№ 212/2014 from Jun 06, 2014
The interdisciplinary Center for Modern Greece was inaugurated today at Freie Universität Berlin. The institution aims to promote cooperation between Germany and Greece in research and teaching and to advance European integration. The Center’s operation will be complementary to the university’s existing chair in Modern Greek Studies, enhancing its academic activities and promoting contemporary Greek thought and culture, as well as the productive exchange of ideas in a more systematic way, through events, conferences, and lectures of academic interest. Plans are underway for the promotion and publication of Greek fiction and academic literature in German. The new institution goes back to an initiative of the Chair of Modern Greek at Freie Universität Berlin and was made possible through the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. In his speech at the inauguration, the President of the European Court of Justice, Professor Vassilios Skouris, referred to the long tradition in the transfer of knowledge between the two countries and emphasized the importance of the new Center for relations between Germany and Greece as well as Europe as a whole.
Professor Skouris said that for the past 200 years, Germany has had a significant impact on the emergence and development of Greek science and scholarship. Many Greeks acquired knowledge in Germany and transferred it to their home country, and in Germany there has always been a great deal of interest in studies related to Greece.
The new interdisciplinary Center has three main areas of focus. One area will focus on stepping up efforts in research through conferences, presentations, critical commentary on current public debates in Greece and the rest of Europe, and in academic and cultural exchange. Another area will be devoted to developing a broad base of knowledge regarding the history of German-Greek cultural transfer from the 18th century to the present. A third area will deal with the promotion and publication of Greek fiction and academic literature in German through the new series, Edition Romiosini. To start with, a German translation of the trilogy Drifting Cities by Stratis Tsirkas, a classic of Greek modernism, will be published with a foreword by Joachim Sartorius. Parallel to these three main areas, the Center will support existing academic and cultural networks and work to establish new ones.
Three events are scheduled for this summer. In two weeks, on June 20, there will be a conference on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece. It will be held in cooperation with the Deutsche Welle and the German Historical Museum. On June 21 a conference on the Greek author Thanassis Valtinos will be held at Freie Universität Berlin. On July 8 and 9, there will be a workshop on anti-Semitism in Greece. It is being organized in collaboration with the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical University of Berlin and the Greek National Centre for Social Research (EKKE) in Athens.