A great Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli wrote:
"What you give out is yours – what you don't give out … is lost.
This saying is as simple as truth itself. – And as encouraging as a sunbeam in the dawn.
Nothing in nature is ever lost.
The smallest seed thrown into the air – comes back to you.
Thousand times multiplied. – Strong and flourishing.
10 years is a glint in a golden eye – historically spoken.
Especially for countries located on the shores of our Tree Seas – Baltic, Black and Aegean.
Only twelve years ago - a boat by the name of "World Renaissance" bore off from Odessa – with a cargo of 400 writers and translators from all over the world.
Having visited great ports of the Black Sea - the boat continued to the Aegean Sea, which - by some kind of miracle – became the sea of our destination. And Greece - or more precisely - Rhodos, became a second motherland for all the participants of this important cruise.
Because Rhodos was ready to procure a home for us. - A beautiful house, halfway op the top of Mount Smith, a two storied building from the Ottoman period – with an Italian addition to it.
Rhodes started to create a Centre, equivalent to another, already existing centre on a Scandinavian island by the name of Gotland - the Visby Centre. And the Rhodian Centre was inaugurated in 1996. – 10 years ago.
Rhodos 'gave out' - as the Georgian poet said.
Rhodos still does. You can feel the Rhodian hospitality in every corner of the Centre.
On the dining room table the Centre always has an open book – waiting for the Centre guests to leave their signatures and contacts. This book is a historical document which tells how many writers and translators have tasted this most extraordinary Greek hospitality.
It also shows how people of different culture, religion, beliefs and nationality - manage to live and work together - in a creative atmosphere of piece and harmony.
To-day is very special. To-day we celebrate the Centre's 10 year anniversary.
Nothing of all this could have happened – without a close cooperation from all these clever and visionary people standing around me.
We brought to your judgement a book of our 'Odyssey'. Take it as our testimony of a true story about the results of an adventurous journey to one of the most friendly and hospital resorts for writers and translators.
I thank everybody from the bottom of the hearts of all the writers and translators who have been received with open arms on this island.
I thank the City Municipality, the Mayor of Rhodes and the former and the present leader of the Centre. But first of all I thank the Rhodian people for their generosity and most extraordinary hospitality.
As President of the literary council, TSWTC, an open window, and a connecting link between the Three Seas and the rest of the world – I thank you for your attention and give the floor to the next speaker.