Irini Lyratzaki -always willing and cooperative- Cultural Heritage Expert, tells her own personal story and -as one of MedINA’s first collaborators- describes the beginning, the journey and the characteristics that even today differentiate the organisation, making it stand out!
“I had the opportunity to join MedINA’s team very early on, when environmental and cultural management of an area and its people were treated separately.
The founder of MedINA, Thymio Papayannis, came from an urban planning background and was asked at some point to study and assess the situation in an emblematic area that was in danger, Prespa. It was then when he realized that the environment in Greece needs new approaches, fostering conservation with the participation and assistance of the inhabitants, who can re-establish their links with each other and walk hand in hand towards a future that will ensure the survival and well-being of all.
Thus, he envisioned and founded MedINA, which came to fill the gap of human involvement in conventional environmental management methods that excluded human activity in the areas they wanted to protect. His contribution to conservation started being acknowledged at both international and national level, and MedINA participated in a number of networks, initially through three thematic pillars: cultural values of wetlands, sacred natural sites and landscape.
Many years have passed since; MedINA has spread its wings and broadened its interests, but what has remained intact to these days is the principles that govern its operation and organisation. Ethical integrity, opportunities for all colleagues, broad-mindedness, fairness and equality have always been the qualities fostering the sense of working in a supportive and creative environment full of potential.
These principles still represent the organisation and, in my opinion, they are Thymio’s most valuable legacy, which make MedINA stand out and at the same time provide the tools to continue its success in the future. To the next 20”!