Culture minister wraps up week-long visit to China, with significant results

Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou on Sunday concluded a visit to China (17-24 September) with “significant results and a new momentum for the future,” a culture ministry announcement said.

The minister’s trip included stops in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Dunhuang and Beijing, while she signed a memorandum of cooperation with her Chinese counterpart Luo Shugang, in which the two sides expressed a mutual desire to build on the successful Greece-China cultural exchanges programme launched in 2017.

This envisages the planning of a five-year programme that will allow the two countries to further expand their relations and, in addition to cultural exchanges, fully exploit the new momentum created by the One Belt, One Road initiative in culture, the ministry said. Acting in the same direction, it added, was the Greek ‘Ancient Civilisations Forum’ where China plays a key role.

Visiting Dunhuang, Koniordou was keynote speaker at the start of the “2nd Silk Road Culture Expo” and held talks with the head of the Dunhuang Academy about possible exchanges of exhibitions and other joint initiatives and projects.

In Shanghai, the minister inaugurated the Greek Theatre Research Centre in the Shanghai Theatre Academy and met with its academic and administrative staff, promising to support the exchanges of teaching staff and students in Greece and Shanghai. She also expressed interest in exchanges of theatrical productions by the Greek Festival and the Shanghai International Arts Festival.

Visiting Beijing, Koniordou met the head of China’s National Theatre Zhou Yuyuan and the national theatres of Greece and China signed a memorandum of cooperation for 2018, as well as an extension of their cooperation through an organised five-year plan.

The minister also inaugurated a tribute to modern Greek cinema, which kicked off with Pantelis Voulgaris’ award-winning film “Little England”.

On Sunday morning she was also the keynote speaker at the exhibition “The Body, The Soul and The Place. Contemporary Greek Artists” organised by the State Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki (SMCA) at the National Art Museum of China, which will run until October 15 as part of the 7th Beijing Contemporary Art Biennale.

During the visit, the culture ministry’s Secretary General Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki was keynote speaker at a session of the World’s Ancient Civilisations Protection Forum held in the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, while Acropolis Museum President Dr. Demetrios Pandermalis was a speaker at a round table at the same forum.