By Christos Zampounis
The gentleman sitting at the next table on the terrace of the guesthouse “Polyvotis” wears a dark jacket and is dressed somewhat out of season and place, if we take into account that the temperature outside is 26°C and the rest of the inhabitants or visitors of the island wear short sleeves and bermuda shorts. My question on the “out of place” outfit will be resolved a little later, when I get up and introduce myself by interrupting his online preoccupation. He is the mayor of the island, Christoforos Koroneos, and so as not to copy his multi-page CV, I will limit myself to a recently published article on the website of “Rodiaki”. “The mayor of Nisyros makes the 2% list of the world’s top scientists by Stanford University”. It is to be noted, I think, that the evaluation included a sample of 8,000,000 scientists worldwide.
Born in the capital of the island, Mandraki, Koroneos moved to the USA for university studies and excelled. But what drove him back to his hometown? The answer is simple: “There is nothing sweeter than the homeland”. Without halting his teaching work, he ran for the municipal elections of 2014, and since then he has been elected continuously – the last time was on Sunday. His work is evident everywhere. Crews are constantly repairing the road network, the Geopark with over 100,000 visitors a year, associated with the only active volcano in the Aegean, is a living organism with constant activities, the summer music festival hosts artists from Goran Bregovic to Eleftheria Arvanitaki , while the building activity is controlled, with respect to traditional architecture.
The mayor has many plans for his new term in position, and the most important is sustainability. After all, it is no coincidence that the leading scientist of the genre and president of The Earth Institute, is present at one of the conferences he regularly organizes in Nisyros. “We were fellow students at Columbia University,” is his humble comment.