In celebration of Lord Byron's 200th anniversary as the leader of the Greek forces in western Greece, New York College (NYC) unveiled the “NYC Lord Byron Room” on its campus in Athens. The ceremony was graced by an official representative of the Chief-of-Staff of Greece, alongside Olympian Pyrros Dimas, Archimandrite Aristarchos Grekas, and Mr. Elias Foutsis, Hon PhD, the Founder and President of NYC.
To mark the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron's appointment as the “political and military leader” in western Greece by the Greek authorities on January 25, 1824, 1 p.m., during the Greek War of Independence, New York College inaugurated the “NYC Lord Byron Room”—the largest and most distinguished lecture room on the NYC Athens Campus—on January 25, 2024, at exactly 1 p.m.
Major General Dimitrios Economides, the official representative of General Demetrios Houpis, the Chief-of-Staff of the contemporary Armed Forces of Greece, graced the ceremony. In a symbolic gesture during the ribbon-cutting, Major General Economides was joined by the highly revered four-time Olympian Pyrros Dimas and Archimandrite Aristarchos Grekas, an associate professor in the School of Theology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Archimandrite Grekas conducted the consecration of the permanent artistic exhibition in the room dedicated to honoring Lord Byron.
The bicentenary commenced with representatives of NYC students, accompanied by their professors, visiting the National Historical Museum in the Old Parliament. Guided by the College's academic team, they explored exhibits highlighting Souliot warriors, the Greek Fleet, and Lord Byron's role in the Greek War of Independence.
Today's events mark the continuation of New York College's anniversary activities for the Bicentennial of the Greek Struggle of Independence (1821-1833). They involve the participation of prominent figures and a focus on significant aspects of the Greek Revolution. Indicatively, NYC organized notable events in 2021, including:
- A day conference at the Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall, under the theme “Dredes: on the Front Line of the Greek Revolution,” shedding light on forgotten heroes in Messinia during the Greek War of Independence.
- A recitation of the “Speech of Kolokotronis to the Youth at the Pnyx” by General Frangoulis Frangos, Honorary Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of Greece, held at the podium of the classical orators of ancient Athens, in the shadow of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. After 183 years, General Frangos’ recitation brought the historic speech to the present, in same place where Theodoros Kolokotronis, Commander of the revolutionaries in Southern Greece during the Greek War of Independence, first delivered it.
- An online day seminar, titled “The Contribution of Ioannis Kapodistrias to Ethics and Education,” featuring the participation of Natalia Kapodistrias, the last descendant of the Kapodistrias family, and other notable speakers.
The commemorative activities also encompassed the creation of a music video clip by the NYC Film Studies Department, titled “The Bicentennial Great Walk of Athens,” presenting 36 masterpieces by great European painters, set to the musical rhythm of Vangelis Papathanasiou (VANGELIS), among various other bicentenary initiatives.
The President and Founder of the NYC International Educational Group, Elias Foutsis, Hon PhD, in his inauguration speech at the unveiling of the NYC Lord Byron Room, underlined that “anyone who does not remember their history is doomed to relive it; consequently, we strive to adopt a holistic approach to education in our institution, benefiting the young people around us.”
In conclusion, today's bicentenary events not only mark the continuation of NYC’s anniversary activities for the Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence but also symbolize NYC’s profound commitment to historical remembrance, cultural celebration, and holistic education. These initiatives underscore the importance of preserving and understanding Greece's rich heritage for the benefit of future generations, solidifying New York College's role in fostering a deep appreciation for Greek history and European culture.