CULTURE

Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili coming to Athens

Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili arrives in Athens tomorrow at the head of an official delegation. They will go from Eleftherios Venizelos Airport to the Hotel Grande Bretagne, and the program begins Monday with an official reception, a private meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, a press conference and wreath laying followed by a working lunch with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and an afternoon meeting with main opposition leader George Papandreou. That evening the Greek president will hold an official dinner in honor of his Georgian counterpart. On Tuesday, Saakashvili will meet with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and receive the City of Athens Gold Medal from Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. After a farewell meeting with Papoulias he will fly on to Tbilisi. During his stay, the Georgian president will also visit the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum. This is Saakashvili’s second visit to Athens. The previous visit was with Eduard Shevardnadze in 1997. There is a School of Classical, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Tbilisi, and Modern Greek is taught as a second language in schools. And in Batumi, which has a large Greek community, the university has a chair of Modern Greek.