The all-day colloquy was held 19 June at the Hellenic Centre in London followed the next day, 20 June, by the launch of the MISSING global awareness campaign at the forecourt of the British Museum. The launch was described as a “peaceful show of support with a heartfelt message.” The historic event was timed to coincide with the third year anniversary of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum and the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics one month later. The MISSING campaign is an initiative created by ACRPS. The creative will run online at MissingSince1801.com, with a developing extendable multi-format platform to unite and mobilize support for the cause.
Co-presented by The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (ACRPS), and The International Organizing Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles (IOC-A-RPM), the 2012 international colloquy echoed the efforts around the globe to educate and connect people and resources. By forging an open dialogue and coalitions among supporters, the organizing committees hope to further increase the level of awareness and support around the world. Keynote speaker was the world-renowned human rights advocate and author, George Bizos SC, a Member of BCRPM and lawyer to Nelson Mandela, who spoke on issues relating to litigation. Amongst the key speakers were
Prof. Dimitrios Pandermali, President of the Acropolis Museum; Andrew Dismore, London Assembly Member, Former MP for Hendon, Chair, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights; Dr. Elena Korka, Archaeologist; Kostas Tsarouchas, Journalist – Publisher; Dr. Tom Flynn, Art Historian, Prof. Dr. Judith Herrin, Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and Christina Borg, Literary Journalist. Plans are underway for the next annual International Colloquy to be held in Sydney during late October/early November 2013. Official dates to be announced.
The UK host committee, represented by BCRPM Committee Chairman Eddie O’Hara, has outlined some of the key points affirmed from the 2012 London Colloquy. These include:
1. The focus of the campaign should be solely on the reunification of all the Parthenon sculptures. The campaign should not be weakened by association with wider claims for restitution of cultural objects. Emphasis should always be placed on the uniqueness of the Parthenon as a UNESCO World Heritage monument parts of which have been forcibly removed and transported for display in another country and to which the “floodgates” argument thus need not apply;
2. Unity of purpose and effort is essential if the world-wide support for the campaign is to be harnessed and deployed to maximum and optimum effect;
3. Litigation over the legal title to the Elgin Marbles cannot be ruled out. However, it is a risk strategy and requires much further research;
4. Legislation, specifically amendment of the British Museum Act 1963, is possible, but needs to be carefully framed and is not likely to receive British Government support in the foreseeable future;
5. Public education about the issues is known to result in increasing support for reunification and should be pursued in as many ways, and on as broad a front as possible;
6. The focus of this education should be on the cultural and ethical justifications for reunification;
7. Ethical justifications should take account of the perception by the Greek people of the Parthenon sculptures as symbols of their ethnicity. This is a cultural concept not to be confused with the political concept of nationalism
At this time, the three campaigning organizations, BCRPM, ACRPS, and IOC-A-RPM,
agree that their campaign policy for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles should emphasize cultural and ethical arguments. Certainly for now, the policy does not encompass litigation.
About The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM)
A group of British people who having considered the case for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles strongly support it and wish to campaign to achieve it. James Cubitt, a distinguished British architect, met with Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin before he formed the BCRPM to campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful home in Athens. The Committee was set up in 1983 under the chairmanship of internationally renowned and universally respected Robert Browning, Emeritus Professor of Greek at the University of London. Then inveterate and accomplished, writer Graham Binns took over as Chairman from 1997-2002, followed 2002-2010 by erudite Prof. Anthony Snodgrass, Fellow of the British Academy, Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge. Currently, former MP Eddie O’Hara has taken on the role. For more information, visit: http://www.parthenonuk.com.
About The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc. (ACRPS)
Formed by international litigation attorney, Michael J. Reppas II, ACRPS is the leader of the American charge for the repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. Mr. Reppas, a widely cited author and legal scholar, has engaged in a near 15-year grassroots campaign with fellow Board members involving domestic and international lectures to advocate the cause. ACRPS is a duly recognized IRS § 501(C)(3) NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization, whose purpose is to educate the public on a local, state, national and international level on the compelling need to protect, preserve and repatriate looted cultural property to its country of origin – most particularly to effect the return from London to Athens of the Parthenon Sculptures. For more information, on this and ALL SIDES OF THE PARTHENON – A Touring Exhibition, visit www.ParthenonSculpturesUSA.org.
About The International Organizing Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, Inc. (IOC-A-RPM)
Formerly known as the AHEPA (Australia) Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, the committee was formed in 1981 under the chairmanship of Emanuel John Comino AM. It was the first committee in the world set up for the restitution. The Committee aims to bring pressure to bear on governments and influence public opinion to ensure the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. For more information, visit: http://www.parthenonmarblesaustralia.org.au.
– Marlen Godwin, For the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, 01780 481689 or m. 07789533791, [email protected]
– Eleni Daniels, For The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc., m. 1-917-468-2919, [email protected]
– Dennis Tritaris, For the International Organising Committee – AUSTRALIA – For the
Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc., m. +61 423 825 905, [email protected]