Chairperson of the "Greece 2021" committee, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Greece's declaration of the War of Independence from the Ottoman Turks, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, declared that anniversary celebrations will take place all over the world where there is a Greek presence, with diaspora organisations already mobilising and preparing for the major event.
"This is a celebration for everyone, without exclusions, and can be expressed in as many creative and imaginary ways as possible," Angelopoulos said, warning that the task is monumental and may call for adaptations along the way.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki invited individuals and organisations to submit proposals for actions on its new platform, at a meeting of its plenary on Wednesday. The platform is apply.greece2021.gr, and actions must fall under the four directions it has laid out.
The 31 members of the “Greece 2021” committee include several outstanding personalities, including historians Richard Clogg and Mark Mazower, Byzantine and modern Greek studies professor Roderick Beaton and Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab.
She pointed out that there is an outstanding debt to celebrate the 1821 War of Independence, as the first centennial coincided with the first negative news from the Asia Minor campaign and political developments did not allow celebrations. For the bicentennial, therefore, the committee "will begin from the locations where the first fires of the revolution started burning - we will go to every city and village in Greece and in every part of the planet where Greece is celebrated."
Greece 2021 plans of events to take the following shape:
First, "The 1821 Revolution as a constituent element of Greek history, and as a chapter of global history": The aim is to promote better understanding of the Greek Revolution, to highlight its universal importance, to connect it with other revolutions at the same historical period, and to examine how it influenced the world and was influenced by it in turn.
Second, "Greece today, following a 200-year-old course": This will highlight the dynamic of modern Greek society, by ensuring the active inclusion of local communities throughout Greece and by promoting Greece abroad at international expos and organizations, under the general motto of "1821-2021: This Is Modern Greece."
Third, "Greeks who have left their mark the last 200 years": This will celebrate and highlight the life and work of Greeks who contributed to society both in Greece and abroad.
Fourth, "2021 as a window in the future Greece": This will include actions focusing on the country's future prospects and will highlight how Greeks envision and want to see the future Greece.
Calling this planning opportunity a unique historical moment, Angelopoulou said she wanted the committee's actions to be referred to as "It happened during the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution."
These actions do not have to be sweeping and large in nature, she said - they could be free Internet access at a remote Greek island, the equipping of a rural medical center, the house of a European author in one of our beautiful cities, a university campus, a permanent international farm expo, a film or dance festival, a hostel for older people at a coastal community, the management of waste at some location, and so much else that can be done and remain behind after celebrations as infrastructure.
"This committee has been given a prerogative from the Prime Minister himself to act on behalf of the state, not for the purpose of promoting a person or claim ownership of actions carried out, but to create a positive dynamic within society for the celebration of the bicentennial," Angelopoulos said in conclusion.