Dracopoulos: The Soul of this Project is You, 180,000 at the SNFestival

Andreas Dracopoulos, SNF Co-President speaks during NYPL's the Annual Spring Dinner. (Photo by TNH)

ATHENS – The curtain fell on this year’s Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival) at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) on June 24, with a moving speech by Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) co-President Andreas Dracopoulos.

A short video of the highlights of the SNFestival,which began on June 17, as well as a unique fireworks display followed the speech and rounded out the closing night.

Anna Vissi took to the stage as well and entertained the thousands in the audience at the SNFCC. The rain that swept through on Sunday did not dampen the festive mood and atmosphere. Well known actor and writer Thodoris Atheridis introduced Dracopoulos.

The SNF co-president greeted the crowd and thanked everyone for their presence, despite the rain. He reminded everyone that the SNFestival is the week that SNF returns home to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC).

Despite the bad weather, Dracopoulos continued, this year there were more attendees than last year, 180,000 people since last Sunday, June 17. At least year’s SNFestival the numbers were about 170,000. “The soul of this work is you,” he said, adding that everyone at the Foundation was happy to share all the festival programs with the public.

Next year’s Summer Nostos Festival will take place the week of June 23-30, and since June 23 is also International Olympic Day, the SNF Run will be held that day within the framework of the Festival. A road race, as Dracopoulos pointed out, referring to Saturday’s SNF Runthat even the rain cannot stop.

This year, the race included a 10K and a 6K run, as well as a 1K race for Special Olympics athletes. The race began at the Panathenaic Stadium and finished at the SNFCC. Despite the heavy rain, more than 3,800 runners participated in the race which is organized in collaboration with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, supervised by the NGO Regeneration & Progress, and is under the auspices of the Hellenic Police. The SNF RUN is made possible through an exclusive grant by the SNF, as part of the SNFestival.

Dracopoulos thanked Regeneration & Progress as well as the Hellenic Police for organizing and conducting the race. He also referred to the 7th SNF Conference on Philanthropy the three-day event which focused on disruption.

The full text of the speech follows:

“Good evening, thank you all who came here today, despite all the rain. This week, as you know, is the week that we return home, in part, as a foundation, this week has been from Sunday to today, and despite all the rain and bad weather, you’ve been gathering this year more than you were last year. Well, bravo! Because again the soul of this work is you. We are talking about a number of about 180,000 people who came from last Sunday until today and despite the rain. Well, thank you! We are very happy to be able to share this week with you and all the programs we have. Next year, for those who are interested, the SNFestival will be June23-30.

“One of the reasons is thatJune 23rd is the International Olympic Day and the road race, as you saw yesterday, the rain cannot stop it. It was a great road and contest, and that’s why we thank a lot of people, especially Regeneration & Progress, Takis Koulouvaris, Stavros Boglou, the Hellenic Police, who helped make this racepossible, and thanksto all those who came to the conference, because this week there is also work. We have the Philanthropy Conference which was three days this year and is, every year,a part of the Nostos week.

“Because everything you can enjoy this week is not just a matter of money, it’s a matter of great skill and philotimo, and there are many people behind all that you see and generally the co-operation that we have as an institution because we continue and help Cultural Center, which, as you know, belongs to the State and we have a perfect cooperation, so this work goes so well.

“You will be a little patient for some names, because again, as I said, more than the financial support, are the people who are behind all this work, all this week, which takes almost all of their time to prepare it .

“Well, thanks to our Foundation (we thank you): Elly Andriopoulou, Mily Paschali, Asimina Koutroumpousi, Thanasis Politis, Sofia Kornarou, Lenia Vlavianou, Elenia Saloutsi, Titika Emmanouil, Georgia Kardaki, Christos Gekas, Ioanna Kiosse, Alexia Vasilikou, Vassilis Laliotis, Lina Giotaki, Stavros Vassilakis, Nancy McKinstry, Alex Simon-Fox, Panos Papoulias, Dimitra Chatzivasiliou, Nikos Pantelias, Pavlos Pesaros, Panayiotis Kranias, and others.

“Again, a great thank you to all our colleagues for what we are able to offer. Also, from the Cultural Center, which I recall, because many misunderstand many times, is a totally different organization from our Foundation, thank you: Nikos Manolopoulos, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dimitris Protopsalou, CEO, Christina Vasilikou, the Zacharia Vailakis, Alexis Koutsakos, Katerina Kotsiarini. Also, Elpidoforos Pappas, Stavros Stavropoulos, Sarra Kostala, George Hozos, and all the facilities group, Nicholas Yatromanolakis, Elli Gardiki, Athena Balopoulou, Odysseus Megalooikonomou, Katerina Markadaki… It is important that many names are mentioned because, again, it’sa tremendous effort to make this happen… Gabriella Triantafyllis, Maria Pavlidi, Evi Kaisari, Christina Papadopoulou, Kostas Giannatos, Natassa Zacharioudaki, Dimitra Kalantoni, Christina Coveou, Alexandros Soumplis, Kleopatra Koutra, Michalis Andreadis. A great thank you to all those thanks to whomwe are here today.

“Also, and I finish, I do not know if I said it, next year it is June 23-30,the same week. Let’s thank the 130 new interns and the 170 volunteers who were here this week to facilitate the project. And of course the production company, View Master, which again despite the adverse conditions has succeeded and has done this work and is doing great.

“Finally, before seeing a video with the highlights of this week, why it all matters, because again, apart from the artistic and sports activities, there was also the conference. And a big thank you to Elize, to Constantine, to Arianne [Dracopoulos’ children].”