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…

Christos Dimas
Director

Vassilis Karayannis
Business Consultant

Sotiris Roussos
Associate Professor
International Relations

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Alexandra Aidini Actor
Simos Anastasopoulos President, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
Giorgos Argyroiliopoulos Photography Director
Annita Argyroiliopoulou Visual Artist
Nikos Arkadopoulos Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian Univesity of Athens
Betty Arvaniti Actor
Thodoris Atheridis Actor
Evaggelia Bafouni Historian, Director of Culture Department in the Municipality of Piraeus
Themis Bazaka Actor
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”
Greta Christofilopoulou Journalist, Author
Giorgos Chronas Poet – Publisher
Antonis Daglidis Set Designer
Nassos Dedes CEO, LYDA SA
Christos Dimas Film Director
Venia Dimitrakopoulou Sculptor
Thanos Dokos Managing Director of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
Panagiotis Doukellis Professor, University of Panteion
Petros Doumas Gallery “Technochoros”
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
Katerina Evagelakou Film Director
Efstathios Fakiolas Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese
Grigoris Farmakis Entepreneur
Yiota Festa Actor
Virginia Filippousi Visual Artist
Constantinos Filis Director of Research, Institute of International Relations
Dimitris Fyssas Writer, Journalist
Vassos Georgas Publisher Distributor
Areti Georgili CEO, concept bookshop “Free Thinking Zone”
Christina Giovani Financial Sector Executive
Andreas Gofas Assistant Professor, University of Panteion
Olga Goulandris Visual Artist
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 Imelos Actor
Dimitris Ioannidis Architect, Coordinator of NGO “Zagoristas”
Paraskevi Kalamara Curator of Antiquities of Evia County
Panayiotis Kalatzopoulos Musician
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
Themis Karamouratidis Musician
Nikos Karathanos Actor – Film Director
Vassilis Karayannis Business and Management Advisor
Smaragda Karydi Actor
Olga Katsiardi-Hering Professor , National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Nellie Katsou CEO, Pharmathen SA
Panos Kokkinopoulos Film Director
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
Eni Koukoula Photographer
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)
Nikos Kypourgos Musician
 Evangelos Kyriakidis Lecture
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
Stelios Mainas Actor
Spyros Mallis Journalist
Ilias Mamalis Partner, VERALLIS
Katerina Manou CEO, Regus
Margarita Manta Film Director
Costas Manthos Professor of Sailing , Skipper of Sailing Racing boat “ERYTOS II”
Dimitris Mavrikios Film Director
Athena Maximou Actor
Nikos Meletiou Mayor of municipality of Aspropyrgos
Nikos Melios Historian , Economist
Nena Menti Actor
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
Konstantinos Moriatis Film Producer
Thomas Moschopoulos Film Director
Fanis Mouratidis Actor
Panos Mouzourakis Musician
Giorgos Nanouris Actor
Electra Nicolaidou Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Nikos Orfanos Actor – Film Director
Themis Panou Actor
Anna Maria Papacharalambous Actor
Nelly Papachelas Chairwoman of City Council of municipality of Athens
Geuso Papadaki Visual Artist
Katerina Papadaki Actor
Dimitris Papadimitriou Professor of Politics, University of Manchester, Director of the Manchester Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (JMCE)
Mania Papadimitriou Actor
Aris Papadopoulos Banking Sector Executive, President of the Alumni Association of Athens College
Apostolos Papadopoulos Professor, Harokopio University
Thodoris Papadoukakis Film Director
Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos Actor
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
Vassilis Poulantzas Theater Producer
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
Andreas Simonetatos Businessman
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
Leonidas Stergiou Journalist
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
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Iassonas Triantafyllidis Journalist
Maria Tsakos Legal Advisor, Founder of Amagi Radio
Athanasios Tsantilas CEO of Energy Company – Group
Michalis Tsaoutos CEO of Export Company
Takis Tzamargias Film Director
Nikos Tzifakis Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese
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Pantelis Valassopoulos Journalist
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
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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