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An international conference titled “Sparta-Israel: Renewing an Ancient Friendship” has successfully taken place in Sparta, Greece, on September 2 & 3 2018. The conference was organised by the Municipality of Sparta, B’nai B’rith Philon Lodge and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute. In a broader sense, the Sparta-Israel Conference aimed at a deeper acquaintance and mutual understanding between Greeks and Israelis, following the historically recorded friendship between ancient Sparta and the People of Israel.

The participants were welcomed on behalf of the organisers by Dr. Angelos Kolokouris, President of the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute.  The Mayor of Sparta, Mr. Evangelos Valiotis officially opened the conference. A welcoming address was delivered by the Deputy Regional Governor and one of the conference sponsors, Mrs Adamantia Tzanetea. The keynote speaker on the first day of the conference was Mr. Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President and CEO, B’nai B’rith International, Washington, DC.

Distinguished speakers from Greece and abroad presented the archeological findings and historical research that confirm the existence of an ancient friendship between ancient Sparta and the People of Israel. Ensuing discussions explored modern day issues such as the possibilities for further cooperation between Greece and Israel and the future of Greek-Israeli relations.

Among the speakers were the Former Chief of the Greek Air Force, ret. General Theologos Symeonidis, Dr. Angelos Kolokouris, CEO of the AI Initiative, Professor Sophia Zyga from the University of Peloponnese, George Zisimatos, Managing Director of the Directorate for the Hellenic Armed Forces Real Estate Development, Dr. Anna Lambropoulou, Director, Institute for Historical Studies, National Institute for Research, Dr E. Lianos-Liantis, Special Secretariat for Cultural Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Professor Noah Hacham from Hebrew University, and Professor Panagiotis Liargovas from the University of Peloponnese.

The conference ended with 2 interesting panel discussions facilitated by Dr. George Tzogopoulos, Senior Fellow, Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies. The two panels addressed (a) key aspects of geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean and (b) cooperation parameters and potential towards development and growth between for the two nations. These ground-breaking panels included Professor Spyros Litsas from the University of Macedonia, Professor Theodoros Tsakiris from the Unniversity of Nicosia, Professor Panagiotis Liargovas from the University of Peloponnese, Dr. Angelos Kolokouris, President of the AI Initiative, and Dr. Stergios Katichoritis, Architect-Civil Engineer.

The Army Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, honored with his presence the conference. The conference was also attended by representatives of the Peleponnese Regional Government, the Municipality of Sparta, and all the professional institutions of the area.

Conference sponsors were the Hellenic Post, the Greek National Tourism Organisation, and the Municipality of Peloponnese. Communication Sponsors were ERT2, ERT World, ERT3, First Program, the Voice of Greece, and ERT Tripoli.