First Lady Andri Anastasiades recently participated in an event on the repatriation of the stolen Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles at the Museum of Acropolis in Athens.

To mark women’s day the event was entitled ‘The Parthenon’s Exiled Goddesses’ and was jointly organised by the Acropolis Museum and the Marianna Vardinoyiannis Foundation.

The focus was on the need to globally communicate the urgency of repatriating the marbles and the need to return to values the Parthenon embodies.

Since independence in 1832, Greece has repeatedly called for the repatriation of the treasures – known in Britain as the Elgin Marbles – that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon temple in Athens in the early 19th century, when Greece was under Ottoman rule.

But the British Museum in London has refused to return the sculptures, roughly half of a 160-metre frieze which adorned the 5th century BC monument, saying they were acquired by Elgin under a legal contract with the Ottoman Empire and are part of everyone’s “shared heritage”.

The main speaker was historian Dr. Tom Flynn while the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakelaropoulou, Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, the Museum’s President Professor Dimitris Pantermalis, the Museum’s Director Professor Nikolaos Stampolides and UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardionoyiannis delivered remarks. Greece’s Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Maria Syregela also delivered a speech on behalf of Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis.

Anastasiades, in her opening remarks, referred to the debt owed for a “more fair and equal society towards all women; professionals, mothers, single parents, immigrants, refugees, women living in conditions of poverty, abuse and deprivation.

The day, she said, was dedicated to women who excel and innovate “but even more so to women who struggle in obscurity”.

“It is our duty to impart hope for a better future by providing equal opportunities across the board: education, work, health justice, power” she added.

The event concluded with ‘Fragments of Silence’ a musical performed by Maria Farantouris.