THI Canada Presented Online Discussion- “Who Owns History?”

March 27, 2022

TORONTO – The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Canada New Leaders Speaker Series continued with Who Owns History? The Case for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles online on March 24. The discussion, featuring guest speaker Geoffrey Robertson, barrister, and moderated by Nik Nanos, Chief Data Scientist and Founder of Nanos Research Corporation and the newest director on THI Canada’s Board, explored one of the biggest questions in the world of arts and culture – Who owns history, and should property taken without consent be returned to its place of origin?

Moderator Nik Nanos and guest speaker Geoffrey Robertson duringThe Hellenic Initiative (THI) Canada New Leaders Speaker Series discussion Who Owns History? The Case for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles. Photo: TNH Staff

Robertson is the author of Who Owns History?: Elgin’s Loot and the Case for Returning Plundered Treasure, available in English and Greek in bookstores and online. Robertson’s judgment is uncompromising: Cultural heritage belongs to the people whose history it is a part of, unless its return would impose danger to the artwork itself. And since the movement for the restitution of cultural property is based on human rights and international law, governments that want it back must show respect for the rights of the peoples on whose behalf they make the claim.

Who Owns History? not only delves into the crucial debate over the Marbles, but examines how the past can be experienced by everyone, as well as by the people of the country of origin.

THI Canada co-President John Sotos gave the welcoming remarks and introduced the event’s moderator Nik Nanos. He then introduced Robertson who offered his insights on the subject, noting that the Parthenon is the only Ancient Wonder of the World “that survives today, albeit bifurcated and despoiled by Lord Elgin, it remains, however, superb and unique in our civilization of what we possess of the cultural heritage of the past.”

Robertson has had a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading textbooks. He has argued many landmark cases in media, constitutional and criminal law in the European Court of Justice; the European Court of Human Rights; the Supreme Court (House of Lords and Privy Council); the UN War Crimes courts; the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and in the highest courts of many commonwealth countries.

The fascinating discussion continued with a Q&A session with Nanos and with Peter Paraschis, THI Canada New Leader, and questions submitted by the viewers.

Steven Makrinos, THI Canada Director, gave the closing remarks, thanking the participants for the thought-provoking talk and thanking the viewers and supporters of THI Canada and its mission.

More information about THI Canada is available online: https://ca.thehellenicinitiative.org.

Video of the discussion is available on YouTube:


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