Our association was created in 2001 by 11 people, permanent and occasional inhabitants of our island.
In view of the holding of our General Meeting in August of this year, how our achievements could be assessed and which are their limits ? The first action to bear to our credit is to have the permanent inhabitants of the island collaborate with those more casual, in a perspective of preservation of the Cycladic environment of Paros and its sustainable development, which takes into account its cultural dimension. Beyond that, we have helped to develop a culture of recognizing the volunteer actions of Paros actors, whatever their origin, during our annual ceremonies in which local authorities also participate. Our next ceremony will take place on August 8, 2019 in Paros Park to honor two important events: the Paros Festival and the Kapetaneika. We have also contributed to the public debate on important topics, notably through the holding of conferences and seminars and the publication from 2008 of our “Bulletin” which has been improved and professionalized during the last three years and it is partially sponsored by numerous social and economic actors in Paros. The “Friends of Paros” also supported cultural activities undertaken by other associations. To do this, we maintain a very good working relationship with all other associations on the island.
In addition, we fed the main debates held on the island, whether it is the installation of wind turbines, (to be accepted within certain limits), the definition of what type of airport Paros needs (the most important is to improve the existing terminal facility), the refusal of cruise ships (harmful to the environment and tourism), a sustainable development plan which respects the holding capacity of the island and promotes sustainable tourism.
Finally, we have popularized the archaeological heritage of Paros and Antiparos, including that of the ancient marble quarries, the Temple of Apollo on Despotiko islet, associating, noticeably, the important restoration work carried out by archeologists with many people from Paros and Antiparos, as well as other tourists.
Our General Assembly will have to refine our achievements and draw the actions to be further developed, while completing the on-going ones. Without too much anticipation on our debates, how not to evoke here the theme of the public health which could be improved and whose actors could collaborate, or of the ancient marble quarries whose site could be valorized and returned to the population of the island, or that of the energy independence of the island based on the renewable energies, solar and wind, both respectful of the cycladic character, or finally, that of the cleanliness and the correct management of the waste.
Here are some paths to go further !
Our action in Despotiko, the collaboration with the the Antiparos associations illustrated during the annual ceremony of 2018, the growing number of members living in Antiparos, the fact that Paros, Antiparos, Despotiko constitute the same geographical, cultural, socio-economic entity should encourage us to think about taking it into consideration by becoming the “Friends of Paros and Antiparos”. This is a first challenge that will have to be discussed by our Assembly as well.
Finally, we need to consolidate and increase the number of our members, possibly the doubling over the next two years in order to reach a figure of 300 members.
You will find in this issue a reminder of a number of appointments for this summer.
We hope to meet you soon with pleasure !
Georges Vlandas, Tassos Zacharas & Nicolas Stephanou