Honors up ahead in the new year

The year 2007 appears to be a commemorative one in many ways for the Ministry of Culture as well as for other institutions. Already it has been declared the year of Nikos Kazantzakis, Dionysios Solomos and Nikos Engonopoulos. These commemorative years, which have become all the more frequent over the past few years, are questionable when seen from the point of view of their appeal to the wider public. These years nonetheless can be very valuable for researchers and others who are interested if they are organized appropriately. The Ministry of Culture has declared 2007 the Year of Kazantzakis because it is the 50th anniversary of the writer’s death and the Year of Solomos because it is 150 years since the poet’s death (that is in addition to the Year of Maria Callas). The Year of Nikos Engonopoulos (150 years since his birth) is being organized by the National Book Center, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, with a large conference scheduled for the end of the year and a retrospective exhibition on the artist’s work. Details have yet to be announced by the institutions involved and the Ministry of Culture is also expected to make its plans for celebrations of Kazantzakis and Solomos known to the public within a few days. It should be noted that 1998 had also officially been a Year of Dionysios Solomos, on the occasion of 200 years since his birth. The ministry has not revealed its intentions regarding the Kazantzakis Year, which is being organized for the first time. It has asked for suggestions from a three-member committee (consisting of Dimitris Kalokyris, Alexis Kalokairinos and Miltos Pechlivanis), which have been submitted and are currently at the ministry’s disposal. The suggestions concern institutions that are under the ministry auspices, including the National Theater and the National Book Center, among others. Meanwhile, the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis, which had been asking the ministry to officially declare a Kazantzakis Year, has organized a series of conferences and events that will take place in Greece, Cyprus and other countries. Highlights of the events include an international conference on «Nikos Kazantzakis and Young People,» which is to be held in Nicosia with Greek speakers, while foreign experts are also expected to participate. The International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis was founded in Geneva in 1988, with the participation of Eleni Kazantzaki and Giorgos Anemoyiannis, the founder of the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum on Crete. The museum recently acquired from Giorgos Stassinakis a desk, a portrait and two volumes of Kazantzakis’s «Odyssey.»

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