John Kittmer

John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

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21st November 2016 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

Conflict, Poetry and Remembrance

Conflict within and between societies is, it seems, a regrettable, tragic constant in human existence. During the twentieth century, conflict reached a previously unimaginable scale. Through two worlds, and many other murderous animosities, the idea of human civilisation flickered and paled. In the First World War, the total military war dead alone reached some nine […]

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26th September 2016 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

A tyrant, a poet and three chamois

Early last week, I found myself standing next to the tomb of Ali Pasha, in the inner enclosure of the Ottoman fort at Ioannina. As I gazed on the iron feretory, I mused on how strange it was that Byron, who gave his life for the freedom of Greece, should have first sought out the […]

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15th March 2016 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

400 years since the death of Shakespeare

It was one of those arguments you get yourself into as an undergraduate. “Imagine you wake up one morning and almost all literary culture has been destroyed; if one play alone remained, what would you want it to be?” Although I was studying classics, my answer was clear: “I would be praying for the survival […]

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7th March 2016 Athens, Greece

British Schools in Athens

Magna Carta tour at the British schools

Throughout 2015, British embassies across the world celebrated the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. This is the foundation document of the rule of law in England – including the important principle that the Crown itself is subject to the law. In our Embassy at Athens, we made the Magna […]

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3rd February 2016 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

Gennadius, the Koraes Chair and the state of Modern Greek in Britain

Last week, I had the pleasure of giving the annual lecture in memory of John Gennadius to the Association of Friends of the Gennadius Library. Gennadius was the representative of Greece to the United Kingdom for over forty years (1875-1918), a tireless advocate of Greek interests, a friend of Britain, an intellectual, man of letters, […]

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14th December 2015 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

In Praise of the Benaki Museum

Queen Sophia Avenue leads from Constitution Square to Kostas Varotsos’ glass-sculpted “Runner” at the Hilton. It is a broad street, lined with trees (now being heavily pruned for the winter) and bearing, for much of the day, heavy traffic. The neighbourhood combines something of London’s North and South Kensington. Here are the neo-classical buildings of […]

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3rd June 2015 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

From Mystras to Kardamyli: A hike in honour of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor

“On the map, the southern part of the Peloponnese looks like a misshapen tooth fresh torn from its gum with three peninsulas jutting southward in jagged and carious roots. The central prong is formed by the Taygetus mountains…” This morning, thanks to the Benaki Museum, I was standing in the study of the great man […]

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26th May 2015 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

Guest blog: Four months in Athens

I’m pleased to invite Hinesh Rajani to write a guest blog about his time in Greece. Hinesh joined the Embassy team in early February, and has spent four months on a temporary posting as First Secretary Political/Economic. His observations are below. After January’s election, a new Government promised a rather different approach to Greece’s challenges. Given […]

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3rd February 2015 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

It’s my pleasure to welcome as guests to this blog, Robert W. Peck, Ambassador of Canada (the last country chairing IHRA), and Eszter Sandorfi, Ambassador of Hungary (the next chair). They both share their thoughts on what the International Holocaust Remembrance Day means for them personally.  I’m grateful to them for contributing in this way. […]

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5th January 2015 Athens, Greece

John Kittmer

by John Kittmer

Former UK ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

Looking back at 2014

Here, the year ended with high drama. In the last few days of December, the car ferry Norman Atlantic blazed on the Adriatic, with tragic loss of life, and the attempt to elect a new President of the Republic failed. If nothing else, 2014 will be remembered because, at its fag end, the country was […]

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About John Kittmer

John Kittmer was Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic from 2013 to 2016.