News / Announcements

14.11.2017 / Announcements


Educational activities, innovative workshops and pioneering approaches for children, families, school children, researchers and adults. The Onassis Foundation's educational programs are offered free of charge and are open to everyone!

Taking the Onassis Library as their starting point, the children are traveling to Ancient Greece, leafing through Sophocles' Antigone, they are transformed into junior jurors charged with balancing Justice against Freedom and preparing their verdict: is Antigone innocent or guilty? Young 'developers' explore Rigas Velestinlis' Charta and by using digital technology and a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, they design their own 3D animations inspired by this historical document. With the poetry of C.P Cavafy as their guide, children from schools in Athens and the Greek provinces give their imagination free rein as they turn Cavafy's poems into electronic music, graffiti and small-scale artworks. And heading for Athens International Airport, children with autism and other developmental disorders attempt a simulated trip by air in the company of their parents, familiarizing themselves with the stressful procedures taking a flight entails.

What do all the above—and a number of other activities—have in common? They will all be taking place in the context of the Onassis Foundation's educational programs, which are gearing up for another year providing inspiration with the treasures of the Onassis Library, creativity through the innovative work of the Cavafy Archive, and musical improvisation with the innovative Special Education workshops. Attendees at the Press conference held at the Onassis Library (Amalias Anevue, 56) on Tuesday 14 November got a first taste of the Onassis Foundation's educational programs for 2017–18 across all three of its pillars.

The event was opened by Mrs Afroditi Panagiotakou, the Onassis Foundation's Director of Culture, who noted the broader goals of the Foundation's educational activities: Here, among books whose value lies less in their antiquity than in their content, we welcome you at the Onassis Library. And this—content—is also the underlying philosophy of this year's Onassis Foundation educational programs . Because we want to address both virtues and rights through our educational activities. And we want to speak about our civic obligations and responsibilities, to help people see that education is a right for the many not the few, and to work towards that goal. Which is why we have put together educational programs that take Cavafy as their starting point, programs for children on the autism spectrum, and educational activities which focus on the history of Greece to get this message across: a Greek education is important, precisely because it can bring us all together.

Mrs Vicky Gerontopoulou, Coordinator of the Onassis Library and Digital Projects Manager, also spoke about the Onassis Library's educational programs with a focus on the workshops for children: At the children's workshops, which we will be running every Saturday 11:00–14:00 at the Onassis Library, our young friends will have a chance to play various roles and to take part in many of our hands-on activities. They will be transformed into young alchemists, sailors and cosmonauts and become travelers, scribes, printers, engravers, designers, bookbinders, icon painters, and jurors. How will this last one be implemented? With the assistance of Sophocles' Antigone, which is to say one of the works by our great tragedians compiled in old books kept at the Onassis Library. Through the Junior Jurors educational activity, we will bring the ancient text of Antigone back to life and stage a trial that never happened.

At this point, everyone present in the Onassis Library had the opportunity to take part in a hands-on re-enactment of the Junior Jurors activity, which is due to be held on December 16. Playing the children's role, and with the help of Mr Alexandros Papandreou, founder of the Charismatheia organization and one of the creators of the activity, and with the actors Gioulika Skafida and Lazaros Georgakopoulos in the roles of Antigone and Creon, the audience took part in the 'imaginary' trial of Oedipus' daughter and prepared their verdict. Innocent or guilty?

The imaginary journey continued, and from Thebes and Antigone the audience was transferred to Ithaca and the educational programs of the Cavafy Archive. Theodoros Chiotis, the Coordinator of Scholarly Research and Digital Development at the Cavafy Archive, and Marianna Christofi, the Coordinator of Communication & Initiatives at the Cavafy Archive, presented the Archive's new educational programs: The Cavafy Archive's educational programs are aimed at everyone: secondary-school children, students, researchers and the general public. Since 2013, with the help of 80 academics, researchers, visual artists and poets, the Cavafy Archive's educational programs have approached the Alexandrian poet from multiple viewpoints and shown us how relevant his work remains to all, specialists or not, Theodoros Chiotis noted inter alia in his presentation, which ended with the announcement of two particularly important new Cavafy Archive initiatives: The first pertains to the publication of the second volume of poems by C.P. Cavafy in braille which will be published in collaboration with the Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece addressing the visually impaired. The volume will include 48 poems, will be distributed free of charge, and will be available upon request, from the Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece and the Onassis Foundation. The second initiative refers to the institution of a C.P. Cavafy scholarship for a doctoral thesis to be carried out at a university in Greece or abroad. The new award will be added to the Onassis Foundation's existing scholarship program. The scholarship will be announced this December and more information on the application procedure and requirements will be posted on the target=_blank> website.

Ms Marianna Christofi then went on to talk about the massively successful International Cavafy Summer School programme, which was held at the Onassis Library for the first time during the summer of 2017. An initiative of the Onassis Foundation and the Cavafy Archive, held every summer, researchers from around the world are invited to visit Greece to enrich their work during an intensive week of seminars, open discussions and activities at the Onassis Library, all revolving around the poetry of Cavafy. As Marianna Christofi explained: The next International Cavafy Summer School will take place on 9–15 July 2018 and will tackle 'Cavafy and Antiquity'. The event seeks to encourage research into Cavafy's take on antiquity and to pose new questions relating to our knowledge of the ancient world along with the stances and practices this knowledge can include.

The presentation of the Onassis Foundation's educational activities ended with the Special Education programs, presented by Ms Christina Panagiotakou, Educational Programs Coordinator of the Onassis Foundation. Building on the last five successful years, the Foundation's Special Education programs continue to grow in scope and depth, developing new content and new and innovative approaches designed to release the potential of children with disabilities. An illustrative example is the collaboration announced between the Onassis Foundation and the Athens International Airport in the context of the I’m flying too! I'm flying high programme, which is to be implemented under the academic auspices of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens: This activity will attempt to simulate a trip by airplane for children on the autism spectrum and children with other developmental disabilities. For some, a trip by airplane is a routine or enjoyable experience, but for some children and their parents, it can be a highly stressful procedure. The simulated trip will allow us to help children and teenagers with autism and other developmental disabilities, along with their families, to familiarize themselves with and prepare themselves for the procedures involved in travelling by airplane: entering the airport, checking in baggage, receiving boarding cards, passing through the security check, boarding the plane and disembarking (without actually flying in between), Christina Panagiotakou explains.

As an epilogue to the presentation, the participating journalists took part in a simulation of the hands-on workshop “Come Along! I Draw Musical Notes!” in which children with moderate mental retardation and their parents take part in games based around music and movement, painting original melodies to the accompaniment of live music on piano and saxophone.

The entire Onassis Library program for the 2017–18 season (in Greek)

The entire Cavafy Archive program for 2017–18 (in Greek)

The entire Special Education program (in Greek)

For all the Onassis Foundation educational programs for 2017–18, visit our website You can also subscribe to our newsletter. Our educational programs are offered free of charge on a first-come first-served basis. Bookings should be made at

For more information: Call 210 3713001 (Monday—Friday, 9:00–17:00).
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