The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) DIALOGUES traveled to Thessaloniki for an event dedicated to the city’s history, its people, and its multicultural identity.
On their first trip to Thessaloniki, the SNF DIALOGUES made Warehouse C at the Thessaloniki Port Authority the place to be. In an event open and free for all, more than 500 Thessalonians and friends came together to discuss the city’s identity as a tourist destination, the stereotypes it faces, its multiculturalism, and more.
Orestis Andreadakis, director of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, responding the moniker of “the new Berlin” some seek to apply to the city, said, “We should be talking about a new Thessaloniki, not a new Berlin—about a city looking back at its past and its ghosts in order to create a radical future.” Maria Kavala, Adjunct Professor of Modern History at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s School of Political Science, said, “Thessaloniki was a city the moment it was created. For those who are older, it is the Jerusalem of Southeast Europe, a refugee capital, an intellectual center, while for the young it is… a cool city!” Actor Ieroklis Michaelidis attributed the uniqueness and charm of Thessaloniki to “the clash of the cosmopolitan with the provincial,” stressing that “we transcend our roles when we unite culture, art, and the prospects of dialogue in this region.” Yiannis Boutaris, president of the Holocaust Museum of Greece, spoke about “Thessaloniki’s assets, which are culture, universities, and agricultural products,” pointing out that “its multiculturalism and its diverse population” are what make Thessaloniki unique. Georgia Tsiamanta, Project Manager of OK!Thess, said Thessaloniki is “a gigantic window to the world” and made reference to “opportunities for cooperation with our northern neighbors.”
Mark Mazower, Professor of History at Columbia University, journalist, and writer, contributed to the conversation via Skype, making the point that "Thessaloniki has always been a vibrant, true city with a historical conscience.” Brief contributions were also made by Dimitrios Zafeiriou, Professor of Child Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; Giorgos Nikolaou, cofounder of the startup SoulScan; and Sofia Sarri, cofounder of the startup Shifting Our City.
The event ended with a DJ set by Christos Exarchopoulos and a live performance by George Fokas & "The Folks."
The SNF DIALOGUES are curated and moderated by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou.
Listen to the extracted audio below: