Monthly Archives: October 2015

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The Neraida Floating Museum makes its return

A Historic Return

After four decades of distinguished service around the Adriatic, the Neraida Floating Museum made its historic return trip to Leonidio. From the 1st to the 8th of September, this unique piece of living history docked in order to offer members of the public free tours of the ship, as well as offering several maritime exhibitions and educational activities for children. During its time in the idyllic town, the Neraida drew impressive crowds as citizens and tourists alike took the chance to immerse themselves in Adriatic history.

The vessel was converted into a mobile museum in 2010 in order to memorialise the life’s work of John S. Latsis, an instrumental figure in 20th century Greek commerce, as well as praising the rich history of the vessel itself. His son, Spiro Latsis, an entrepreneur and prominent figure in the Greek shipping industry, spearheaded the restoration of his father’s ship. In addition to its historical value, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation created the Neraida as a tool for sharing and exploring the past and present work of The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which has various educational and humanitarian projects throughout Greece and beyond.

An Adriatic Origin Story

Originally sailing under the name ‘Laurana’ in 1939, the vessel had a variety of uses throughout World War 2 as a cargo and rescue ship before being captured by the British, whereupon it became a part of the Allied war effort. The enterprising John S. Latsis purchased the boat in 1949 and refitted her under the name ‘Neraida’. For a quarter of a century the Neraida was an instrumental part of Adriatic society, facilitating the lives and prosperity of locals and tourists alike through freight and passenger transportation. Among these many islands and archipelagoes such a vessel was a social and economic lifeline. It was during this time that her points of service were expanded to include Leonidio, among others, whom she now re-visits in an echo of her past.

Spiro Latsis

The Neraida was retired in 1974 and lay dormant for thirty six years, preserved as is by John S. Latsis out of respect for its crucial part in his life’s success. Four years after John Latsis’ death the son of the shipping tycoon, Spiro Latsis, had the vessel resurrected in 2010 as ‘The Neraida Floating Museum’ after careful restoration at NCP shipyards in Sibenik, Croatia.

The Maritime Museum

For the past five years The Neraida Floating Museum has returned to the waters of its youth, revitalised by its new historic purpose and laden with memories rather than cargo. The museum continues to expand its past range, from destinations such as Methana, Spetses and Aegina, to its recent and significant return to Leonidio, forty years later.

The ship itself is a stunning snapshot of 20th Century shipbuilding, as the core character has been preserved and augmented for the appreciation of maritime enthusiasts as well as that of any member of the public who walks its gangplank. Within the vessel the museum itself has been carefully constructed with a wealth of detail, exploring every part of its illustrious career from wartime missions to present day activities, and everything in between. Perhaps most importantly the ship educates guests on current affairs as well as past exploits, with the exhibition on the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation being the main attraction for many visitors.

The non-profit organisation was founded in 2005 to commemorate and continue the work of its namesake, John S. Latsis. With projects spanning across environmental conservation, social welfare programmes, affirmative educational schemes and cultural celebrations, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is a true force in maintaining the vitality of Greece and the region as a whole.

Past, Present and Future of ‘The Little Ship’

The Neraida Floating Museum docked in the port of Plaka, Leonidio from the 1st to the 8th of September 2015. During this time hundreds of visitors marveled at this vibrant memento of the 20th Century, whether it be a local stepping back into their childhood or a family of tourists gaining a true insight into Adriatic history.

If you didn’t manage to catch the Neraida during its stop in Leonidio, there are plenty more chances to do so as it continues the retracing of its old shipping routes far into the future.

The Neraida Floating Museum has a range of activities and exhibitions on offer for all ages. For more information on future schedules and the ship itself, you can visit The Neraida’s official site.

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John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation Funds International Early Balkans Cinema Conference

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, along with subsidiary Neraida Floating Museum, has funded the first international conference on early cinema in the Balkans and the Middle East, with focus on the beginnings to the interwar period from 1896 until 1940. The conference took place from June 5th until June 7th 2015 and was held in the Central Building of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, with parallel screenings of filmed material from the period held at the Greek Film Archives. There were a series of keynote addresses and discussions held over the three days relating to a wide variety of historical cinematic events and achievements from the Balkans and the wider Middle East.

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation funds a wide variety of programmes within the fields of social welfare, education, scientific research, culture, health and the environment, as well as additional diversified activities through the operation of the Neraida Floating Museum. Established in 2005 to continue the legacy of Greek philanthropist and entrepreneur John S. Latsis, the Foundation seeks to respond to social needs from problem-solving actions to highlighting various aspects of Greek culture and history. The Foundation was established by the Latsis family – John’s widow Henrietta Latsis and his three children, Spiro Latsis, Margarita Latsis and Marianna Latsis. Son Spiro Latsis also took over many of his late father’s business interests following his passing in 2003.

The First International Conference for Early Cinema in the Middle East and Balkans

The 2015 international conference for early cinema in the regions of the Balkans and the Middle East was the first attempt to bring together global researchers, academics and scientists specialising in early speaking and silent films produced outside of the mainstream cinema productions of Hollywood and Europe. The focus of the conference was on examining the creation of national filmmaking, the interaction between pioneering makers of films in the region such as the Manakia brothers and the ways cinematographic product was produced and consumed during this transitionary period. The time was characterised by the Ottoman Empire’s decline and ultimate fall, colonial and imperialist intervention and the emergence of nation states. Key issues such as these were discussed by researchers both from the particular region in question and from the wider European and North American communities. Keynote speakers included Dina Iordanova from the University of St. Andrew’s, Hamid Naficy from the Northwestern University and Viola Shafik from the Ludwig Maximilian University and the Humbolt University. The event was hosted by the Hellenic Open University altcine and Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies. It was supported by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and sponsored by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Modern Greek Studies Association.

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Film Screenings at the Greek Film Archives

Night screenings of material filmed during the period from 1896 to 1940 were held at the Greek Film Archives in conjunction with the conference. These film archives, being presented for the first time in Greece, were from the Netherlands, Romania and the wider Mediterranean area, featuring live sounds and music from Parallel Universe, 8HM2/3 and Christos A. Goussios. The programme of screenings included an ethnographic documentary production about Transylvania which received an award in the 1939 Venice Film Festival and one of the first ever animation productions to come out of Romania. The Greek Film Archives and the Neraida Floating Museum further hosted a series of workshops and discussions on Sunday June 7th.

The Neraida Floating Museum

The Neraida Floating Museum is situated on the Neraida ship first purchased by John S. Latsis in 1949, which would become one of his most beloved business activities. While not the most profitable enterprise, the Neraida nevertheless sailed for almost 25 years with visitors to the Argosaronic islands, bringing luxury and comfort to the coastal shipping sector in Greece. John S. Latsis later kept the vessel in port for more than three decades in recognition of her importance to his business start-up. The Latsis family in 2007 began the process of converting the Neraida into a floating museum, with the main focus of the exhibition being the business history of John S. Latsis. The museum offers free access to visitors and aims to highlight Greek maritime history, promote environmental awareness and familiarise Greek youth with the sailing profession, as well as organising a series of events relating to the maritime theme.

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The 16th Trento Summer School

The 16th consecutive annual Trento Summer School was organised this year with financial support from the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. This years’ Summer School was offered by CEEL, the Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, with the title of “Inequality and the Changing Distribution of Income”. The School, which took place from the 15th to the 26th of June 2015, invited interested parties such as newly minted researchers in finance, macroeconomics and the economics of institutions and organisations, PhD students or post-doctoral fellows to apply to participate.

The 16th Summer School

The theme of the 16th Trento Summer School was exploring how inequality affects economic performance. The school addressed critical questions relating to this theme, including whether or not increases in inequality undermine economic performance using improved measures to yield a better understanding of both international and domestic patterns of inequality. Students were also invited to present their own work on the topic and receive critical feedback from faculty members.

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation provides funding for a variety of projects within Greece and overseas, focusing on the fields of scientific research, education, social welfare, healthcare, the environment and culture. It was established in 2005 as a continuation of the benevolent legacy of the late John S. Latsis, renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist who contributed much to his home country throughout his life both in times of emergency or crisis and through establishing ongoing programmes such as scholarship funds. The Foundation is run by a carefully selected executive board under the family supervisory board, which is comprised of Henrietta Latsis, widow of John S. Latsis and his three children Marianna, Margarita and Spiro Latsis. John’ S. Latsis’ son Spiro Latsis also manages many of the business interests of his late father. The Foundation seeks to respond to and remain in sync with current social needs and evaluate funding applications based on criteria such as sustainability, relevance and effectiveness.

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The Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory (CEEL)

The 16th Trento Summer School was offered by CEEL, part of the University of Trento’s Department of Economics and Management. CEEL uses experimental methods to advance understanding in the field of how human cognition can affect economic behaviour. Research draws from cognitive psychology, economics and organisational studies in lively interdisciplinary environments. In addition to Summer Schools, CEEL also offers opportunities for research training for young scholars through a variety of mediums including research grants, workshops and partnerships with PhD programmes.

University of Trento Summer Schools Overview

For sixteen consecutive years Summer Schools have been held at the University of Trento. Since 2008 these Schools have been run in collaboration with the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation as part of its aim to support a series of summer schools organised by CEEL over a period of ten years. The subject matter each year revolves around economic issues, which each time are examined from a different perspective. The duration of the programme each year is fifteen days and the Foundation commits to ensuring that at least two Greek students are able to secure participation providing all criteria are met. The organisers of the Trento Summer School focus on ensuring distinguished academics from universities across the world have the opportunity to participate and further gather eligible young researchers from many different nationalities. Previous topics covered include looking at public finances, addressing financial crises, exploring the role of networks and other finance related subject matters.

Participation Criteria for the 16th University of Trento Summer School

Applicants interested in participating in a Trento Summer School are asked to apply online by the deadline, usually approximately two months prior to the commencement of the school (which was by April 23rd this year). Admissions decisions this year were announced on May 4th, six weeks before the first day of the programme. Applicants must submit a variety of papers to indicate their interest in and suitability for the programme. These include a copy of curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, a PhD programme course transcript, a two page essay detailing their interest in and knowledge of the chosen theme, statements about any current or proposed research and any relevant completed research papers if available. Sessions this year were held at Trento’s Hotel Villa Madruzzo in Italy.