The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures is an association of various national committees with the shared goal of "The reunification of all the surviving Parthenon Sculptures in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens"
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International initiatives to return the Parthenon Marbles

More coverage of the International Association for the Parthenon Sculptures's meeting in Athens.

Transcript

This is a transcript from Correspondents Report. The program is broadcast around Australia on Sundays at 08:00 on ABC Radio National.

Greek marbles could now have Athenian home

Correspondents Report – Sunday, 21 June , 2009

Reporter: Helena Smith

ELIZABETH JACKSON: After years of delays, the New Acropolis Museum opens in Athens this weekend, with prime ministers and heads of state flying in from around the world to attend the inauguration of the building.

Activists, including David Hill, the former managing director of the ABC who heads the Sydney-based Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, hope the new museum will reinvigorate the campaign to bring back the Elgin marbles – the artworks that have been displayed in the British Museum since Lord Elgin removed them from the Acropolis over 200 years ago.

Helena Smith reports from Athens.

HELENA SMITH: More than 180 years after the declaration of Greek independence and three decades after plans were first put forward, the New Museum of the Acropolis will finally open its doors.

For Greeks at large the $AU220-million museum is a dream come true, and already thousands have rushed to snap up tickets to a building many thought would never get off the ground.

But while the striking glass and cement behemoth is situated at the foot of the Acropolis, is architecturally stupendous and will contain the world’s finest collection of antique Greek sculpture, Greeks say without the classical carvings that adorned the Parthenon – until Lord Elgin removed them – it will remain woefully incomplete.To this end, the museum’s top floor facing the Acropolis has been has been purpose-built to display the masterpieces.

For a long time the British Museum argued that Athens had nowhere decent enough to exhibit its Golden Age wonders. But with that argument now crushed by the new museum, the fight to win back the marbles is about to be revived as never before.

And the Greeks are not short of supporters world-wide. In the past five years an international Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has almost doubled in size, with members in 17 countries joining the Sydney based body.

Speaking exclusively to the ABC, the organisation’s president David Hill said he was sure the new museum would play a central role in reviving Greece’s push to retrieve the sculptures from the British Museum.

Singling out Australia for the support it has given Greece on the issue, the Greek Culture Minister Antonis Samaras said he had been heartened that political opponents like Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Frazer had put their differences aside to sign up to the body.

“It is,” he told the ABC, “indicative of the strength of feeling the marbles have aroused. So many people around the world, and even in Britain, now believe that they should now be back in Greece.”If the Greeks had wanted to make a point that something is missing from their museum, they could not have done it better.

With more than 60 per cent of the ancient sculptor Phidias’ monumental frieze on display in London, thanks to Lord Elgin, Athens has had to make do with giant plaster-cast copies, acquired from the British Museum in the 19th century, to narrate the full tale that the carvings depicted of the great Panathenaic Procession.

The whiter-than-white plaster casts stand out like eyesores and have caused controversy before the museum has even opened.

This is Helena Smith in Athens reporting for Correspondents Report.

Read the original article on the ABC website.

Changes to the International Association

At their meeting in Athens on the occasion of the inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures discussed a number of possible initiatives & plans for the future, of which more detail will be revealed in due course. It was also agreed to amend the organisation's constitution to create a larger five person executive which can handle the day to day running of the Association and deal more rapidly with issues as a new chapter opens in the history of the campaign. The members elected to the executive are as follows:

Chair:
David Hill (Australia) was re-elected.

Vice Chairs:
Professor Dusan Sidjanski (Switzerland) was elected.
Anna Marangou (Cyprus) was elected.

Secretary:
Dennis Menos (USA) was re-elected.

Treasurer:
Matthew Taylor (Marbles Reunited) was elected.

At the end of the meeting, a pres conference was held & a statement was issued to the press by the International Association outlining their vision for the future of the campaign.

IARPS meets in Athens

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has held a meeting in Athens on the occasion of the inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum.

Return Elgin marbles for London Olympics: campaigners

3 days ago

ATHENS (AFP) — The 2012 London Olympics would represent a symbolic moment perfect for the return of the long-disputed Elgin Marbles from Britain to Greece, campaigners said Friday.

Representatives of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (IARPS) — which has members in 17 countries — visited Athens Friday ahead of the new Acropolis Museum’s inauguration on Saturday.

“We urge the United Kingdom to begin the process of reunifying the Parthenon sculptures in the (New Acropolis Museum),” said David Hill, the association’s president, during a press conference.

“We believe that the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics would be an appropriate time to return the Parthenon sculptures to Greece.”

Hill said the new museum “provides the ideal venue” as it is “within the sight of the Parthenon.”

He said it was impossible to display the Elgin Marbles, as they are known in Britain after the aristocrat who expropriated them from Greece at the beginning of the 18th century, in their original state in their present setting, the smaller Duveen Gallery of the British Museum in the English capital.

The new museum includes a Parthenon room, specifically designed to accommodate the fifth century BC masterpiece.

Read the original article on the Agence France Presse website.

A letter to the British Museum and the British Government

In the week before the New Acropolis Museum opens, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has written to both the British Museum & the British Government, reminding them of some of the facts surrounding the marbles.

June 2009

On behalf of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures I would like to draw to your attention to the inauguration on June 20, 2009, of the magnificent new Acropolis Museum, which provides an ideal opportunity for the Parthenon sculptures currently held in the British Museum to be returned to Greece.

We believe the Parthenon sculptures could be returned to Athens in an arrangement that could be mutually beneficial to both Greece and the British Museum.

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has member organisations in sixteen countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. (www.parthenoninternational.org).  The International Association is a powerful indication of the growing and now overwhelming support around the world for the Parthenon sculptures to be returned to Greece.

The new Acropolis Museum has been designed specifically to allow for the proper exhibition of all of the surviving two and a half thousand- year - old sculptures of the Parthenon in their original configuration. This cannot be done in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum, which is too small even for the Elgin collection to be correctly exhibited.

Also, more people now visit the Acropolis each year than visit the Parthenon Sculptures in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum. The opening of the new Acropolis Museum and the prospect of reuniting the currently dispersed collection of Parthenon sculptures will provide yet further accessibility for the people of the world to study and enjoy the wonders of Classical Greece. The event also provides an opportunity for collaboration between two great cultures and two great institutions, the symbolism of which would further advance the standing of the British Museum as a museum of the twenty first century.

We would urge the British Museum to now investigate ways in which a cultural exchange agreement with Greece involving the return of the Parthenon sculptures could yield benefits to both the British Museum as well as Greece.

Yours sincerely,

David Hill

Chairman, International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

Two More Countries join the Campaign for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures

NEWS UPDATE
January 02nd, 2009

Two More Countries join the Campaign for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures

Organisations from two more countries have joined the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

The addition of Switzerland and Finland in December 2008 brings the membership of the International Association to 17 committees from 16 countries. All these committees have been formed with the objective of supporting the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.

Switzerland and Finland join Marbles Reunited from Britain as the new members for 2008.

The Chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, David Hill (Australia), said that the consistent expansion of the association membership since it was formed in 2005 is a powerful reminder of the widespread and growing support in Britain and around the world for the Parthenon Sculptures to be returned to Greece.

The International Association now has member orgnaistions in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain (the British Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures and Marbles Reunited), Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.