Book Presentation: I was born a Greek by Melina Mercouri

Participation of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture in the Book Arsenal 2017  
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Exhibition “… the Universe of Freedom and Love”
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Book Presentation: I was born a Greek by Melina Mercouri


 May 30, 2017 at 16:00, the Branch of the HFC will host the first in Ukraine presentation of the Ukrainian translation of the Melina Mercouri’s book I was born a Greek translated by L. Hlushchenko, M. Mokrivska and K. Parashchak (Lviv, 2016).

Melina (real name Maria Amalia) Mercouri (1920-1994) was a Greek actress, singer and political figure and the first female Minister of Culture of Greece. Her biographical book I was born a Greek discloses the world of the “last goddess”, as the contemporaries frequently called Mercouri. The book has been translated and published in 28 languages and seen multiple editions.

Melina Mercouri was born October 18, 1920 in Athens to the family of politicians. Her grandfather, Spyros Mercouris, was one of the most successful and popular mayors of Athens for 30 years. Her father, Stamatis Mercouris, was a member of the Greek Parliament.

After graduating from a theatric studio, in 1994 Melina Mercouri was accepted to perform in the National Theater. In 1955, she played the main role in her first film Stella, for which she was nominated for a Palme d’Or in Cannes.

In 1960 the actress was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Never on Sunday, and although she was not selected the prize winner, she earned the world-wide recognition followed by the new star roles in Phaedra and Topkapi. In the late 1970s, Melina Mercouri left cinematography and dedicated her life to political activities.

During the period of military dictatorship in Greece known as the Regime of the Colonels (1967-1974) Mercouri lived in France and actively opposed to the junta. After the junta had fallen down, she returned to Greece where she co-founded the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and became a PASOK member of the Greek Parliament. In 1981, she was appointed the first female Minister of Culture of Greece. She directed the ministry for two periods, from 1981 to 1989 and in 1993-1994. Mercouri died March 6, 1994 at the age of 73 and was buried at the First Athenian Cemetery.

When she occupied the position of the Minister of Culture, she initiated the Cultural Capital of Europe Project, launched a campaign for returning to Greece the marble sculptures of the Parthenon that had been taken by deceit and put on exposition at the British Museum, held the first competition for the design of the New Acropolis Museum, contracted a large-scale archaeological research covering the entire historic center of Athens including the Sacred Road to Eleusis, the District of Plaka and the Temple of Olympian Zeus,  introduced a free admittance of Greek citizens in museums and at archaeological sites, organized a series of impressive exhibitions of Greek cultural heritage and contemporary Greek arts all over the world, supported the project for construction the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens and the establishment of the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki (1989), which was the largest museum in the world founded in the twentieth century, as well as established annual literary awards, opened municipal theaters in regions, supported the development of Greek cinematography, and defended the right of Greece to host the 1996 Olympic Games in Athens

The presentation of Melina Mercouri’s I was born a Greek will be made by Lina Hlushchnko and Mariana Mokrivska from the Department of Classical Philology at Lviv I. Franko National University, who translated the book into Ukrainian language.