern challenges. Eleusis’ candidacy combines history and culture, bringing on board at the same time challenges, which are similar to the ones of Europe’s modern history. Such challenges include integration of refugees from Asia Minor, fast urbanization next to industrial activities, the balance between economic growth and environment, the concerns and efforts of workers to survive, to create, to improve their living standards, along with all workers in Greece and in Europe.
Therefore, Eleusis’ candidacy to become the European Capital of Culture for 2021, does not represent a candidacy of local nature. On the contrary, it combines all those cultural characteristics that actually make it a candidacy of Greece, Hellenism, modern Europe and global human values.
We, as active Greek citizens, support Eleusis’ candidacy to become the European Capital of Culture in 2021. And we do so because this historic city is struggling to recover its historic role and upgrade its standard of living, based not only on its long contribution to Greece’s modern economy but also on its contribution to culture.
Today, it is our turn, the turn of citizens from Athens, Piraeus, Attica, Greece and Europe in general, to reciprocate and support by all means its candidacy.
Because Greece’s EUphoria passes through Eleusis…
|Simos||Anastasopoulos||President, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce|
|Nikos||Arkadopoulos||Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian Univesity of Athens|
|Evaggelia||Bafouni||Historian, Director of Culture Department in the Municipality of Piraeus|
|Stathis||Birtachas||Assistant Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki|
|Giorgos||Charonis||Chairman of BoD, Medical Institute of Ophthalmology “Athens Vision”|
|Feni||Chatziathanasiadou||Lawyer, President of the Association of Friends of Zappeion|
|Emilios||Chilakis||Actor – Theater Director|
|Giorgos||Christidis||Assistant Professor, University of Macedonia|
|Stalo||Christodoulidou||Director of Nephrology Clinic of “Evangelismos”|
|Giorgos||Chronas||Poet – Publisher|
|Nassos||Dedes||CEO, LYDA SA|
|Thanos||Dokos||Managing Director of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)|
|Panagiotis||Doukellis||Professor, University of Panteion|
|Rena||Dourou||Governor of Attica Region|
|Stathis||Efthimopoulos||Professor, Medical Department, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Marina||Eleftheriadou||PhD in International Relations, University of Peloponnese|
|Efstathios||Fakiolas||Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Constantinos||Filis||Director of Research, Institute of International Relations|
|Areti||Georgili||CEO, concept bookshop “Free Thinking Zone”|
|Christina||Giovani||Financial Sector Executive|
|Andreas||Gofas||Assistant Professor, University of Panteion|
|Asteris||Huliaras||Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Mary||Iliadi||PhD in Theatre Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Nikos||Iliopoulos||President, Federation Operators, Drivers & Drillers of Greece|
|Dimitris||Ioannidis||Architect, Coordinator of NGO “Zagoristas”|
|Paraskevi||Kalamara||Curator of Antiquities of Evia County|
|Stathis||Kalyvas||Professor of Political Science , Yale University|
|Georgios||Kaminis||Mayor of Athens|
|Chara||Karagiannopoulou||Assistant Professor, University of Panteion|
|Anna||Karakatsouli||Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Nafsika||Karakatsouli||Assistant Professor, Agricultural University of Athens|
|Nikos||Karathanos||Actor – Film Director|
|Vassilis||Karayannis||Business and Management Advisor|
|Olga||Katsiardi-Hering||Professor , National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Nellie||Katsou||CEO, Pharmathen SA|
|Vassilis||Korkidis||President, Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) & President, Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.|
|Vassilis||Koromantzos||Lawyer, Head of the faction “180 degrees, Attica changing face” of the Regional Council of Attica|
|Katerina||Kouka||Musician – Actor|
|Filippos||Koutsaftis||Film Director – Photography Director|
|Vassilis||Koutsavlis||President, Friends of Tatoi Estate|
|Nikitas||Koutsoukis||Associate Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Athena||Kritikou||President, Association of Social Responsibility for Children and Youth (SKEP)|
|Vassiliki||Lalagianni||Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Constantinos||Lambrinopoulos||President, Hellenic Management Association (EEDE)|
|Epaminondas||Laskos||Chemical Engineer, representative of the historical Eleusinian family Laskos|
|Vagelis||Liggos||President of Western Attica Trade Unions|
|Costas||Manthos||Professor of Sailing , Skipper of Sailing Racing boat “ERYTOS II”|
|Nikos||Meletiou||Mayor of municipality of Aspropyrgos|
|Nikos||Melios||Historian , Economist|
|Michalis||Mersinis||J.D. Lawyer, Legal Department of the Hellenic Capital Market Commision|
|Sotiris||Methenitis||Mayor of municipality of Markopoulo-Mesogaias|
|Artemios||Miropoulos||Author, CEO LINKAGE GREECE|
|Electra||Nicolaidou||Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Nikos||Orfanos||Actor – Film Director|
|Nelly||Papachelas||Chairwoman of City Council of municipality of Athens|
|Dimitris||Papadimitriou||Professor of Politics, University of Manchester, Director of the Manchester Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (JMCE)|
|Aris||Papadopoulos||Banking Sector Executive, President of the Alumni Association of Athens College|
|Apostolos||Papadopoulos||Professor, Harokopio University|
|Maria||Papathanasiou||Assistant Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Manos||Papazoglou||Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Elisavet||Paraskeva-Gizi||PhD in International Relations, Panteion University|
|Dimitris||Pavlopoulos||Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Stelios||Pirpinias||Banking Sector Executive|
|Socrates||Ploussas||President of the BoD, Hellenic Startup Association|
|Ioannis||Psychogios||Managing Director of Group Oil Supply, Refining and Sales of the Hellenic Petroleum Group (HELPE)|
|Konstantinos||Raptis||Assistant Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Irene||Rigopoulou||Professor, Athens University of Economics|
|Sotitis||Roussos||Associate Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Dimitris||Rozakis||Lecturer, University of Peloponnese|
|Aris||Sarafianos||Assistant Professor, University of Ioannina|
|Ioannis||Sgouros||First Vice-President of the Association of Regions of Greece – Head of the main opposition of the Regional Council of Attica|
|Eleni||Skondra||Coach & Mentor of young enterpreneurs|
|Vasilis||Sotiropoulos||Lawyer, Ombudsman of Attica region|
|Angeliki||Spyropoulou||Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Eva||Stefani||Film Director, Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Anna||Tabaki||Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Vassilis||Tarlow||Film Director – Actor|
|Ilias||Tasopoulos||PhD in International Relations, University of Peloponnese|
|Chrysanthos||Tassis||Lecturer, Democritus University of Thrace|
|Maria||Tsakos||Legal Advisor, Founder of Amagi Radio|
|Athanasios||Tsantilas||CEO of Energy Company – Group|
|Michalis||Tsaoutos||CEO of Export Company|
|Nikos||Tzifakis||Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese|
|Sotiris||Vandoros||Lecturer, University of Peloponnese|
|Gogo||Vartzelioti||Assistant Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Giannis||Vassiliou||Deputy Head of Western Attica sub-region|
|Thanos||Veremis||Professor Emeritus, University of Athens & Vice-President, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)|
|Angelos||Vlachos||PhD in History, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens|
|Mixalis||Vlastarakis||Banking Sector Executive|
|Pantelis||Xyridakis||Mayor of municipality of Filothei-Psychiko|
|Yannis||Yannitsiotis||Assistant Professor, University of the Aegean|
|Costas||Yfantis||Associate Professor, Panteion University|
|Amalia||Zeppou||Vice Mayor for civil society , Municipality of Athens|