The 200 students and teachers from 20 schools of Greece, Istanbul, Imbros, Nicosia, New York, and Johannesburg and the 40 distinguished representatives of Arts and Letters who participated in the 3rd International Student Literature Meeting on “Rethinking Literature… without any clicks” had two fruitful days filled with literature on Monday, 27th and on Tuesday, 28th March, at the Theatre of the Cultural and Sports Centre of Mandoulides Schools.
Students, secondary and higher education professors, authors, critics, journalists, and actors had the chance to exchange ideas and concerns on literature and its role in the modern online era.
The meeting was held by Zografion High School of Istanbul and Mandoulides Schools, under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The first round of discussions started on the morning of 27th March.
The Meeting’s opening was declared by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaeus.
Giannis Demirtzoglou – Zografion High School Principal and Dr. Aspasia Chasioti – General Director of Mandoulides Schools, who were in charge of this event, welcomed all students and speakers of the Meeting.
Greetings were extended by:
Aikaterini Mantoulidou – President of Mandoulides Schools, ( Ms. Mantoulidou’s Greeting)
Charalabos Kirailidis – President of Founders of Greek Private Schools Association
Giorgos Papaliaris – President of Stavrodromi Community (Mr. Papaliaris’ Greeting)
Giannis Yigourtsis – Education Coordinator of Greek Diaspora Schools (Mr. Gigourtsis’ Greeting)
The event continued with a short tribute to the 11 years of Conferences
The first round of discussions, 27th March…
In the first discussion “Do authors speak only through their work?” with special advisor Fragkiski Abatzopoulou, Professor of Philology at AuTh, Author, coordinator Mikela Chartoulari, Journalist and interlocutors Spiros Giannaras, Journalist, Author and Giannis Palavos, Author, the participants focused on the author’s important role through his/her work and his/her interventions in society.
Student Theodora Zatka noticed that authors have to adopt a leading role in all forms of life, elevate their personalities to a symbol of values and not limit themselves to ink and the pages of their novels. Ms. Abatzopoulou, for her part, stressed that the author who has a sense of empathy, needs time to react, while the rebellious author actually undermines habits. Mr. Spiros Giannaras mentioned that the author struggles with missing needs. His/her whole life is a hunt, as s/he deals with the tragedy of the human condition, while Mr. Giannis Palavos did not hesitate to point out that the author is the counterweight of humanity, without this meaning that he should assume the role of a superman.
In the second discussion, entitled “The vision of my literary ally”, with special advisor Giannis Paschos, Author and coordinator Marina Aggelaki, Journalist, participated Thomas Korovinis, Author, Maria Latsari, Poet, Eftychia – Alexandra Loukidou, Poet, Essayist and Konstantina Siachami, Poet. During this discussion, they talked about the author’s catalytic role as a signalman in every person’s life. Student Nikoleta - Anna Mentese pointed out that literature expresses one’s feelings, while every author’s vision can generally guide us in life. At the same time, student Aliki – Eirini Mouratidi admitted that literature can express things differently and influence us all emotionally, while Mr. Korovinis reminded us that words are feminine, in the sense that they produce, and give birth to other words.
Then, in the third meeting – discussion entitled “The civilization of goldfish or the world of many Giga in great challenges” with special advisor and coordinator Kostas Karavidas, Member of Teaching Fellows (EDIP) of the Department of Philology at the University of Ioannina and interlocutors Sakis Serefas, Author, Zacharias Skouras, Professor of Genetics at the Department of Biology of AuTh and Christos Chatzipanagiotis, Actor, the discussion was about the role of technology in today’s era and in what way and to what extent it will affect literary production. Sakis Serefas pointed out that technology can contribute creatively to writing, while young people who have the appropriate stimuli from their family and school environment will read literature. Christos Chatzipanagiotis, in turn, said that literature develops our emotional memory, and Zacharias Skouras stated that artificial intelligence is total intelligence, while natural intelligence is every “I”.
The first day ended with the discussion entitled “The book I wish I had written” with special advisor and coordinator Giannis Baskozos, Journalist, Author, and interlocutors Kostas Akrivos, Author, Nektaria Zagorianakou, Author, Thomas Korovinis, Author and Giannis Paschos, Author, where students and authors talked about their favorite readings. Prompted by the students’ questions, Mr. Thomas Korovinis mentioned that everyone should be a wizard, radical and bold every day in life!
The second round of discussions, 28th March…
In the first assembly entitled “Yesterday’s trap and tomorrow’s fear” with special advisor Kostas Υiavis, Assistant Professor at the Department of Philology of AuTh, coordinator Kiriaki Beioglou, Journalist, Author and interlocutors Nikos Davvetas, Author, Giannis Kalpouzos, Author and Marios Moros, Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Philology of AuTh, Author, the students’ interest during the discussion was mainly about the relationship of literature with the past and future, since, as one student said, books are primarily time machines. Kostas Yiavis stressed that there is always the risk of deification of the past and a lot of nations have done it, but it is considered bad when it leads to obsession and prevents us from understanding current reality. After all, reality itself is a mythical construct and a personal affair. Nikos Davvetas stated that the past can be an occasion for the literary text, to rediscover it and it is not just a nostalgic citation. Reliving it is not done either in historical terms or in journalistic ones but in terms of human emotion. As for Giannis Kalpouzos, he brightens everyday life and recreates the past through his books based on the people’s thinking in each era, and Marios Moros admitted that we try to soothe the past embellished by the present, as we try to ease the pain of events.
