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Announcement of the Senate of the
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


            The Senate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens expresses its deep concern about the planned conversion of the Hagia Sophia Temple of Constantinople - a unique monument of outstanding universal cultural heritage - into a mosque.

            In 1934, a decree signed by Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, turned Hagia Sophia into a museum and as such, it has become a monument to a universal legacy that transcends differences between religions, cultures and beliefs. As a Museum, Hagia Sophia has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1985.  This Holy Wisdom  Byzantine Masterpiece  is universally of significant symbolic and historical value. Such World Heritage landmarks should be free from political and religious intolerance and not be intentionally misused while violating internationally binding conventions and every percept of law.

            The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has long been committed to the protection of cultural heritage and has also recently established the Center for Excellence in the Enhancement of Orthodox Heritage and Interreligious Dialogue. Our University appeals to all International Institutions and Organizations - Educational, Scientific and Cultural - to take all necessary actions to preserve this cultural masterpiece Temple of Hagia Sophia, its nature and its symbolization to our modern, multicultural world.

            Our University also invites the university community worldwide to emphasize the appalling consequences of such a divisive political decision to the efforts for the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and understanding. The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens will raise this issue to all its partner international fora.

            It is incumbent to all of us to raise awareness about the protection of World Culture Heritage monuments; and for this purpose, there should be a global movement for the protection of the Hagia Sophia Monument.