The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Acropolis Museum will host an international meeting titled “Parthenon and Democracy” on Friday September 16, 2022.
The meeting is being held on the occasion of the General Assembly of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, which will take place the previous day at the Acropolis Museum. The timing of the event is a reminder of last year’s UNESCO Summit (September 2021), a watershed moment in the long history of the the campaign for the return of the Sculptures. During the meeting, a decision was made for the first time that formally recognized the intergovernmental nature of the issue. This decision was subsequently ratified by all participating states at the May 2022 UNESCO Assembly in Paris.
The campaign for the reunification of the Sculptures has unprecedented progress over the course of the past year. This January, the Antonino Salinas Museum in Palermo, Sicily, returned the “Fagan fragment” to the Acropolis Museum. The fragment, depicting the foot of the goddess Artemis, was permanently reunited with block VI of the east frieze of the Parthenon in an official ceremony in June 2022.
In the UK, there has been a dramatic about turn by sections of the media, no least by the right leaning newspaper, The Times. This trend is indicative of the changing perception of the British people, who, according to the latests polls, are overwhelmingly in favor of the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens. This has been further strengthened by widespread publicity further afield, placing unprecedented pressure on the Trustees of the British Museum to enter into bone fide dialogue with the Greek authorities.
Dr Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, will give the welcoming speech at the meeting, followed by presentations by key individuals in the ongoing campaign for the Sculptures’ return, including Professor Nikolaos Stampolidis, Director of the Acropolis Museum, Dr Elena Kourka, Honorary General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and renowned Cambridge classicist Professor Paul Cartledge, President of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
The meeting will take place in the auditorium of the Acropolis Museum and is open to the public. The doors will open at 9.15. Live streaming of the meeting will be available on the Museum website.
A program of the event can be downloaded here.