During a special event, held on Monday 19 September 2022 at the Christos Lambrakis Hall of Megaron Athens Concert Hall, the ''Bicentennial Initiative 1821-2021'' presented an overview of the anniversary actions carried out in the framework of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution; a schedule for future interventions was also presented.
The event was attended by members of the political leadership and the sectors of culture, arts and the sciences, along with the heads of the Initiative’s 17 members, and numerous guests.
Furthermore, the event was graced with a recorded address by Her Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou. In her address, the President of the Hellenic Republic pointed out that
''The overall appraisal of the “Bicentennial Initiative 1821-2021”, from its establishment in 2018 until today, is particularly positive, despite the difficult circumstances caused by the unprecedented health crisis’ and referred to some of its landmark actions held in the previous two years in the fields of culture, historiography, education and the arts. Among other things, Ms Sakellaropoulou stated that ‘they have successfully tried to emphasise that awareness of the past and an ever-stronger collective memory are of the utmost importance as factors contributing to understanding the present and planning the future’, adding that ‘these actions, however, could not have possibly been implemented had there not been for a strong spirit of cordial cooperation between the National Bank, the Institutions and the bodies that participated in the Initiative 1821-2021. A brilliant example of joined forces, this has proved that acting in partnership and collaborating to work towards a shared purpose creates a new dynamic in our cultural life, a dynamic which can help attain even the most unimaginable goals''.
The President of the Republic welcomed the continuation of the cooperation of the Foundations in the fields of climate change, the response to natural disasters, the protection of the environment and the preservation of our cultural heritage, stating as follows:
"I want to congratulate you on your selfless public service work and wish you success in your endeavours."
The Minister of State, Mr Akis Skertsos, attended the event in representation of the Prime Minister, Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis; in his address he stated, inter alia, that the new initiative of the Foundations and their activity in the field of the climate crisis, goes hand in hand with and works in support of the government’s strategic plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The Minister of State emphasised that the Government has improved the interface for collaboration with the Foundations, using e-dorees.gov.gr, the digital and administrative portal for coupling the donation needs of the State with the contribution of the foundations, further noting in this sense that ‘the donation taxation framework has been improved, providing for the exemption of donations in kind and services from VAT and a deduction of expenses for income tax purposes’. Mr Skertsos stated that:
''The Bicentennial Initiative 21 has proved that while working on your own will take you there faster, working together will take everyone farther''.
The president of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Mr Panos Laskaridis, speaking on behalf of all the cooperating Foundations and bodies, noted inter alia that ‘if there is an added value to the Initiative, this is the dispelling of the myth that Greeks cannot work in partnership’. In this sense, he emphasised that their collaboration would not have been so successful had there not been for a meeting of minds of the heads of the Institutions and added that this realisation also led to the decision to continue the collaboration, with the aim of raising awareness of the issue of climate change. Mr Laskaridis highlighted the sense of indebtedness towards the country and society, which permeates the Initiative and its main actors, adding that this is a decisive factor in a difficult period for Greece, marked by consecutive and multidimensional crises.
In his intervention, the coordinator of the Initiative, Mr Ioannis Manos, Advisor to the National Bank of Greece, stated that:
''the Initiative set an example of joining forces''
and stressed that:
''Taking this experience forward is the natural consequence of what has been accomplished and the spirit that prevailed in this collaboration, i.e. mutual respect within the Initiative, fruitful communication and unity’. Mr Manos also mentioned that ‘it is worth noting that while the Initiative’s actions involve partners from different philosophical, political and social fields working together, there has never been any issue despite their different beliefs. This is so, because where there are specific and agreed goals, constant coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the projects, and above all honest communication, any differences will be smoothed out and mutual understanding is a given’. Referring to the actions planned for the next three years, he noted that: ‘These actions concern landmark issues related to life, health, the atmosphere, the sea, the economy, education and our cultural heritage. In short, issues arising from climate change and impacting the environment, too.''
Mr Manos underlined that:
''the actions stand out for their practicality and feasibility, and we hope that they will contribute to the work of the State but also to the awareness of society and young people about the existential seriousness of the effects of climate change on our lives''.
Watch the report video of the Bicentennial Initiative 1821-2021 featuring representative actions of the commemoration programme.