submitted by Society of Kytherian Studies on 07.02.2006
Preparations for the 8th International Panionian Conference began when the 7th Panionian Conference, staged on the island of Lefkada ceased, in May 2002.
The four subsequent preparatory years have not easy. The main difficulty consisted not only in securing the money to fund the Conference, but also in the fact that the small island of Kythera had not, to date, organized such a large scale international conference. 280 scholars from various parts of the world will participate in the event. Kythera does not have the infrastructure and facilities to house such a large-scale conference. Four separate conference rooms are required simultaneously on four successive days. Staging the Conference would be much easier if a large cultural and artistic centre existed on the island. The construction of such a centre has been a long cherished dream of Kytherians. Lack of funding has always militated against the construction of such a Cultural centre.
The Society of Kytherian Studies appointed ten people, mainly from its Board of Directors to organize and administer the Conference. The Organising Committee consists of Nikos Petrochilos, Emeritus Professor of Latin at the University of Thessaloniki, President of the Society of Kytherian Studies (as President of the Committee), Basil Leftheris, Emeritus Professor at the University of Crete, President of the Kytherian University Professors, Koula Kassimati, Professor of Sociology at Panteion University, and George Leontsinis, Professor of Modern Greek History and the Teaching of History at ,i>Athens University (as Vice-Presidents), Athanasia Glykofrydi-Leontsini, Professor of Modern European and Greek Philosophy at Athens University (as General Secretary), Charalambos Sougiannis, Architect and Civil Engineer (as Treasurer), and Katherine Aroni-Tsichli, Professor of History at Panteion University, Ioannis Petrochilos, Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Ioannina, Emmanuel Kalligeros, Writer and Editor of the local newspaper, Kytheriaka, and Theodoros Koukoulis, Byzantinist, M.Litt. of Newcastle University (as Members).
The Sub-Sections of the Conference are: Archaeology / Architecture & Urban Planning / History / Institutions, Constitution & Public Administration / Folklore & Social Anthropology / Society & Economy / Culture & Civilisation / Natural and Human Environment / Ecology.
We contacted 800 scholars, specialising in research into the seven Ionian islands, and invited them to participate. The Selection Committee consisting of University Professors, and members of the Organizing Committee, accepted 275 applications from scholars, to present papers at the Conference.
The maintenance, and decoration of the four Conference Rooms, the sound and technological equipment for the conference halls, as well as the food catering and cleaning services for each conference room, were entrusted to the well-known organisation ORFEAS.
It was decided by the Organizing Committee that the Society of Kytherian Studies would meet the accomodation, tourism, reception, and certain travel expenses of participants at the Conference. Cost of coach travel from Athens to Kythera and return, for example, would be met by the Organising Committee.
The Organizing Committee holds a meeting every ten days and discusses ways of responding to the various challenges that arise. The Professorial group, has composed the Conference Programme, which will shortly be approved by the Committee; at which time it will be published and distributed. Additional invitations will shortly be issued to those who have provided considerable help in organising the Conference.
The 8th International Panionian Conference will be held under the auspices of Her Excellency, the President of the Greek Parliament, Mrs Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
During the recent trip of the President of the Society of Kytherian Studies, Professor Nikos Petrochilos to Australia, the importance of the 8th Pan-Ionian Conference, and the special challenges that arose as the result of staging such a large-scale event, as well as other challenges involved in maintaining and enhancing the Kytherian Cultural heritage, where conveyed to various audiences in detail. Our Australian-Kytherian brothers and sisters responded positively in assisting the Society of Kytherian Studies to meet its objectives. We express our deep gratitude to them all.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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