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Meetings with a View: Alexandros Massavetas



Author Alexandros Massavetas and journalist Margarita Pournara in conversation, as part of the series “Asia Minor, the Baton of Memory”

The second guest in the Hellenic American Union’s new series of events titled "Meetings with a View " is journalist and writer Alexandros Massavetas, a citizen of the world who lived for 13 years in Turkey, traveling from one end of the country to the other.

The evening’s conversation is a journey into history and what remains of it, not only in our minds and souls, but also in the very places that once played a dramatic role in the Eastern Mediterranean: from the concrete-covered modern-day Smyrna - which has delivered the last fragments of the past to the Greek-speaking Levantines and Jews - we arrive in the Athenian neighbourhood of Nicaea, looking for the traces of the Laskaridis, and from there, in Ayvalik, to the house of Elias Venezis’ family and old churches. The journey continues in Ionia to half-ruined monasteries and landscapes that have retained their natural beauty, to villages, cities, and ports shrouded in oblivion and often neglect.

Alexandros Massavetas is a modern-day traveler who made a grand tour in search of the spiritual and material ruins of the thousand-year-old empire, a journey that ultimately changed his life. The fruit of his wanderings were two books published by Patakis Publications, entitled Constantinople - The City of the Absent and Asia Minor - The Palimpsest of Memory.

For older generations, Asia Minor was a lived experience, it was songs and flavors, places, habits, dialects, traditions and superstitions. And it was the richness of living with other peoples. For our generation it is the memory we hold in our hands, like a baton, that we pass on to younger generations. What do we keep from it? What do we leave behind? How does history reach us?

Six distinguished guests, each with a distinct point of view, discuss with journalist Margarita Pournara the continuation of Asia Minor. This special series of events has been organized by the Hellenic American Union from March to May 2022 on the 100th year anniversary of the disaster. The meetings take place on the glass-enclosed roof garden of the Hellenic American Union overlooking Athens with a limited audience due to the pandemic.

All meetings of the cycle will be broadcasted live at the Hellenic American Union’s YouTube channel and available for streaming at the Hellenic American Union’s webpage.

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