Hellenic Foundation for Culture board resigns

Greek Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos on Wednesday accepted a collective resignation tendered by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture?s board of directors on the same day. The foundation was established as a vehicle for the promotion of Greek culture and the Greek language 20 years ago, having been initiated by late Greek Prime Minister and President Constantine Karamanlis.

In their resignation letter, the board members noted that the institution was unable to carry on due to the insufficiency of the 1.4-million-euro budget allocated by the ministry, as it would require the sum of 2.5 million for its local and international operations. The board further noted that the ministry had failed to express any willingness to work together with the board in view of coming up with a viable solution. As a result, its members were no longer willing to take part in ?Greece?s humiliation abroad.?

Reacting to the board?s resignation, Geroulanos issued a statement criticizing its members for their inability to adjust to the country?s current financial environment. He noted that lower budgets applied to all, while he underlined that ?many of our institutions, despite all the problems, are going through one of their most creative periods.?

The minister also stated that the foundation?s budget was set at 1.8 million euros for the current year and added that the appointment of new board members would coincide with a much needed redefinition of the organization?s scope with regard to the promotion of Greek culture.

The Hellenic Foundation for Culture?s outgoing board members are Professor Georgios Babiniotis (president), Professor Konstantinos Svolopoulos (vice president), Professor Michael Dermitzakis (treasurer) as well as author and theater critic Costas Georgousopoulos, stage director Spyros Evangelatos, Professor Spyridon Flogaitis, Professor Michalis Kopidakis, Greek National Gallery director Marina-Lambraki-Plaka, Professor Vassilis Lambrinoudakis, Professor Eleni Politou-Marmarinou and architect Konstantinos Staikos.

On Thursday, Babiniotis responded to Geroulanos with a new statement, noting that the foundation?s board members had repeatedly tried to meet and have a meaningful discussion with the culture minister, but to on avail. He added that besides the financial strain placed on the foundation, it was the contempt with which it was being treated by the state that led to the board?s resignation.

The foundation?s branches are located in Alexandria, Odessa and Berlin, while offices also operate in Bucharest, Sofia, Tirana, Belgrade, Trieste and Melbourne.

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