ioanna fotopoulou

It is a woman’s world

In Opinions and bullet points. on January 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm

ιλιοβασιλεμα

Για ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ:

Returning to the city centre after a day long sunny and warm Sunday by the beach (in Microlimano), I decided that I am hungry. And since my cooking abilities are not in the highest of levels (my dear people know this first hand ) I reached to the conclusion I should search for a place where I can eat a souvlaki – you know this delicious greek thing with meat and tzatziki and yogurt and so much more.. Yet you are wondering right about now why am I writing this article. No I haven’t become a food critic, neither is this the purpose of this blog. The reason behind these lines is to let you know about one of the most unique souvlaki places of Athens. I randomly encountered it while walking in a small street in Koukaki. It’s name : the barbecue place. Simple as that. And walking in you see three women working. JUST three women, Katerina, Eleni and Katerina again. παλια 2 παλια

And to add to this situation, not only they were working there but they were the ones that started the whole business in the first place. During the 70s they decided that this was their dream. Thus, they made this dream their job. And if I am allowed to say they made it somewhat more than a job – they made it art! From a male they turn this small restaurant into a female territory! And they did it good. From the most delicious souvlaki I have ever eaten, accompanied with smiles, comfortable conversation about the old days and the difficulties of the years that passed.

τρικαλινές σωστό

Will I return to eat there ? Sure I am

Will I be more courageous every time I think of these women that made it happen and survived in a man’s world with a man’s job? Sure I am – two times

Does this only concern women? Sure not. It is about will, devotion and doing what you truly love. Without degrading it with fears or insecurities.

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The S word

In Opinions and bullet points. on January 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Article from the Huffington Post

Για ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ: 

Talking about stereotypes can be a common thing of everyday life, especially in situations where a country is facing big societal challenges. Realistically and not just because I live in such a society for the past 4 years, an ongoing economic crisis is one of these very serious social challenges. A challenge that along with economic hardship, enormous unemployment rates and many people living now below the poverty line, bring out the worst of people. A challenge that assails the interrelations of societal groups and threatens the cohesion of Civil Society in general.

Thus, in such a fertile ground stereotypes can grow more vicious and create stronger and harsher roots. Therefore it is the easy way to choose hatred instead of the solution. To choose seeing stereotypes and not the reality. To choose to “protect” yourself and your loved ones and refuse facing the reality and all the challenges that bring.

Of course this is something I could logically accept. It is something depriving from human nature. Call it survival instinct if you wish.

Yet, when the situation with stereotyping gets out of control and human lives are lost in the name of ideas and in the name of hatred and frustration then it is also in the human nature to act. To stand up for what’s right and to be the lighthouse of hope somewhere in the middle. Name it Golden Dawn- the right extremists Vs the left extremists, name it Greeks Vs Germans, name it rich Vs poor, capitalist Vs socialism, citizens Vs politicians or you name it however you wish. The truth is that we need to reconcile once again, to reach a consensus, to stop loosing energy on hatred and inhibitory acts and thoughts. To stop loosing human lives.

What we did for that? First of all we made it our job to act. We realized that it is in our hands to change our society even a bit. That we should not sit back in our couch and wait for someone else to put an end on all these things. We realized and felt it to our core that the ones we were waiting to save us are indeed ourselves.

Then the opportunity came through Cultural Innovators Network, a project of the Goethe-Institute as part of the German-Arab Transformation Partnership that is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office. A new round of applications opened, new members were to enter the network. We applied and got accepted, we pitched the idea of taking down stereotypes through photography in a True or False dual portrayal. The members democratically and anonymously voted for our project and we started working on it.

4 months later we have these photos exhibited in 10 countries of the Southern Europe and the MENA region. We are using photography as many times one photo equals 1000 words. Having two photos next to each other – with the one showing the stereotype and the other one the reality of the situation – everyone is able to compare the two stories, stand in front of them, find oneself in the one or the other picture and understand that stereotypes are made up realities that do not need to control or define us.

True or False has a deeper level, as it engages us with solidarity, understanding and inclusion. The problems of peoples in a country far away today could be the problems of our country tomorrow. Open borders and globalization are enough to make such stereotypes appear everywhere around the global village we live in no time. The only way to prevent such situations and be able to cope with difficult times is with clear, honest relationships with no prejudice. And in such relationships there is no room for stereotypes.

Don’t try to understand my country, try to see Greece for what it stands for and try to feel it. This is the only way to realize our reality. And it is times such as these that we need you all by our side. 

Enjoy our video and photo shooting below.

True or False Video

fifthrealityfixed fifthstereotypeshot1

Corruption is a scourge for every society. Thus, stopping corruption and reintroducing Civil Society becomes a state of mind for many young Greeks day after day.

fourthrealityfixed fourthstereotype

Not every aspect of Greek entertainment looks like Zorba the Greek.

onereality onestereotype

Greeks can be loud, careless and depressed if the is no sun. But Greeks are not lazy. The nation that grows up with the word filotimo can never be lazy. Greeks work 42,2 hours per week, the highest average among all the European Nations.

secondrealityshot1secondstereotype

Since 2009 many public places, cafes and restaurants in terms with their social responsibility, they prohibit smoking indoors.

thirdrealityshot1 thirdsterotypeshot2

Newly established environmental groups and organisations, along with environmental education in schools and institutions rise the last 5 years in Greece.

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Photos from the exhibition room

I would like to specially thank Yiannis Papanastasopoulos and Ioanna Fotiadou for the amazing photos of the stereotypes and the event respectively!

Family or career?

In Opinions and bullet points. on October 6, 2014 at 11:02 am

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Για ελληνικά εδώ:

Are you a woman? Then you have to decide : family or career . Whichever you decide it will not be the right answer and people will judge you. But people do so either way? Isn’t that right ? Well dear Dots, I have the answer to your question and this is: Ursula Zore. The newly appointed Secretary General of the Republic of Slovenia herself.

Recently I have met Slovenian politics first hand, participating at Bled Strategic Forum. And I can tell that it takes serious long-hours work, strong personality, focused commitment and love for your country to be elected in such an important position with such a big percentage. But at the same time, I had the opportunity to meet Misses Zore in a completely different environment than the working one. I was very privileged to spend a night in her house. Privileged to talk with her and work on some ideas. I saw the house, I met the family. And I can seriously tell you that you should not ever listen to someone that will tell you you have to choose. She has an amazing house, two incredible children and a caring husband.

Of course it is not easy to have it all. But life is not easy. You need to be passionate for what you do and be in good terms with yourself. And the rest will follow. As for me, I feel very confident that Slovenia has such a great asset like Misses Zore in its new assembly. Why? Because a woman intelligent enough to be there for her family will definitely be there for her country as well.