Int’l Conference of Greek Linguistics held at Chicago University

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The 9th International Conference of Greek Linguistics (ICGL) with the title “The course of the Greek language throughout the centuries, approaches to its study and analysis” was held at Chicago University from 29 to 31 October under the auspices of the International Society for Greek Linguistics and the Midwest Committee for Modern Greek Linguistics.
According to an announcement by the organising committee “the Greek language, one of the oldest languages in the world with unceasing historical presence from the 14th century BC until today was always a vital laboratory on the studies of linguistic changes. The recent interest on other parts of the linguistic analysis by inspecting the language as a modern system of interrelated elements of structure, sound and meaning in the frameworks of the human interaction and intercommunication, opened a new horizon on the research of Greek language’.
The International Congress is held every two years since 1993, and this was the first time that it took place in North America.
The biennial ICGL focuses on all aspects of the linguistic study and analysis of Greek from Ancient Greek up through Modern Greek, with greater emphasis on the later stages of the language.
(source: ana-mpa)

Modern Greek Tragedy “Troades” in Vancouver

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It was a wet, rainy, windy evening in Vancouver, the only Canadian city to host the newly acclaimed theatrical play based on the Trojan war, “Troades”.  In the main hall of the Hellenic Community Center on Arbutus, the lead actress, Paola Hadjilambri, introduced the concept and history of the play explaining the Trojan story and its’ characters.

The authentic Greek actors of Troades sang to Mikis Theodorakis’ famous musical compositions as they walked around the stage dressed in their ancient costumes. The sharp eye of their humble director Leonidas Loizides followed the play as he sat nearby in the dark.

The live performance evoked many emotions and reactions from the audience; the despair and anguish that was dramatically portrayed by the actors on stage stirred many to tears.

The play is an anti-war statement and portrays the plight of women and children following the defeat of Troy at the Trojan war and brings alive the timeless message that there are neither winners nor losers at any war, but even through the disaster and despair caused by war, there is always hope and catharsis.

Directed by acclaimed theatre and film director Leonidas Loizides, with music by Mikis Theodorakis (composer of the “Zorba the Greek” film score).

Troades is appearing in other locations on the west coast:

November 1 – Seattle, WA
November 4 – Portland, OR
November 14 – Los Angeles, CA
November 15 – San Diego, CA

Talks on Cyprus will not be inhibited by hackers

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Opponents to the UN peace settlement have been reading the UN’s emails over the past 6 months and have released documents in which the Greek Cypriot party DIKO is labeled as “conservative” and “rigid” amongst other comments made.

This has caused a stir in the political circles of the island, as the negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are well on the way (again) and the UN wants to be perceived –if anything- as a stabilizing factor on the discussion table. According to a UN press release the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UN, Alexander Downer, has been cautiously optimistic because the two leaders were very commiterd to achieving a successful outcome.

Former Australian foreign minister of the Howard government, Mr Downer has been on the island since last June appointed as the UN “peacekeeper”. As for the exact role of the UN, he had to say that today there were new leaders and the United Nations was taking a different approach – to assist, not arbitrate. Downer has been holding twice weekly meetings with the leaders of both sides with a view to coming to some sort of solution before the December deadline, which is when the UN are due to withdraw their forces.

The discussions are focusing on governance and power-sharing issues, with a view to creating a “bi-zonal, bi-communall federation with political equality and a singular international personality.”

Concernign the course that the meetings have been taking he said that things unexpectedly arose during any negotiation and the response was to deal with them, not complain.

The UN do what they can to help the two sides but the UN are not writing blue prints.It’s for the leaders to negotiate a comprehensive settlement”, he said.

Invited to comment on information that he is in favor of Turkish army and settlers remaining on the island, after a solution is achieved, Downer said that as a “politician for many years I am used to people putting words in my mouth.”

“I don’t have any model that I think should be imposed on Cyprus and I am not promoting any particular model privately or publicly”, he remarked.

“I don’t think Cypriots want the United Nations to write the plan,”Mr Downer added. “I think they want to write their own history”.

