Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me first thank and congratulate the Foundation for another wonderful exhibition on another very timely subject.

I remember, ever since last year, Mr Papadimitriou was eager to see this one come to life and, as such, it is in many ways his own creation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the past few years we have challenged our limits as a human race:

how far we can go before we go too far.

And as such we are testing our system of values.

We have challenged our environment, our health, our capacity to feed ourselves, our capacity to solve new problems as they come about.

And as we face these global challenges we are discovering global resources we never knew existed.

Today we have the capacity to eradicate disease, to radically reduce hunger and we are doing quite a bit to reverse environmental destruction.

We can create energy from the wind and the sun and we are cooperating on a global scale to make sure that something destructive in one part of this world will not spill over to another.

Our renewed capacity to face these challenges has come from the wealth of markets, the knowledge of science but most importantly our determination to act as a community.

For in the face of danger we seek all that we share in wealth, in knowledge but most importantly in values.

We are currently engaged in a global dialogue of cultures seeking in each other those values that can explain the world and the path before us.

And in this dialogue we naturally reach out to Greece.

Like often times before we look to the birthplace of humanism to find direction.

At a time when our survival is in question the values of humanism are projected to the forefront of this dialogue for one very simple reason:

They allow us to be all that we can be.

They accept all our human weaknesses but also inspire our human capacities.

They allow us to reach for the sun but stop before we melt our wings.

A teacher of mine once explained to me why Greek heroes do not fill up their glass with wine:

To a Greek hero it is hubris to assume he or she will live long enough to drink it.

To a world that filled up its glass and spilled the rest on the table the lessons in the lives of Greek heroes are multiple and inspiring: measure and hubris probably being the most relevant today.

Human in their nature but awe inspiring in their capacities, heroes are role models. Vessels of the values we seek when trapped in a situation we do not understand.

Strong, smart and virtuous they offer solutions to difficult problems.

And in so doing they inspire in us all that we can be.

Like all great exhibitions this one raises more questions than it seeks to answer.

Questions about who are heroes are today,

what they look like and where they come from,

what values they represent and how do they inspire these values in us.

It might not care to give us all the answers, but in raising the questions the exhibition is putting its mark on the global dialogue of cultures projecting a very strong Greek voice.

And I thank the organizers for it.

If you do not believe in coincidence then you might find it interesting that a Greek foundation has chosen to raise these questions in the center of such a global metropolis.

All this at a time when the country that invented heroes is discovering life without them.

I wish the exhibition great success.

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