CULTURE

Symposium in Rhodes: International cooperation to protect world heritage

It was about time Rhodes recovered its former self after the excesses by hot-headed young foreigners in Faliraki, whose drunken antics eventually cost the life of a young Briton. The British tabloid press and television camera crews which flocked to the resort at the end of August would do well to have gone back for the seventh International Symposium of the World Heritage Cities Organization, held in cooperation with the municipality of Rhodes under the auspices of UNESCO, the Greek Foreign Ministry and the Cultural Olympiad. Mayors and other city representatives took part in the symposium from September 24-26, with proceedings being opened by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni, who delivered a message from UNESCO General Director Koichiro Matsuura, emphasized the importance of protecting the world’s heritage, not by remaining in the past but with new values and developments in modern cities. «The most important message for humanity,» she said, «which changes the way we see things in the world, has always been based on the concepts of mutual respect and collective conscience, and has become a symbol for youth.» The panel included the founder of the World Heritage Cities Organization and Quebec Mayor Jean-Paul Laller; Margaret Delisle, who is a member of Parliament in Quebec; Dodecanese prefect Yiannis Mahairidis and Rhodes Mayor Giorgos Yiannopoulos. The stage was decorated with olive branches, symbolizing world peace.