Kaiti Laskaridou: an Inspirational Woman
Kaiti Laskaridou, wife of Konstantinos Laskaridis and mother of two sons, Panos and Thanasis, was born and raised in Piraeus. She graduated from the American Women’s College and studied Economics in the Piraeus School of Commerce.
In the early 50’s, along with her sisters Nausica Limnaiou and Mina Tornarou, Kaiti Laskaridou led a group of women founding the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in Neo Faliro, aiming at providing for young immigrant women from Eastern countries during the years after WWII and the Greek Civil War.
Kaiti Laskaridou was a woman whose progressive and sharp mind, her passion and her social consciousness continue to inspire us all, up to this day.
The Foundation: History & Scope
In 1993, Konstantinos Laskaridis founded the Kaiti Laskaridou Library in Neo Faliro, in memory of his late wife. The Library’s growth and the positive reactions of the public led to the decision to relocate it to a new building and thirteen years after its initial establishment, the Library was transferred to Piraeus, where Kaiti Laskaridou had been born, while the Library itself became part of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.
The Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, established as a non-profit organization on April 24, 2007 and, during its many years of presence in Greece’s intellectual life, is constantly evolving, continuing the cultural activity of Kaiti Laskaridou.
The Foundation’s primary aim is to promote Greek Arts and Letters, as well as maritime tradition and history through its large History and Lending Libraries, a number of collections, a series of cultural events and various educational programs.
The Foundation Buildings
Today, the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation is housed in two renovated neoclassical buildings and a seven-storey modern building in Piraeus. All three buildings are located within 150 metres of each other, at the port of Zea.
2nd Merarchias & Aktis Moutsopoulou: Widely known as the Stringos Mansion, this early 20th century neoclassical manor is one of the city’s landmark buildings. On its premises is housed the Foundation’s Maritime Collection comprising items related to the sea and seafarer, including: nautical and medical instruments, items carried on ships of previous centuries, items recovered from shipwrecks, natural marine findings, paintings and artwork. Lately, the Maritime Collection was enriched with a collection of bone ship models, a scrimshaws collection, a collection of lighthouse items and, of course, its crown jewel, the Nelson Collection. The latter, among others, consists of autograph letters of Lord Admiral Nelson, many of his personal items and a number of important paintings depicting Nelson himself, his battles and his death.
In the same building, is held the main corpus of the Historical Library which comprises collections numbering more than 250.000 book titles, as well as collections of literary and historical records.
There are also conducted a series of events, lectures, meetings and conferences, organized by the Foundation, on an annual basis.
Praxitelous 169 & Bouboulinas: This neoclassical building hosts a permanent exhibition of Dimitris Perdikaris’ works in a specially designed area. D. Perdikaris (1922-1989) was a Greek painter, member of the Spanish avant-guard movement and is considered as one of the most significant contemporary Greek artists of the 20th century. His works are donated to the Foundation by his children, Leonidas and Denise. The exhibition comprises 60 paintings, including oil paintings, drawings and mixed-media works.
In this building also take place the Foundation’s educational programs.
Kountouriotou 173: As from 2013, this modern, autonomous building houses the Lending Library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation. The Lending Library includes books concerning every important subject of knowledge. A distinct and very important part of the Library’s collection is, of course, the Maritime section, with material covering the subjects of maritime history, professions, and technology. Emphasis is also placed on the literature section, containing both classic and modern, as well as Greek and foreign literature.