Academy

athens academy



The Academy was founded with the Constitutional Decree of March 18th 1926, as an Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts. The same Decree appointed its first Members, who were all eminent representatives of the scientific, intellectual and artistic circles of that era.
The Academy's first Presiding Board had the following composition: The President was Fokion Negris, the Vice-President was Georgios Hatzidakis, the Secretary General was Simos Menardos, the Secretary for Proceedings was Kostis Palamas, and the Secretary for Publications was Georgios Drosinis.
Directly following its establishment, the Academy became a member of two major international organisations: the International Union of Academies (Association Internationale des Academies), and the International Council of Scientific Unions(=ICSU). On March 24th 1926, the Presiding Board of the Academy took over the Building of the so-called "Sinaea Academy". On the following day, March 25th, in a clear reference to the anniversary of Greece's National Regeneration, the celebratory inaugural session of the Academy's Plenum took place.

entrance In the course of this session, the Minister of Education, the Academician Dimitrios Aeginitis, stamped the Academy to its future objective and the means to be used for its realisation. The establishment of the Academy of Athens was the culmination of long and tireless efforts for the establishment of a Greek academy that lasted almost a century. Its name is a reference to Plato's Academy and the spiritual glory of ancient Athens, which Thucydides calls "the city that is the center of education for Greece". The first attempt to establish an academy was made as early as 1824 during the Greek Revolution. There followed a series of constant and persistent efforts by Alexandros Rizos-Ranghavis around the middle of the nineteenth century, and further moves were made at the start of the 20th century. Underlying all these efforts, the era's ideology, which connected national independence with the historical past and the development of education, is revealed. The donation of National Benefactor Simon Sinas around 1856, which made the erection and sculptural and painted decoration of the neoclassical building currently housing the Academy possible, was decisive in promoting the idea of the establishment of an academy.

The donation of National Benefactor Simon Sinas around 1856, which made the erection and sculptural and painted decoration of the neoclassical building currently housing the Academy possible, was decisive in promoting the idea of the establishment of an academy.The laying of the cornerstone took place in August 1859; nearly thirty years later, in March 1887, the completed Building was handed over to the then Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis. At the start of the 20th century, the demand for the establishment of an academy was revived in connection with the need to envisage a national future. It is in this spirit that in 1904 the historian Spyridon Lambros compiled a constitution for an academy.
statue of athinaAt the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, in the face of the threatened exclusion of Greece from the International Union of Academies (Association Internationale des Academies), Eleftherios Venizelos undertook the commitment of establishing
a Greek academy:"Organisez rapidement Academie" he wired the Minister of Education Dimitrios Dighas. Dimitrios Aeginitis then went on to draw up a Constitution for the Academy; however, the ensuing political situation, in combination with the Asia Minor Catastrophe did not allow for the establishment of an academy at that time.
Some years later, in 1926, when Aeginitis was Minister of Education for the government of Theodoros Panghalos, he brought about the Constitutional Decree of March 18th 1926, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Academy. In the time spanning its establishment to the present day, the Academy has operated within the framework of its stated purpose, both in the areas of scientific research and of the cultivation of Humanities and Fine Arts. On numerous occasions the Academy has intervened to international bodies on matters concerning culture, the environment, universal values, national and human rights. The best examples of such interventions are the denunciation of the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War, and the defense of the rights of the Cypriots for self-determination. Moreover, during critical times for the Greek nation, for example during the German Occupation, or at times when the democratic institutions were suspended, for example under the 1967 Dictatorship, the Academy fought to maintain its moral and spiritual independence. The Academy's position on the National Resistance in 1943 as well as its response to the Dictatorship in 1972, are characteristic examples. The work and the positions of the Academy of Athens continue to have an impact on Greek society. This is clear from the donations and bequests made by both individuals and bodies; their management allows the Academy to continue to serve its purpose: supporting scientific research, financing publications, granting scholarships and awarding prizes.