George A. Barboutis gave us an interview, explaining the idea of the project of the Revival of the ancient wonder of Colossus, and its mission to become an eternal offer of Rhodes and a beacon of dissemination of the ideals of Greek civilization to Humanity and Mankind.
George Barboutis, Pioneer of the millennium initiative of the Revival of Colossus,
Proxy representative of the Municipality of Rhodes (1999-2011) and Project Leader of the Scientific Tourism Committee of the Chamber of Dodecanese, spoke to money-tourism.gr:
What is the ideological concept behind the Revival of Colossus?
The Colossus of Rhodes one the seven wonders of the ancient world is the eternal legend that bears the island of Rhodes, which ought to be creatively revived without the intention of reconstructing a sterile replica of the mythical statue carrying with it any anachronistic or archaeological implications.
The philosophy and ambition behind that is to create a contemporary (21st century) feat of human accomplishment , inspired by the ancient wonder and to become an evolutionary and a modern successor of it, borrowing only the unique intangible attributes, unparalleled symbolic characteristics and artistic values of the legendary monument.
It should become a new breakthrough achievement and a world landmark of our country. It should symbolize the values of Greek cultural heritage and promote the perpetual diachronic ideals of peace, freedom and friendship amongst people and countries.
What is the vision of the project?
“Just like the Colossus was built as a tribute to the Sun God of Helios to celebrate freedom and peace, its future successor standing in the Mediterranean, at the crossroads of three continents, should become Rhodes’ tribute to the world, symbolizing ecumenical world peace and though its emission of eternal light, to send messages of hope and optimism for the future generations to come”.
How do you think it should be ideally implemented?
To give substance to this new landmark a call for an open international architect’s competition is proposed to secure artistic excellence and Innovative technological capability of global recognition.
An Honorary Selection Committee should be formed consisting of prominent figures from the world of politics, culture, literature, arts, sciences and technology, which should be placed under the aegis of the President of the Hellenic Republic to secure worldwide acknowledgment, international acceptance and transparency of the procedures.
How should funds and resources be attracted?
A significant amount of funds could be secured by contributions by Municipal and Peripheral Authorities , international organizations, the European Commission and UNESCO; but also through the activation of Greek and international prominent figures; in this respect Hellenes of Diaspora and philhellenes could become ambassadors of the idea and lead an International Fund-raising campaign.
How would you avoid the sterile commercialization of such a vast project and how this can be achieved?
Following the relevant example of the revival of the Alexandria Library and to avoid any kind of commercialization, future project revenues should be reinvested to promoting Greek cultural legacy and the idea of global peace.
This would be achieved by creating:
A) Theme Museum of the ancient Colossus and its history, as well as
B) The establishment of an International Center of Peace which would house an excellent cultural multipurpose facility, technologically advanced that will include a conference and exhibition center, an auditorium, and a concert hall that will be able to host international caliber meetings, activities and events.
Can you give us some relevant examples?
To avoid ambiguity, I would like to mention only a few examples of landmarks that added prestige and admiration in the cities – countries that have attempted to create them:
• The New Library of Alexandria
• The Sydney Opera House
• The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
• The New Acropolis Museum
and many other miraculous wonders that have offered significant added value, wherever they have been constructed.
How would you engage young scientists and researchers?
To make the effort sustainable for the future generations of young scientists in the field of Archaeology, it is proposed that a significant share of project revenues to be attributed to the establishment of an Archaeological Research Center for the Colossus and its history as well as an Academic Chair of the wonder , which would aid the studies of archaeologists and researchers in issues related to possible location or future discoveries of the ancient wonder according to the new scientific data.
What is the ultimate challenge of the project and how would Rhodes be benefitted in the long run?
The ultimate challenge of the project and its visionary noble goal is to
consolidate the belief among people that Rhodes deserves to claim, in the long run, the Chair of the “Neutral Island of Peace” in the Mediterranean region and through the successful completion of this ambitious undertaking, the Revival of the Colossus, to maximize all eminent benefits and rewards.
Rhodes, with its multicultural identity and prominent strategic location, is the ideal venue to bridge cultures and ideas, to establish free dialogue and promote the universal and diachronic ideals of world peace and friendship amongst people and countries. Such a project has the potential to offer a multitude of long term sustainable rewards on both cultural and socioeconomic levels, especially during this period of crisis, instability and hardship.
Do you wish to convey a message of inspiration ?
We request the contribution of every Rhodian, of every Greek, of any citizen around this world is feeling “philos” towards the Greek ideals, to realize our vision:
To offer Rhodes, Greece, Europe, the Mediterranean, as well as the rest of the world a Colossal landmark for the 21st century.
A global seal of the universal values of peace, unity and cooperation among people, which will perpetually emit light and hope to the expectations and the inspirations of the future generations to come.
How would you address to the new generations of people?
“It is our responsibility to humanity and the whole mankind, to make a great leap forward, by drawing inspiration from our historic past and by mobilizing our most creative forces.
It would become a great opportunity to regenerate, and reignite our most depleted virtues, while sending a message that we Greeks with the small country and the huge history do not remain trapped in this dormant state, but we progress in an enviable and admirable manner, by transforming our national introversion into cultural extroversion.”