The General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Chrysoulakis, made significant initiatives to develop bilateral relations between India and Greece during Indian State Minister for External Affairs & Culture of India Meenakshi Lekhi’s visit to Athens on Monday and Tuesday.
According to an official release by the Greece Embassy, on Monday, January 30, the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organised an event on Greek-Indian Friendship at the Athens Conservatory, in honour of the State Minister for External Affairs & Culture of India Meenakshi Lekhi, who was on an official visit to the country.
In his welcome address the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Nikos Dendias, pointed out that the visit of the Union minister from India confirms the strategic level of relations between the two countries, which is one of the priorities of the Greek foreign policy.
The visit of the Indian State Minister to Greece follows the visits of Greek Foreign Ministry officials to India. The most recent visit is that of the Secretary-General of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, Ioannis Chrysoulakis last December in New Delhi, the official release read.
“On the day of remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and of commemoration of his legacy, I welcome the State Minister for External Affairs & Culture of India, Meenakshi Lekhi to Greece” noted the Secretary General of Greeks Abroad & Public Diplomacy in his opening remarks.
He also referred to the historical and continuously developing Greek-Indian relations, emphasizing areas such as education, culture, and respect for International Law.
“The strategic relationship of our two countries is based on their constructive role on the bilateral- and multilateral levels, as well as on their historical relations and rich cultures,” Chrysoulakis noted further.
Moreover, he mentioned the common values of democracy, freedom and political ethos that characterise Greece-India relations and highlighted two important areas of cooperation: education, through the Chair of Greek Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and culture, through the joint effort to have common Indo-Greek tangible and intangible heritage inscribed in UNESCO list.
Lekhi emphasised during the visit that the two nations have great links because traditionally they have been on the same side of history.
She also pointed out that by working together, Greece and India can solve contemporary concerns more successfully and make crucial advancements in areas like the support of socially underprivileged groups and women’s empowerment.
During the event, the Greek branch of the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (WICCI) was presented for the first time. It was supported by and placed under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad & Public Diplomacy, as part of its continuous effort to support people-to-people dialogue, and the development of networks and partnerships.
The creation of the Greek branch of the WICCI, the founder and president of which is the distinguished businesswoman Harbeen Arora, was initiated by the founding members’ Ekaterini Sofianou and Despina Giannakopoulou.
The president of the Board of Directors of WICCI Greece referred to its main goals, which include the promotion and strengthening of contact and cooperation between Greek and Indian women on economic, cultural, tourist, educational and environmental issues.
The event also included the presentation of the Greek edition of “Indian Music, Classical & Folk Music, Great Composers, Musical Instruments, Dances” by Konstantinos Kalaitzis.
Since 1987, the author has traveled 44 times to all the states and territories of India in order to research its great musical tradition.
Unique in the Greek literature, this edition includes the result of the research, over 750 rare photographs, as well as 181 audio excerpts of vocal and instrumental music (classical and folk) from various parts of India, according to the Greek Embassy’s release.
The work of Mr Kalaitzis was recently praised by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised message, while he referred to the friendship between the two countries.
The book was presented by the assistant professor of the University of Athens, Ms Vasiliki Chrysanthakopoulou, as well as the editor of the publication, Ms Satya Kassimi.
Following the presentations, Kalaitzis performed samples of Indian music, accompanied by a pair of tabla drums, an Indian harmonium and a guitar.
The evening ended with a concert by the internationally acclaimed Greek musician and composer, Evanthia Reboutsika, which was held in honour of the Indian mission and gave a unique and dynamic Greek essence to the event.
The event was honored with the presence of ambassadors, parliamentarians, businessmen, artists and academics, the press release read.
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