Focus on Hellenistic era

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is to acquire a Hellenistic Studies Center. The papers were signed on Monday in a festive atmosphere at the Hotel Grande Bretagne by Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation President Antonis Papadimitriou, Unesco Goodwill Ambassador and Bibliotheca Alexandrina board member Marianna Vardinoyianni and the library’s director, Ismail Serageldin. The joint initiative is part of the signatories’ endeavor to promote Greek culture abroad and to highlight the history of the Hellenistic era, when the original Library of Alexandria was founded. The Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies, scheduled to open in the fall of 2008, will teach history, philosophy, literature and fine arts. It will be housed in the library, which will collaborate with the University of Alexandria to confer master’s and doctoral degrees. Students will have free access to the library’s facilities for research purposes. All subjects will be taught in English. Papadimitriou noted: «The foundation of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies marks the development of a new international pole in Alexandria, the gateway to Egypt and the Arab world. It is not and should not be exclusively Greek. Like the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, it should have an international character.» «Greece and Egypt have an opportunity to rebuild a bridge in the Mediterranean and give new generations of scholars a chance to work together,» said Serageldin, while Vardinoyianni noted that the venture was, above all, «a cultural alliance.»