Cultural Olympiad gets chief

Abandoning the government’s previous practice of appointing leading cultural figures – who kept resigning – to head Greece’s ambitious «Cultural Olympiad» project, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday gave the job to one of his closest aides. Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, a 45-year-old lawyer, replaces respected poet Titos Patrikios, 73, who resigned in late December after a year in office, saying he wanted to «dedicate himself fully and without distractions to his poetry.» The first head of the «Cultural Olympiad,» film director Michalis Cacoyiannis, resigned three months after being appointed. He cited insuperable bureaucratic impediments to his work. Yiannakopoulos has served as chairman of state ERT television, secretary general of the Culture Ministry and chairman of the Greek National Tourist Organization. His stints in the senior state jobs invariably coincided with Venizelos – a 45-year-old professor of law – holding the Cabinet job responsible for the appointment. The Cultural Olympiad started in 2001.

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