Source: www.news.com.au, www.un.org, greekcity.com.au

A Hellenic corner in Peru

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Thousands of kilometres away from the Aegean’s blue waters or the rugged mountains of mainland Greece lies a kindergarden roughly an hour’s drive from the Peruvian capital of Lima. Located in a poor district, San Juan de Lurigancho, the school has been “adopted” since 2003 by the Greek state, which supplies the school with equipment and writing materials.
Pupils at the “Centro de Educacion Inicial Republica Helenica” wear blue and white uniforms and hoist both the Peruvian and Greek flags at the school.
In fact, Greece’s ambassador to the Andean nation, Amb. Yiannis Papadopoulos, visited the school in person on the occasion of the Oct. 28 national holiday, celebrated in the east Mediterranean country last week, where he was received by more than 200 pupils of the school.
The presence of Hellenism in Peru dates from the earliest Spanish colonial period, with the first Greek names appearing on texts dating to 1560, whereas there are some 40 registered Greek families in the country today.
“Greece is helping a school in one of the most downgraded areas of Lima. Both the children and teachers want to thank the country, and feel that it is a member of our family. It may sound strange, but in this neighbourhood Greece lives in all the families, as for several years now since the first years of the school’s operation, they (kindergardeners) are taught that Greeks are our brothers,” Principal Olinda Florentina Vasquez Rojas told the ANA-MPA
(source: ana-mpa)

Andronas takes major architectural prize

129 years after the first sod of soil was turned on the historic site of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne conservation architects Falkinger Andronas has taken out the prestigious Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage at the Australian Institute of Architects national award held in Melbourne yesterday.

The Melbourne-based architectural firm has been working to restore the stonework of the impressive neo-gothic cathedral for almost a decade.

Company director Arthur Andronas was elated this morning at the victory. “Last night when I was called up [to receive the award], I was surprised we had won it because there were another 18 national projects of excellent quality.”

Mr Andronas emphasised the nine years of hard work that had gone into the project, and the need for a major and detailed plan for a restoration project of this scale. “You also need to have a vision, a sense of where the work will go. The building itself is considered to have a substantial Byzantine flavour, with the interior banding drawing attention to the altar, so we tried to stay true to the building’s original form,” he said.

When asked by NKEE about what impact the prize will have on his architectural practice Mr Andronas said, “Now the capacity to work for federal government and for major institutions is easier. It also validates the skills and our experience that we have gathered over a long period of time.”

Mr Andronas will now begin to extend the practice overseas. “I am concentrating on stone conservation for the United States and India. We are in discussion with architectural firms there.”

He emphasised that his main focus is still Australia, where he will aim to secure large national projects.

At last night’s ceremony, the jury said: “Falkinger Andronas have been responsible for the conservation of both of Melbourne’s major cathedrals, and at St Paul’s have been involved for over nine years. The decay of the building has been slowed, stormwater failures have been addressed and the building surfaces cleansed, so that we can more readily appreciate the visual qualities of the cathedral as its designers intended.”

The Sydney based practice of Greek Australian architect Angelo Candalepas, Candalepas Associates, also won two awards; the National Architecture Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing, for Pindari, a multiple housing project in the Sydney suburb of Kensington; and the National Award for Public Architecture, for its design of the All Saints Primary School in the Sydney suburb of Belmore.
(source: neos kosmos)

Hedge-fund boss Elena Ambrosiadou buys superyacht Maltese Falcon

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Hedge-fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou has emerged as the mystery buyer of the Maltese Falcon, one of the world’s largest private yachts.
Greek-born Ambrosiadou, who runs Ikos Asset Management, bought the 289ft yacht from the American venture capitalist Tom Perkins in a deal believed to be worth £60m. Perkins was reported to have sold the yacht in August, but the new owner has never been named.
Ambrosiadou, 51, who divides her time between Cyprus, Greece and London, told The Sunday Times: “I chartered her with some friends last year and then last April I crossed the Atlantic with Tom, which took eight days. I fell in love with her — everyone falls in love with her sleek lines and signature masts.”
Ambrosiadou will use the yacht for only a few weeks a year — “I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I doubt if I’ll be spending much time on her”. Otherwise, the yacht can be chartered for £375,000 a week. “This is an enterprise,” she said.
Perkins built the Maltese Falcon four years ago as his own vision of the perfect yacht, basing it on an idea for a modern version of the clipper ships — fast merchant sailing vessels like the Cutty Sark.
It is named after the Dashiell Hammett crime novel and the Humphrey Bogart film version. The yacht’s trademark is its giant carbon-fibre masts, which have a suite of computer-operated sails. The boat has a crew of 18, but the sophisticated sail system means everything can be controlled by one person. Perkins, whose venture-capital firm helped finance the founding of Google, the internet search engine, wrote some of the sail software himself.
The Maltese Falcon has six guest cabins, eight crew cabins, a gym and a sculpture of a vintage Bugatti racing car. For fun, it carries two 32ft Pascoe RIB tenders (with water skis), four Laser sailing boats, and a 14ft Castoldi tender. The yacht also had a mini-submarine, but it is thought that Perkins plans to keep this.
Ambrosiadou, with an estimated fortune of £200m, founded Ikos with husband Martin Coward in 1992. A chemical engineer by training, she achieved early success at BP, becoming its youngest-ever senior international executive at 27.
Ambrosiadou moved Ikos Asset Management to Cyprus last year but still has offices in London and New York.
(source: times online uk)

