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Cultural Relations and Greek Community
Switzerland has a long tradition of philhellenism. Among the great Philhellenes is Swiss banker and co-founder of Bank of Greece, Jean Gabriel Eynard, personal friend of Governor Ιoannis Kapodistrias (honorary citizen of Geneva and Lausanne), doctor Johann Jakob Meyer, who died as a hero during the Exodos of Messologgi, together with his Greek wife and their children, Eli Ami Bétant, secretary and friend of Capodistrias, Εmmanuel Hahn. Today, philhellenism in Switzerland is promoted through the efforts of Swiss and Greek associations for the promotion of the Greek cultural identity. Such a Greek association is the International Association of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis (president: Mr. G. Stassinakis) residing in Geneva since 1988 and works for the international promotion of the work of this great Greek writer.
Swiss people have also a great interest in Greek civilization and classical studies. Seats of ancient and modern Greek language are functional in big Swiss universities. Numerous Greek and philhellene cultural associations are also active. The Swiss department of the International Committee for the return of Parthenon Marbles has its seat in Geneva and is headed by Professor, Mr. Dusan Sidjanski. Scientific and cultural foundations, such as the Niarchos and Latsis Foundations, have been founded by Greek natives and offer scholarships, scientific prizes, funding of academic and research programmes to Greek and Swiss students.
Greek artists that are famous in Switzerland are Kounelis, Takis, Tsoklis, Fassianos whose exhibitions have been held in museums and galleries and also K. Varotsos, who has three of his major works installed in Switzerland. Nakis Panagiotidis lives in Berne. His most recent arte povera works were exhibited from November 2014 to March 2015 at the Kunstmuseum of Berne.
In 2007, a bilateral agreement for the import, transit and repatriation of cultural goods was signed (L.3915/2011).
Most important cultural events of the last semester are the following:
1. Inauguration of the Exhibition “The Sunken Treasure. The Antikythera Shipwreck” at the Antikenmuseum of Basel, with the participation of ex Minister of Culture, Mrs. Lambraki- Plaka. The exhibition will last from 27 September 2015 till 27 March 2016.
2. 6th Book Fair “Le livre sur les quais” in Morges, with Greece as the honoured country of this year (4-6 September 2015). Federal Councillor, Mr. Berset was present at the inauguration ceremony, on the 3rd of September.
3. Municipality of Eretria names a central square of the town after Swiss Archaeological School, on 1st of August 2015.
4. Honorary event of the Association of Greek Scientists of Switzerland dedicated to famous Greek historian, writer and journalist and academician, Mr. Pavlos Tzermias, Zurich, 9 May 2015.
5. Inauguration of an exhibition for the 100 years of Ancient Philippoi excavations by the French School of Athens, University of Lausanne, 4 March 2015.