Biennial Andrew David Memorial Lecture

Wednesday 30 Nov 2022

Political Prizes, Human Costs

As the lecture will recall, the British, Greek and Turkish diplomats who negotiated the population exchange had deeply ambivalent feelings about what they were doing. They all understood that forcing people to move countries because of their religion was a harsh or even shameful measure, but they all felt that it was in the long-term interest of their respective countries. Meanwhile, the ordinary people affected by the exchange faced conflicting pressures. They were encouraged to adapt as rapidly as possible to their new homelands and to play down anything that marked them out from their new neighbours. But in the private lives of their families and communities, the exchanges cherished memories of the lands they had left. Half a century after the exchange and even vestigially up to the present day, Greeks whose family roots lay in Asia Minor felt them different in  important ways from their compatriots. The resolution of these tensions has been an important part of the modern Greek story.

Bruce Clark

Since 1998 he worked mainly for The Economist, covering everything from conflict in the Balkans to transatlantic relations and comparative religion. Between 2002 and early 2004 he took a sabbatical to research the history of forced migration between Greece and Turkey. In 2006, he launched the international pages of The Economist’s foreign news section, a new editorial feature devoted to broad global topics from disarmament to development. Before joining The Economist, he served as diplomatic correspondent for the Financial Times, working in London, Brussels and then Washington DC.

In his book “Twice A Stranger” – which was co-winner of the Runciman Prize in 2007 – Bruce Clark interviews the last surviving generation of people in Greece and Turkey who had memories of the exchange. His new book “Athens City of Wisdom” includes a section on the capital’s inter-war history, which shows how the conurbation was transformed by the arrival of Asia Minor refugees. Find out more

Organised by The Hellenic Community Trust


The Hellenic Centre


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