Nick Verreos Talks about his New Plans and his Greek Heritage

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Nick Verreos is becoming one of the hottest fashion personalities in Hollywood. His “Nikolaki” brand is well established and celebrities are wearing his gowns at Hollywood premieres, Awards and other red carpet events. He has been on Project Runway, and recently started being a “style expert” on many TV shows. His father is a Greek-American and his family comes from Peloponese. His brand is named nikolaki after his name which in Greek is Nikos. Nick is very proud of his Greek heritage as he tells us in this exclusive interview.

Where are you from?
I was born in St. Louis Missouri (my dad was also born there so he wanted his first born to be born in his hometown), but I was raised in South America—Caracas, Venezuela to be exact. My mother is originally from Panama (confused enough?)

What is your Greek background? What part of Greece does your family come from?
My father is Greek-American—My Yiayia and Papou (his parents) came from the Village of Zatouna near Dimitsana—my family name is actually Verreopoulos but it was shortened when they arrived in the US in the early 1900’s.

Do you visit Greece often? Speak Greek?
Not as much as I would like. The last time I was in Greece was about ten years ago—when I went with my family on a trip throughout all of Europe and we ended in Greece. Five before that, my sister, Rita got married in Greece so I was there for her wedding.
I just got back from Europe where I was for a speaking engagement I did in Paris and Florence—but there wasn’t enough time for me to get some “downtime” in Greece unfortunately.
Since I was raised (since I was about 3 months old), in Caracas Venezuela—until I was about 12, my first language was Spanish and then we moved to the States and then I had to learn English so I never learned formal Greek. I just picked up phrases and greetings (and bad words) here and there whenever we visited my dad’s side of the family.

How did you become a designer? Was this your first career?
I always drew well (or so my mom and dad would tell me) and for some reason, I always sketched women/models in fashion so I became quite good at it. I continued to have this “secret” hobby of mine throughout high school and my time at UCLA, where I majored in Political Science/International Relations (my dad was a Diplomat and I wanted to “make him proud” and follow in his footsteps).
After UCLA, I decided to pursue my love and study Fashion Design—much to my parent’s delight—and I attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising/FIDM in LA, where I graduated suma cum laude, so I guess this is what I was meant to do.

Did you do any other jobs before?
Before becoming a designer and beginning my line NIKOLAKI, in 2001, yes I had many jobs. While at UCLA, I worked in sales/retail at Macy’s and other department stores (typical college job) and I was an Assistant at a Commodities Futures Trading Commission of the US Government, if you can believe it. I did that for three years!
Then of course, everything changed after I attended fashion school and for approximately 10 years, I worked as an assistant designer, patternmaker, design assistant, everything and anything, before I began my own company.

Talk to us about the «Barbie» project.
Well, as you may (or may not know), while I was on Season 2 of Project Runway, I won the “Barbie Challenge” with the prize being that my Barbie was sold at Toys ‘R Us across the US and it became an instant “classic” (I hear you can find it on EBay for $5,000!). Cut to four years later, I am one of the Head Instructors at FIDM (my alma mater) and I was approached by Mattel to see if FIDM would be interested to have their top students design a Barbie outfit for her 50th Anniversary celebrations. They wanted me to be the Mentor of this special “challenge” and also, naturally, they asked me to design a gown for the celebrations as well. I designed the “Malibu Barbie” gown for her Birthday Party at her Malibu Mansion.

When did you come to Hollywood and how was the beginning?
I have been in LA since I came here to attend UCLA, so I have been here for over 17 years (crazy!). Being in LA was a bit overwhelming at first but I grew to enjoy the weather, the sun, the beach. It was just hard to “keep up with the Hollywood Joneses” as they say. Everyone was too perfect, too fabulous, with the perfect cars, the perfect multi-million dollar homes. Soon I discovered it was all “smoke and mirrors” and there was lots of phoniness. The way I handled being in this crazy town was to make sure to set up a small group of “family” (friends) who were all real, grounded and not so involved in the rest of the crazy madness of “Hollywood”. Being a fashion designer in a non-fashion designer town also helped.

