Δρ. John Kittmer (Πρόεδρος, The Anglo-Hellenic League, πρώην Πρέσβυς του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου στην Ελλάδα), «Αγγλοελληνισμός· Περιπέτειες σε πολιτιστικές ανταλλαγές»
Welcome words: Mr Constantis Candounas
Introduction of the speaker: Dr Maria Georgopoulou (Director, Gennadius Library)
Vote of thanks: Dr Haris Vlavianos (writer, Professor of History and Politics at the American College of Greece)
British involvement in Greece was strong throughout the nineteenth century. “Anglo-Hellenism” became an institutionalised concept in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. The decline of British power and the Cyprus crisis of the 1950s ended its political role. This lecture examines the extent to which culture has become a substitute means of exchange between the two countries, through illustrated exploration of emblematic figures and ideas. And it speculates about the role of culture in the post-Brexit future.
John Kittmer is a passionate Hellenist. He learned ancient Greek at school, and went on to study classics at the University of Cambridge, where he gained a BA (Hons). After research at the University of Oxford in ancient Greek literature, he became a civil servant and spent 24 years in several Government departments, including the Department for Education and Employment, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From January 2013 to December 2016, he was British Ambassador to Greece. John has a long association with the Centre of Hellenic Studies at King’s College London. He gained an MA in Modern Greek Studies in 2007 and left the British Diplomatic Service in 2017, to complete his PhD on Yannis Ritsos, also at King’s College London. He graduated in 2019 and is now working on several publications based on his doctoral researches. John is a member of the board of Okeanis Eco Tankers Corp., a Greek shipping business, and chairs the Anglo-Hellenic League, a charity dedicated to the promotion of friendship and understanding between Britain and Greece. He blogs and tweets in English and Greek.