"With feelings of sincere emotion and great honour, I declare the beginning of this so important international conference, which has as its theme the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
My feelings are justified by the fact that the international seminar is part of a great and just struggle with a global dimension, namely the struggle for the restoration of what is undoubtedly a most emblematic World Heritage Monument, the Parthenon. And this struggle concerns not only Greece and its historical and cultural heritage, but also culture in general, given that its result will be a real confirmation of the notion of culture as a supreme achievement of human intellect," President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Monday, declaring the opening of the International Workshop entitled "Reunification of the Parthenon sculptures," which is being held in the auditorium of the Acropolis Museum.
The conference is co-organised by the Presidency of the Republic, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures and the Acropolis Museum.
"First and foremost, it is extremely symbolic and essential that the current International Conference - a brilliant "link" in the long "chain" of our joint mission for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures - is being held in this Museum, which was inaugurated almost exactly 10 years ago on June 20, 2009," the President said and added: "A museum that, as the international community knows, has been mainly constructed in order to host the Parthenon Sculptures after their "repatriation" and invalidate the arguments of those who claimed that Greece does not have a suitable place to host them."
Pavlopoulos underlined that "the struggle for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures has been long and uninterrupted."
"It is universally ackowledged that these Sculptures belong rightfully and culturally to the Parthenon and its Monuments," he said, adding: "This is because without these Sculptures the Parthenon, deeply hurt by an act of vandalism and concealed for over of two centuries under a guise of supposed 'love of antiquity', which directly harms World Cultural Heritage, cannot symbolise and, at the same time, emanate to humankind its eternal and unique cultural.