Many say that the people of LA do not have a fashion sense. Do you think we are worse than other cities?
LA has its own unique fashion sense. It does get a bad rap, especially when people outside of LA think the “LA look” is all those douche bag looking Christian Audgier/Ed Hardy graphic t-shirts that Jon from “Jon and Kate Plus 8” unfortunately likes to wear. There is certainly an element of tackiness in what some people think is “LA fashion” but at the same time, a lot of trends begin here in Southern California.

Lots of designers—especially NY based ones—come to LA to get inspired, find out the latest trends, visit all of our famous “Vintage Couture” shops, go to Fred Segal, Kitson and go to Robertson Blvd and Rodeo Drive to see what’s hot. Since we are such a “celebrity-obsessed” culture, this (whether good or bad) makes LA definitely be a “hot spot” for fashion and trends.
Do I think it’s worse than other cities? No, not really. It’s all relative I think. Do I think people, in general may dress better in NY for example? Possibly. But I do feel since NY actually has a summer, fall, winter, etc., there are more ways to be creative with your style and clothing on the East Coast, and especially New York City.

Which cities in the world have the best dressed people according to you?
Anywhere in Italy! It still amazes me how chic and polished, especially all the men—from the garbage man to the police officer to the bank accountant—look in Italy. From head to toe! And they don’t have qualms about looking “too feminine” or wearing a bright pink shirt with a bright pink tie. Whereas here in the US, the word “gay” would come up, and you know how straight men have their issues with that! It is also great to see 80 year old Italian men looking fabulous, from the perfect camel wool coat to the fabulously-shined leather loafers. You never see 80 year men here in States looking that well put together. They’re usually in Bermuda shorts, white socks, Teva sandals and a fanny pack!

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment in life and/or career?
When I was asked to be part of the Sears holiday ad campaign, along with “High School Musical’s” Vanessa Hudgens and LL Cool J. This was an unbelievable moment to have my own commercial and to be aired all over the US—in both the English and Spanish markets, especially since it involved me telling a “wish story” about my Grandmother giving me my first sewing machine back when I was a young boy. It was a wonderful moment for me.
In addition, I must say, just the fact that I get to do what I love to do—and make money from it—is enough of an accomplishment for me and I feel blessed for it.

Do you have Greek-American friends?
I do. One of my best Greek friends is the owner of Decades Two, a boutique here in LA, and one of my favorite stylists is also Greek. We both don’t speak such good Greek so we bond over that—and how other Greeks “shun us” for it! For some reason, my Greek “brothers and sisters” get up in arms when I tell them I don’t speak that much Greek. It’s akin to blasphemy!!! I used to sit there for HOURS trying to explain why but I would still get the “You’re a BAD Greek!” look. I just laugh now.
I also have a great time any time I have to do any TV work with one of my favorite Greek “sisters”, Debbie Matenopoulos—she’s a CRAZY Greek!!! Love her—she has such a potty mouth on her—she’ll curse in Greek for like 5 minutes—I don’t know what she said but you know just from her hand gestures that it isn’t good!

Any future plans for “Nikolaki” ?
More red carpet gowns, more beautiful celebs wearing my gowns and dresses. More fashion shows—and possibly a NIKOLAKI “Web store” for next year. I’m also working on a possible HSN (Home Shopping Network) line so women all over the US, from size 0-18, can buy a “piece” of NIKOLAKI at a much lower price! Otherwise, there are my $10,000 gowns instead!

Any plans for work in other fields?
I’m really enjoying all the TV work I have been doing in the last three years. I just finished shooting a pilot for the Style Network and working on different projects, involving being a red carpet “style expert” and hosting, which I feel is a natural extension of me and my brand.

What is your typical day?
I get up around 8 or 9 AM, have a big cup of coffee, watch “The View”, then get on the computer and return emails, do my blog (www.nickverreos.com), take care of orders, call back stylists, have a couple of fabric meetings and then I “get to work” in terms of working on my collection, draping my gowns and doing the patterns.
On the days I teach, I leave my studio mid-day to teach for 6-8 hours on top of the above. This usually happens twice a week but now I find I just don’t have the time for that so I try to only teach once a week because of my crazy schedule.
My day usually ends at around 8 or 9 PM, I return back to the studio, take care of more blog or website stuff, deal with my My Space, Facebook and all the other stuff, have dinner around 10 PM and then my day is done. If I can get to the gym, somehow I do. And yes, in case you wondered, I barely sleep!

