Renowned Byzantine scholar Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler was hosted on Nikos Hatzinikolaou’s show on Ant-1 TV on the occasion of her 94th birthday and spoke about her life and contemporary politics.
The Greek academic Byzantinologist, who is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Greece, has an impressive list of accolades, international recognition, as well as high positions in the field of academia.
She is a corresponding member of the British Academy, the Academy of Athens, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and an associated member of the Royal Academy of Belgium. She holds a number of honorary doctorates and has received numerous decorations from the French government, including the Commander of the Légion d’honneur, Commander of the Ordre national du Mérite, Commander of the Ordre des Palmes académiques, and the Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
In the interview, she spoke about her childhood and her part in the Greek Resistance movement in WWII, about how she experienced the difficult years of the occupation, and how she escaped death.
She explained the ideological reasons that make her a leftist and did not hesitate to criticize Alexis Tsipras. “I was born a leftist and I will die a leftist. I believe in a better distribution of public wealth. Sometimes I am outraged by the divisive speech of Tsipras, the leader of the Left. It annoys me.”
“The Resistance made me who I am. At the school where I was, the Italians turned it into a hospital. My teacher told me to form a resistance group. We were called “Spitha”. They gave me the hidden leaflets to take to different places.”
During the interview she explained why, despite her deep-rooted left ideology, she chose to vote for conservative MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the last elections, provoking various reactions. “Not only did I support Kyriakos Mitsotakis but did a lot more. I think he is the only one who can make reforms.”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself spoke on the show about her, calling her a “Global Greek Woman”, who through her presence celebrates Hellenism. Specifically, he said: “Eleni’s personality and work are not described in a few lines because she belongs to those people whose work and contribution become part of history, while at the same time writing it. She is an ecumenical Greek woman, a woman with Asia Minor roots who emerged from the neighborhoods of Vironas as rector of Europe”.