Reclaiming the Future from Ancient Greece

Avigliano

My name is Giuseppe, I am 26 years old. I work in a library. I have a degree in Classical Literature and now I am studying Philosophy. I live in Eboli, a small town in southern Italy.

There were four of us. It was the last morning of the European Youth Dialogue 2014 in Thessaloniki. At that moment Olga, the director of the local hbs office said: “Hey guys, come outside. I must show you something!”
So early in the morning the sun was already hot. Its light reflected on the surface of the sea.
“Do you see right in front of you beyond the sea the mountain with the snowy peaks? That’s the Olympus!”
I don’t know when I heard of the Mount Olympus for the first time. Probably it was already in my childhood, when someone told me a story which happened on this mountain. Teachers in primary school surely taught me its history. I came across it on many pages in the books I read in my spare time. It featured in the films I watched and also in some of my favourite singers’ songs. When I studied for my degree in classical literature I came across it in many amazing verses. But it never occurred to me that one day I would be so close to the Olympus without even realising it.

The first day in Thessaloniki twenty interesting workshops took place simultaneously from morning to evening. I took part in two of them. The first, in the morning, was about “a new European narrative”. During four hours we discussed the possibility to create a new way to narrate Europe by means of three main issues: history, the current multiple crisis and the analysis of populist language. The discussion took us from Homer and his narrative of ancient Greek to the present day, from literature to philosophy, from economics to politics.
Simply put, it was a discussion about Europe.
In the afternoon I participated in another creative and interesting workshop. Already its title caught my attention “Anything essential is invisible to the eyes…or is it?” Iva, the moderator, engaged us in a series of activities trying to show us our most common stereotypes. In one of these exercises she asked us to quickly draw something as a reaction to certain words or concepts she suggested, for example “racism”, “gipsy”, “refugee” etc.
On paper the first idea that comes to mind takes shape, so – maybe – our own stereotypes. This could be a great exercise in order to better understand who we are and what we think in our subconscious. The second step must be the deconstruction of these stereotypes or – at least – a reflection / self analysis of them.
These were just two of twenty workshops. And this was just the first of our three days in Greece.

Standing at the port of Thessaloniki, I hoped the Olympus could echo our words and – why not? – also our dreams.

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