Foreign Ministry exhibition shows twin arts of diplomacy and writing

Foreign Minister George Papandreou is opening the exhibition «Diplomacy and Writing» at the Foreign Ministry this Tuesday at 7 p.m. The ministry’s recently established Analysis and Planning Center, directed by Ambassador Dimis Vassilakis, has assembled a collection of 700 books on subjects ranging from international relations to literature, foreign policy, diplomatic history, translation, diplomats’ diaries, law, philosophy and theology. The exhibition, which is the first public event the center has organized, will be at the Foreign Ministry, 1 Academias, ground floor. The invitation to the exhibition comes from Papandreou, who, like all his family, is a booklover. His father, Andreas Papandreou, the late prime minister and economist, was a prolific writer, as is his mother, Margarita Papandreou, while his brother Nikos’s books have become best sellers. The special feature of this exhibition is that all the books have been written by Foreign Ministry staff: ambassadors, diplomats, advisers, lawyers and administrative employees. The exhibition is purely informative, and not intended to be in any way evaluative. The only criterion for inclusion was that the titles be penned by ministry staff. It will be open from 10.30 a.m to 3 p.m. till April 26. On opening day, Vassilakis – who takes up his post as Greece’s permanent representative at the United Nations in April – will present the collection. There will be an address by Yiannis Stournaras, chairman of the board of Commercial Bank, which is sponsoring the catalog, the «who’s who» of ministry staff that have written books. The catalog includes a brief biography of each writer, a list of their works, and a photograph. The minister will open the exhibition and make a speech. In an interesting twist, the members of the Union of Spouses of Greek Diplomats, through their president, Ioanna Dimitrakopoulou, have kindly undertaken the task of guarding the exhibition. Vassilakis thanks all those who have contributed to the exhibition: the publishers Estia, Kastaniotis, Kedros, Livanis, Nefeli, Papazissis, Sakkoulas, Sideris, Themelio, and Synchroni Epochi, and the Goulandris Horn Foundation. The directors of the Benaki Museum, the National Book Center and the Greek Literary and Historical Archive, Angelos Delivorias, Christos Lazos and Manos Haritatos, also contributed. Who wouldn’t want to see what Greek diplomats have written? Leading them all is George Seferis, Ambassador Giorgos Seferiades, winner of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature. Other noted members of the diplomatic corps include Angelos Vlachos, an ambassador who was elected to the Athens Academy in 1985, and has won numerous awards; honorary ambassador Vyron Theodoropoulos, who has just been awarded the Aristeio prize for history and social sciences by the plenary session of the Academy for his life’s work; and Ambassador Dimitris Velissaropoulos, who will be in New Delhi the day the exhibition opens to receive a prize from the Indian president for his book, «The History of Indian Philosophy.» And on June 11 in Luxembourg, the prime minister of Luxembourg will hand the European Value Award, which goes to people who have contributed to the European idea and have furthered the political and cultural progress of Europe, to Vassilis Vitsaxis, ambassador, philosopher, writer, and president of the Greek Society of Literary Translators, publisher of Ellinika Grammata and Southeastern Europe Literary Review. Diplomats go everywhere, and when they are deeply talented writers, they attain the highest achievements. Independence Day celebrations to disrupt central Athens traffic

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