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23 November 2019


An hour with Ambassador - Interview with Mr. Kanellos

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Axar.az presents the interview with Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Greece to Azerbaijan Nikolaos Kanellos:

– How would you describe your activities in Azerbaijan? Can you tell us what looks like a typical day of an ambassador?

– Description of what I do generally is a monotone thing. And talking about all, I mean everything is improving the relationship between the two countries. So I do everything I can in all possible fields. I think this is the best way to explain it.

– I am aware of that your diplomatic mission started in Azerbaijan in 2017, September. Since then what`s been your most valuable memory in Azerbaijan?

– My first visit to Nakhchivan. I met with Vasif Talibov in there. People are living a simple life in Nakchivan and they are very creative, helpful and warm. Local people are eager to create things. I liked its architecture and beautiful nature. But when you say the most valuable memory there are plenty of examples to say. There are a lot of valuable memories in Azerbaijan for me but there is no need to mention them name by name. When you name something, it loses its importance.

– How would you describe the Azerbaijan-Greece relationship in three words?

– Hoping getting higher.

– As you know the development of cultural relationships plays the main role as much as political relationships between two countries. How can we contribute to the improvement of cultural relationship by taking into consideration your activity in the cultural field?

– It happens by knowing the country, the people and the history. There will be no improvement if we do not know each other better. We should understand that there are more important factors in our lives. This is how we consider any improvement in cultural fields.

– Greece has always attracted tourists from all over the world as an ancient country with its great history and historical sightseeing. Recently Azerbaijani tourists have started to be interested in Greece, but despite their interest visa procedure makes them hesitate. Are there any actions being taken about simplifying visa processes between Greece and Azerbaijan?

– More and more Azerbaijani people are manifesting their desire to visit Greece every year. They will come and discover the secret of Athens. I am not talking about the landscapes, I am not talking about the sea, about history. It is about the secret of the city, secret of history. So a lot of Azeris come and they show their interest. I believe that more solutions will be found in the future. I understand your question, I don’t want to go into details but I want to focus on that. Because it is very important. We are interested in that too. We want them to come and discover the secrets of Greece. It is a very important reference. It is easy to take a plane and go. And what we see? Same people, same traditions, same hobbies, same landscapes. But when you come you discover the country with a desire to reveal its truth, you see something different; you see the secret of the country.

– If you were not an Ambassador, would Azerbaijan be attractive tourism destination for you?

– Azerbaijan is a fascinating tourist destination I have a lot of reasons to say so. There is a combination between Azerbaijan and its history. This is very important and its the reason to be attractive for the foreigners. And I would like also to focus on the mentality and simplicity of local people. They are very kind, warm and hospitable.

– Despite being so successful in art and literature, for what reasons you chose diplomacy? Which of them do you deal with mostly?

– Yes, I chose diplomacy but it was not only me choosing. It chose me too. In that sense, I was who I was. When I was giving exams, many people doubted that I would make it. I was keeping silence and trying to convince my family. I chose diplomacy to increase the influence of Greece and to make it be known in a better way in the world. And also to fight for a target, target of peace, this is permanent for all diplomats.

– Diplomacy and art. How do they contribute to each other and what kind of relationship is there between these two concepts?

– Diplomacy is a field that you try to exceed your abilities as much as you can. Art is a field that you try to express your views. Abilities and views are different. Because views are kind of feelings. Abilities are the ways of defending your policy. Art and diplomacy are moral spheres. Because after all, we all are humans. Even if we talk about most tough, most conservative diplomat you put some human elements that they could be inspired by art. And as I told by art I also meant by culture. That’s mainly what we are as human beings and it is not about our titles.

– You use a combination of different colors very bravely and your works are on a professional level. Do you have education in this sphere?

– I never had an education in painting. Mostly I try to avoid academicism. Because I believe that our lives need to be simple, open-minded and they should not depend on education. That's why I started to paint alone and I continued. But of course, I reserved all kind of influences and got advice from big painters, from good friends. They helped and supported me. Then I started to visit museums, exhibitions. This was my school. We need to know each other. We need to develop the correct channels of communication in order to achieve a better level of education. Schools are necessary but as far as I am concerned I learned almost nothing from school. I learned everything from my daily life, from contacts and my network.

– You had your own 21st art exhibition in June. We would like you to express your thoughts on “mystic dialogue” we observed on your painting.

– I would not call it mystic, I would say everybody had this dialogue inside himself. And normally we don’t express this with words.

For example, this is the mystic dialogue. (Shows a painting on the wall)

When somebody looks at a painting he can understand whatever he wants. But for me, this is a dialogue between an arrogant person and innocent daughter. This arrogant person tries to dictate some ideas to his daughter. Anyway, a mystic dialogue is a kind of dialogue of the secret conversations that we are not willing to reveal, mostly we keep them for ourselves. We have some thought that we can't talk about them with everyone, we try to find the right person who can be a soul mate for us. And indeed this is a big mystery.

Date
2019.08.02 / 11:58
Author
Rafiga Mammadzadeh
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