III BGI Biannual Conference 2008 - Athens, Greece

The 3rd BGI Biannual Conference was held between the 27th and the 30th of November 2008, in the city of Athens. The event had as hosts the Greek Law Firm Kiritsakas - Mavromichalis - Gaki and Associates (KMG). All delegates and guests stayed at the King George Hotel, the prestigious five star hotel in the heart of the shopping and business district of Athens, which offers a panoramic view to Acropolis and Constitution square. We all experienced the luxury and comfort of the hotel's amenities, the warmth and the excellent hospitality of its staff and personnel.

Date 06/12/2008

In the evening of the 27th, our hosts received us at the hotel for a welcome cocktail-dinner at the bar restaurant T- Palace, giving the opportunity to all members of the BGI to meet each other and share their half year experiences, as well as their personal and professional news.

The Conference took place the following day, 28th of November, in the Conference Room of King George Hotel. On the arrival, both, the President of BG I, Mr Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada y Díez and Mr Gregory Kiritsakas, host of the Conference and senior partner of KMG, welcomed all participants. During his opening speech, the BGI President underlined the need to further enhance the already strong BGI network through conferences and meetings, thus, consolidating even closer relations between BGI members.

The session continued and focused on the following topics: the approval of the minutes of the last Conference in Mexico, the accounting report and the budget report for the period up to 30th of October 2008 and the estimated income and expenditure for 2009.

During the session new candidates were also identified for 2009: Panama, Arab, Emirates (Dubai), Russia, ltaly, USA and Croatia. At that point the President welcomed Dr. Roman Makarov, of the law firm Yurbureau LLP, resident in Moscow and BGI candidate who attended the Conference, expressing the pleasure of all BGI members, to see him at the Conference.

The next topic concerned BGI news; The President mentioned that honours have been granted to two of its members: La Legion d'Honneur de la République Française to Dr. Hervé Lehman and the Golden Master of the Forum "de Alta Dirección" to Dr. Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada y Díez.

The Conference went on with a general debate during which the participants exchanged views, and finally Mr. Costas Tsirides' suggestion for the creation of a new Committee which will make suggestions and recommendations to BGI members concerning the growth of the network, the new members and other topics regarding internal BGI procedures, was approved.

The morning session then finished and all participants, as well as the guests, had lunch in the Tudor Hall restaurant at the King George Hotel, one of the best restaurants of the city with breathtaking view to Acropolis.

In the afternoon session, a video presentation of the network took place as well as a presentation of the draft of the second edition of Balms International Law Magazine on Inheritance Law.

The President presented the new BGI website. Finally, the President concluded with the next two BGI Conferences: the 21st BGI Annual Conference, which will be held in Madrid in May 2009 and will coincide with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Balms Abogados, and the 4th BGI Biannual Conference which will take place in Paris in November 2009.

Meanwhile, the guests had the opportunity during the morning to visit the Archaelogical Museum of Athens, which houses, a collection of more than 20.000 exhibits providing a panorama of the Greek civilization from the beginnings of Prehistory to Late Antiquity. In the evening all participants and guests had dinner at the Restaurant Dionysos.

Dionysos was the ancient Greek God of Wine. Apparently he accompanied us during our dinner and inspired the pleasant and joyful evening we all shared.

The next day, the 30th of November, although cloudy and rainy, was dedicated to the Acropolis. Our visit to one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, as the Acropolis and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and world´s cultural heritage, took place under the rain, which, accordingly to our tradition, did not at all spoil our pleasure.

On the contrary, the Parthenon, even amidst the rainy atmosphere, unveiled its unique beauty. After the Acropolis, we went to the Ilias Lalounis Jewelry Museum, a museum devoted to the art of jewellery and the decorative arts.

Afterwards we visited the New Acropolis Museum which the official opening will take place on June 2009. Hopefully in the New Acropolis Museum for the first time ever, all the surviving treasures of Acropolis will be seen together and will be reunited.

A delicious seafood lunch followed to "Milos Restaurant", at The Hilton Hotel with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and afterwards some continued for a visit to Piraeus, and others relaxed in the hotel.

The day ended with dinner at the Villa Mercedes, one the most well-known club-restaurants of the city, with fun, flowers to our hostess, Mrs. Gaki, and live music.

The following day, the 3rd BGI Biannual Conference came to an end and so we exchanged farewells, with the promise to see each other in May in Madrid.

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