In the second group discussion entitled ”Literature in the fake news era” with special advisor Aspasia Chasioti, General Director of Mandoulides Schools, coordinator Kostas Bliatkas, Journalist, Author, and interlocutors Giorgos Skabardonis, Author, Aris Stylianou, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Sciences of AuTh, Author and Stefanos Tsitsopoulos, Journalist, Author, the topic discussed was the misleading influence of fake news on the Internet and social media focusing on literature. Student Eirini Oikonomidou admitted that children are more influenced than anybody else, as fake news is now spreading rapidly, and it is almost impossible to check its validity. Giorgos Skabardonis stressed that literature’s nucleus is a myth anyway, something which is by default not true, while Aris Stylianou did not hesitate to point out that there is actually a blurred area between the absolutely certain and fake news. Then, Stefanos Tsitsopoulos said that there will always be a kind of eschatology on the Internet, but the question is who programs the machines.
The third round of discussions entitled “The fantastic view of reality”, with special advisor and coordinator Evi Koutroubaki, Author and interlocutors Kostis Anetakis, Author, Mr. Pavlos Thomopoulos, Author, Stathis Inges, Author, Publisher and Iosif Manikis, Author, mainly focused on fantasy literature, meaning science fiction. Evi Koutroubaki reminded us that all the epic works of antiquity are among the greatest works of fiction. Kostis Anetakis mentioned that the author has the best possible platform to express what s/he has on his/her mind and soul. For his part, Pavlos Thomopoulos commented that literature is best understood by children and smart people, while Stathis Inges admitted that if there is a movement that has a place in today’s era, it is magical realism. As for Iosif Manikis, the timeline is the very thin line separating fantasy from reality, while the future presented by science fiction is not irrelevant to what is coming ahead from scientific development.
In the fourth and last discussion of the event entitled “Literature… without any clicks: Authors speak with students “ with coordinator Marina Aggelaki, Journalist the roles were reversed. Interlocutors were Christos Chatzipanagiotis, Actor, Fragkiski Abatzopoulou, Professor of Philology at AuTh, Author, Spiros Giannaras, Journalist, Author, Giannis Palavos, Author, Kostas Akrivos, Author, Maria Latsari, Poet, Zacharias Skouras, Professor of Genetics at the Department of Biology of AuTh and Thomas Korovinis, Author. Students were asked this time to answer on issues posed by the special advisors and authors. Thus, there was a fruitful dialogue about issues related to literature that satisfied all participants. There could not be a better epilogue to this literary event.
Giannis Demirtzoglou, Principal of Zografion High School of Istanbul, and Dr. Aspasia Chasioti, General Director of Mandoulides Schools, were very satisfied and moved by the Meeting, and reflected on the two days of the meeting and mentioned:
Specifically, Aspasia Chasioti mentioned that “Even though we live in an era where everything can or should be done by just one click, we want literature to stay out of this automatism… and out of this pressure… of our time. Besides, reading and writing require time, just like all unique trips, like anything that becomes important, because we dedicate our time to it, to quote from “The Little Prince” novel”.
We all agreed these two days, younger and older ones, that literature does not go with clicking, nor should it. Everyone needs their own time, to make their personal choices, to search on the shelves of bookstores, or the pages of literary magazines… “To search and not look for ready-made solutions and find what suits him/her, that helps him/her travel and civilize him/her and eventually raise him/her…”.
Giannis Demirtzoglou, reminiscing about the International Student Literature Meetings said he hopes that students will celebrate next spring, in April 2024 in Istanbul, in Zografion High School, Giannis Ritsos, the poet of “Greekness”. “The Meetings were highly anticipated every year by us all, as a breath of fresh air. The school was bursting with life and our hearts with warmth and love. A lot of friendships and journeys of mind and soul are thanks to these meetings. I hope we get to relive them”.
The schools that participated were the following;
1st HIGH SCHOOL OF LEVADOCHORI, LEMNOS, 2nd GENERAL LYCEUM OF MESSOLONGHI, “ATHINA” SCHOOLS OF TRIKALA, GEITONA SCHOOLS, MANDOULIDES SCHOOLS, N.BAKOGIANNIS SCHOOLS, “SYGXRONI PAIDEIA” SCHOOLS, GREEK JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL OF IMBROS, HELLENIC-AMERICAN SCHOOL OF SAINT DEMETRIOS, ASTORIA, ΝΥ, “URSULINE” GREEK-FRENCH SCHOOL, GREEK-FRENCH SCHOOL OF PIRAEUS “JEANNE D’ ARC”, ERASMIOS GREEK-GERMAN SCHOOL, ZAPPEION HIGH SCHOOL, ZOGRAFION HIGH SCHOOL, ATHENS COLLEGE, PSYCHIKO COLLEGE, PANCYPRIAN GYMNASIUM, VARVAKEIOS MODEL LYCEUM, SAHETI SCHOOL OF JOHANNESBURG
ΜΕΝΤΟR, LIVEMEDIA, MEVGAL, DIAKAKIS
ΕRT, ΕRT 3, ATHENS-MACEDONIAN NEWS AGENCY, TV 100, “Makedonia tis Kiriakis”, “Tipos Thessalonikis”, First Program 91.6 - 105.8, Radio Thessaloniki 94.5, Status FM 107.7, FM 100, 95,8 FM, 102 FM, FLASH 99.4, “PRAKTORIO” 104,9, Ethnos.gr, GrTimes.gr, Makthes.gr, RThess.gr, Thessnews.gr, Typosthes.gr, Viosimi.gr, “Anagnostis”, “Politis”, “Anatoli”, “Iho tis Polis”, “Apogevmatini”