Obituary: Ioannis Georgakis

Ioannis Georgakis, diplomat and political scientist: born Piraeus, Greece 22 October 1915; Professor, Pantios School of Political Science 1941-75 (Emeritus), Rector 1963; Governor General, Ionian Islands 1945-51, Dodecanese Islands 1951; Greek Ambassador at large 1975-80; married Mina Papadopoulou (deceased; one daughter); died Athens 1 November 1993.

IOANNIS GEORGAKIS did his last service to his country in September when, as an independent interim Minister of the Interior, it was his responsibility to supervise the general election in Greece.

He was a man of trusted integrity, but also a cosmopolitan of effortless style and distinction. His love of civilised things also embraced civilised values. Educated in Law at Athens and Leipzig, he was fluent in German and defended more than 2,000 patriots brought before German courts martial in occupied Greece. He never accepted a fee and was himself eventually arrested for contempt of court.

Human rights were the first concern to Georgakis. As Professor of Penal Law at the Pantios University of Political Science in Athens he organised international conferences concerning capital punishment and the defence of the individual against arbitrary action by the state. His range of interest extended from the construction of school buildings to the setting up of a Centre for Islamic Studies where attention was particularly paid to the importance of human values. He held prestigious public offices, was Ambassador at large and was, for a time, president of Olympic Airways. He was permanent secretary to the Onassis Foundation and in 1988 he became its president.

The unanimous support of a concept by all political interests is a rare thing in Greece, or anywhere else for that matter. By June 1992 Georgakis had persuaded the Greek parliament to establish by law the Foundation for Hellenic Culture. Within 12 months he had set up bases in Athens, Paris, London and Odessa. In his own words:

The universality of the Greek spirit and Greek learning can, through the cultivation of classical studies, forge a cultural solidarity, encourage communication between members of the world community and act as a support for the attainment of common goals.

From anyone without his background of performance that might sound high-falutin' stuff. Georgakis, compact, imperturbable, benevolent, was no humbug but a practical realist who knew that civilisation had either to be actively promoted or find itself suffocated by indifference. His first act as President was to bring the foundation to the attention of Philhellenes the world over by taking a shipload of academics, actors, artists, authors, journalists and political people on a voyage to the Cyclades.

When I last saw him he was sitting on the terrace of the little bar at Delos. Right hand on a silver-knobbed walking-stick, blue yachting cap on his head, he was looking out to the west, waiting for the sun to set over Syros. As it did so an orchestra that he had brought ashore played Mozart's symphony no 40 in G Minor, among the ruins.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London