‘Lights of knowledge’ honored at Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace’s Great Hall was the setting for a gathering this week of distinguished individuals who have made a contribution to science and the arts, the country and its ancient heritage, sports and the Olympic ideal. President Costis Stephanopoulos presented the medals of the Hellenic Republic to 14 Greeks and one foreigner, Canadian Senator Shirley Maheu, who was not able to attend. Nor was Professor Georgios Koumandos, who was made Commander of the Order of the Phoenix. The president paid tribute to Maheu, awarded the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor for her contribution to the campaign to bring the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece. The award ceremony began with the Bishop of Pergamos Ioannis Zizioulas, a former president of the Athens Academy and an Athens University professor. Then came Vassileios Lambrinoudakis, a professor of archaeology at Athens University, and biologist Fotios Kafatos, a professor at the universities of Harvard, Cornell and Crete. In the field of sport, awards went to Greek Olympic Committee President Lambis Nikolaou (also absent); Nikolaos Filaretos, president of the International Olympic Academy and member of the IOC, and Antonios Tzikas, founder-president of the Foundation for Sport and Olympic Education. Then Stylianos Alexiou, archaeologist and and philologist; Professor Chryssa Maltezou, director of the Greek Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice and Antonia Polychronopoulou-Trichopoulou, who has made the Mediterranean diet famous around the world. Then there was Ioannis Sotiropoulos, professor emeritus in chemistry at Toulouse University, and Gerasimos Notaras, former chairman of the board of the Center for the Therapy of Dependencies, composer Giorgos Mouzakis and Andreas Paipetis, president of the Corfu Reading Society, founded in 1836.

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