(Photo credit:kazphoto.com)

10 smokers’ paradises: A guide for globe-trotters from the LA Times

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With so many places around the world instituting smoking regulations, increasing taxes and, quite literally, kicking smokers to the curb, it’s getting harder to find cigarette-friendly vacation spots.
But not every country is trying to kill that buzz. On the flip side, some of them, such as Greece, are attempting to crack down but are failing miserably.
You may feel alone smoking in some major U.S. cities, so The Los Angeles Times just compiled a list of countries with the most prevalent tobacco use among people aged 15 or older, based on 2005 data from the World Health Organization.
Nonsmokers, too, will want to take note of the list. As you might guess, a smoker’s paradise can be, in turn, a nonsmoker’s hell.

1. Greece: Because their country belongs to the European Union, Greeks are exposed to smoking literature and regulations that condemn the habit.

But that’s not going to stop them. More than half of all adults, or 51.8%, living in Greece smoke tobacco. It’s the only country above the halfway mark, according to the WHO data.

Surprisingly, though, tobacco use among Greek adolescents is relatively low, at 16.2%. That puts the number of Greek users aged 13 to 15 at No. 76 of all countries where data were collected.

Maybe all that anti-tobacco talk is starting to influence the younger generation. Either that or their parents are. Ask most kids, and you’ll find that anything Mom and Dad do is uncool.

2. Nauru: This tiny island republic near Papua New Guinea was previously known as Pleasant Island. That’s probably because nobody told the legion of smokers about lung cancer. WHO reports that 49.2% of the island’s inhabitants smoke tobacco. Still, we’re guessing Marlboro hasn’t bothered targeting the 14,000 or so living there.

3. Russia: Some Russians use cigarettes as a way to trick the body into feeling warmer. It’s no wonder then that 48.5% of the Russian Federation population uses tobacco. Smokers heading for the frozen motherland should probably bring along a pack of smokes and a bottle of vodka. It’s a party!

4. Austria: While much of America’s narrow view of Austrians may center around California’s governor, the health buff, it’s hard to imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron and puffing smoke. In fact, Schwarzenegger is a “cigar aficionado” of sorts. And 43.3% of people who live in Austria consume tobacco.

5. Belarus: Unsurprisingly, the former Soviet Union territory, which is bordered by Russia to the north and east, picked up the nicotine habit. Of about 9 million residents, 42.6% of the adults use tobacco.

6. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Looking for a smoking-friendly place with varied climate and topography? This southeastern European country isn’t a bad spot. You won’t feel left out when you light up because 42.3% of adults will be right there with you.

7. Serbia: As it turns out, smoking is pretty hip in southeastern Europe. Adult smoking in Serbia parallels that of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tobacco popularity among adolescents is similar as well — around 13%.

8. Samoa: Looking for a tropical isle on which to lounge around, cigarette in hand? Forty-one percent of adults in the island nation of Western Samoa, located in the Pacific Ocean, puff on tobacco.

9. Laos: WHO data were incomplete for Vietnam and Myanmar, also known as Burma — although what we have show strong signs of tobacco use. But for the bordering Lao People’s Democratic Republic, smokers are aplenty, encompassing 40.5% of the adult population. Interestingly, Laos has even fewer adolescent smokers than Greece does, amounting to just under 9%.

10. Hungary: Smoking is just as prevalent in the central part of the Continent as in the southeastern part. Smokers looking for a safe haven won’t be alone: Hungary is a popular tourist destination.
(source: LA Times)

Canada’s Gov. Gen. in Athens

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The Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, on Friday evening attended the “Art Matters” forum in Athens along with her Canadian filmmaker husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, with the focus on possible film co-productions between Greece and Canada as well as international film festivals.
Jean and her husband were welcomed to the forum — which was created by Lafond — by the president of the Greek Film Centre Giorgos Papalios.
Metropolitan of Canada Sotirios accompanied Canada’s Governor General.
(source: ana-mpa)

Odysseus Language Tutor Teaches You Greek Online

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The Odysseas Greek Language Tutor is an interactive learning program designed to teach the Greek language on the Internet using the latest e-learning principles and advanced user interface technology. The Tutor is designed to emulate how an actual personal tutor would instruct a student. It provides several examples and no-risk quizzes so that students are familiar with the exam format ahead of time to ease stress. After each exam the student receives customized feedback based on his/her performance. The Tutor also tracks the progress of students through several exams to ensure that they are making steady progress. Developed by the Hellenic Studies Media Group at Simon Fraser University thanks to the generous support of the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.
(source: greek insight)