MUS-E Network expansion in Greece

From October 17th to October 20th 2023, Marianne Poncelet, Executive Vice-President of the IYMF, initiated new contacts in Greece, with the aim of exploring the possibility of introducing the MUS-E® programme there in 2024. The IYMF has a long tradition of working with Greece, as in the past we collaborated with the MELINA Project in Greece, promoted by Melina Mercouri, the Greek Minister of Culture at the time, and whose objectives were quite similar to our MUS-E® programme. We have since signed a memorandum of understanding with the Technological University of Crete, a privileged partner of the IYMF for the digital training of our artists, and we have also developed an interesting collaboration with the World Human Forum as part of an innovative European project entitled Green Tales. Over the years, we have made friends with a number of people in Greece, including Louisa Anastopoulos, whose work in the field of education at the European Commission has always supported the IYMF’s activities since its creation.

Louisa offered to establish initial contacts to introduce MUS-E in Greece, and together we visited the school that could be the first pilot school for our programme in Greece. The school was the pre-primary school “To perivoli tis Yayas”, located in Kalamata and linked to a primary school next door. This school, which is of a very high educational standard, was built after the earthquake in Kalamata by Banque Alpha to help disadvantaged families in this part of the city, and has since been supported by the Kostoupoulos Foundation.

We had the pleasure of meeting the school’s director, Adriani Russopoulou, as well as the enthusiastic and dynamic teaching staff, who are already open to artistic practice through visual arts, and who are delighted to be able to extend their knowledge by welcoming a musician, singer, or dancer as part of the MUS-E® programme.

We’ve also had some excellent discussions with a rising Greek pianist from Kalamata, Manos Kitsikopoulos, who is interested in supporting our work.

The next stage will be to look into the possibility of creating the statutes of MUS-E Greece and establishing collaborative links in Kalamata and Athens in the world of culture and education, so that we can rely on a network of associations wishing to participate in our development in this country. We already have good prospects with several people who have all offered to support us in our development. We also have a Greek presence on our Board of Directors, in the person of George Metakidès, who has always encouraged us to expand in this part of Europe, and we have also attracted the support of Spyros Pappas, former Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Culture and President of the Argo association (Hellenic Network in Belgium), who is interested in supporting our presence in Greece.

Furthermore, given that Yehudi Menuhin was an honorary citizen of the island of Mykonos, where he resided every summer, what could be more natural than to envisage a musical celebration of our beloved Maestro in the Cyclades, where we made our first contacts with the island’s mayor? A musical dimension to be developed in the future too.

So there’s plenty to look forward to, through music and all the arts, to help children’s creative voices emerge from an early age.

Marianne Poncelet

IYMF Executive Vice-President