HFC Athens

History

The Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC) was founded in 1992 on the initiative of Professor Ioannis Georgakis, who had the vision of establishing an institution for Greek culture and its dissemination abroad. The Foundation was established by a unanimous decision of the Greek Parliament and placed under the aegis of the ministry of foreign affairs.

The ΗFC was established as a cultural diplomacy tool, as an arm of Greek foreign policy, which aims to a) disseminate diachronic Greek culture abroad, cultivate Greek language and history b) strengthen the cultural, educational and scientific collaboration with other countries and c) develop intercultural relations and dialogue on bilateral and multilateral levels.

The initial organizational structure established the operation of a board of directors, which elected the president and the members of the executive board. From 1994 onwards, with successive legislative acts, the structure of the organization was amended and the supervising ministry proposes the president and appoints the members of the executive board.

Ιn 2002, the HFC passed under the supervision of the ministry of culture with the ministry of foreign affairs represented on the board by the head of the directorate for educational and cultural affairs. A representative of the ministry of education also has a seat on the board.

The structure and organization of the HFC is similar to that of the major European cultural institutes (Goethe Institut, British Council, Alliance Française etc.), taking the flexible form of a foundation that operates independently and has the ability both to form other legal entities (branches) and to participate in international and inter-state institutions and networks.

For achieving its purposes, the HFC acts abroad, either directly in the form of branches or indirectly in affiliation with other agencies and networks. The structure is distinguished on the one hand by the Athens headquarters and on the other hand on direct representation abroad, currently in: Alexandria, Belgrade, Berlin, Bucharest, Nicosia, London, Odessa, Sofia, Tirana, Trieste and Washington DC.

HFC also manages two museums, the only museums maintained by the Hellenic Republic abroad: the Museum of the Philike Etairia in Odessa and the Cavafy Museum in Alexandria. HFC also participates in international networks, initiatives and actions: as head of the Greek network of the Anna Lindh Foundation for Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Dialogue between Cultures, and as a member of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), both at the central level and in various cities where it has branches.

Finally, HFC cooperates closely with the diplomatic and consular authorities and with Greek communities and organizations in other countries, but also with various cultural institutions to carry out operations in countries where Greece has delegation, such as: China, Japan, Korea, Chile, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Turkey, France, Portugal, Belgium, Morocco, Israel etc.

Τhe head offices of the HFC in Athens are located in the former residence of Bodossakis in Palaio Psychiko, which has been put at its disposal by the Greek state. Τwo of the branches are housed in historical sites of Hellenism, specifically the Odessa branch, housed in the residence of Gregory Maraslis, mayor of Odessa, while in Alexandria, the HFC branch has its home in the Averof Parthenagogeio, which was originally built as a girls’ school for the Greek community there.

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