After an inspiring week full of intense discussions and sharing of ideas on the theme “The Commons” (what we hold in common) for the participants, as well as the organizers – with plenty of time to get to know our beautiful island – the Symposium came to an end with an evening performance on a warm and pleasant early summer’s night at the Paros Municipal Library on Monday, 22nd May.
Mayor Yiannis Rangoussis, Gloria Berbena (Cultural Attache at the US Embassy in Athens) Artemis Zenetou (Executive Director of the Fulbright Foundation in Greece) and Christopher Merrill (Director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa) gave a short introduction. Poems and texts were read in both Greek and English, by some of the participants of the programme: Alexis Stamatis (Greece), Amir Or (Israel),
Anastassis Vistonitis (Greece) and Chris Merrill himself. And the evening closed with two unusual and unique musical performances which delighted the audience: Ruth Margraff, accompanied by musician Nikos Brisco, sang two songs, the first from her “Working Class Opera” (dedicated to her father and great-grandfather, coal miners who both died of black lung disease), the second from the folk opera about the liberation of Crete in 1899, featuring a hero from Nikos Katzantzakis’ novel “Freedom or Death”, incorporating musical elements of Greek, Cretan Rembetiko-style and American Folk. June Melby performed “Counting the Stars”, half-spoken, half-sung, accompanying herself on violin.
It is hoped that the Symposium can become an annual event on Paros and that it will be a catalyst for international intercultural exchange. See page 12 for further information on the programme or contact Executive Director Mrs Artemis Zenetis, Fulbright Foundation in Greece. 6, Vassilissis Sophias Avenue, 106 74 Athens, tel: 210-7241-811, 210-7241-812, fax: 210-7226-510, www.fulbright.gr.