DIALOGUES: Beginnings
28 September 2018

On Wednesday, September 26th, 2018, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) hosted people who have attempted a new beginning, either at a professional or personal level, and shared their own experience with the audience. They discussed the mixed feelings that come along with this, and how uncertainty and fear of the unknown turn into a new beginning, which can bring us even closer to personal fulfillment and happiness.

The moderator, journalist Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, initiated the conversation, talking about her own new creative beginning with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, as well as the next step in this collaboration, noting that “there is a will, a clear vision, people with ideas, without restrictions and agendas, ready to work for the realization of these ideas.” The collaboration between Ms. Bousdoukou and the SNF has already been underway for two years, starting with her role as a consultant for the implementation of the SNF Scholarship Program for Greek Journalists at Columbia University in New York. During yesterday’s event, Ms. Bousdoukou talked about the new venture she is undertaking, with the support of the SNF, which involves the establishment of a nonprofit organization, aiming to promote education in subjects related to the field of Journalism, as well as the organized support of activities to enhance the transparency, validity and independence of Journalism. (Note: More information on the project will be announced soon.)

In yesterday’s DIALOGUES, Fotini Pantzia shared moments and images from the journey she embarked upon when she returned from Ethiopia, accompanied by a 5 year-old, who is now officially her son, Abadu-Angelos. Speaking of the small and large challenges to which we must adapt daily, Ms. Pantzia stressed that “all beginnings are great and we should not be afraid of them,” and “when we are confident of ourselves and of what we want, we do not feel the need to explain or apologize for our new beginnings.”

Andreas Papachristou, representing the “Stagones” team, described how they experienced the transition from the familiar and organized setting of the city to the unfamiliar terrain of the countryside. “A beginning means that you recognize something you wish to leave behind and that you see what is authentic, true within you,” said Mr. Papachristou during the discussion. Guided by their love of nature and their growing concerns about the urban lifestyle, “Stagones” built homes made of clay, sand, straw and water, in a village near Evia, setting the foundation for a new reality, with new expectations and dreams for a better tomorrow.

Dr. Nancy Mallerou, coach, speaker and author, noted “no new beginning starts from scratch,” as the experience, wisdom and knowledge that people acquire during their life, as well as the disappointments they experience, are the guarantees and foundations for a new beginning. Referring to the fear of failure, she provided a different definition, saying that “failure is setting a goal, not achieving it, and learning absolutely nothing. If you learn something, then it is not failure, it is experience.”

Elementary and high school students shared their own thoughts, anxieties and dreams about the future.

DIALOGUES will return on October 19th, on the occasion of Germany’s renowned Oktoberfest celebration. The October DIALOGUES will discuss the relationship between Greece and Germany, the customs of the two countries, the prevailing stereotypes surrounding the two nations and their citizens, and also what unites us, at an event for the Greek Oktoberfest.

Through the monthly series of live events, entitled DIALOGUES, the SNF presents, among others, individuals who inspire through their work and actions and hopes to catalyze conversations around critical issues, around the world. DIALOGUES are open to the public. Participation is secured via electronic pre-registration, on a first-come-first-served basis. Furthermore, events are live streamed on the SNF website and are also available on demand in both video and podcast format on the SNF’s website.

The DIALOGUES are curated and moderated by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou.