The world is going through a crucial period of transition and a re-evaluation of priorities in society is essential in order to face the challenges ahead. New models and a new vision for the future are requirements for building a harmonious society in the next millennium. Destructive attitudes, that have led to severe environmental deterioration, need to give way to a conscious effort to preserve the earth for the generations to come. Now, more than ever before, is the time to realise that respect for bios (life) and the bio- environment need to become the essence of every action and thought.

The bio-environment can provide the necessary unifying dimensions to transcend boundaries and attain international co-operation. Furthermore, the bio- environment can become the interdisciplinary link between culture, diplomacy and trade, leading to a new era of bio-culture, where every endeavour will be oriented towards a common goal: the appreciation and preservation of bios on our planet.

With this cultural symposium, B.I.O. aimed to strengthen the friendship between the Czech Republic and Greece, and to promote environmental preser- vation as the pathway leading to a United Europe. The hope is that the bio- environment will eventually bring together every country in the world, and efforts to protect our planet will become joint international projects.

The Hellenic-Czech Cultural Symposium, as well as this volume of proceedings, is dedicated to the memory of Josef Vavrousek, whose untimely death was a blow to all who shared the vision of making this world a better place for the future. An exceptional scientist and person, he had committed himself to promoting the status of humanity. B.I.O. is not only losing a dear friend, but also an ardent supporter of its goals and ideals, and a personality dedicated to the furtherance of biocentric values and priorities in society.

I wish to thank the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their ongoing support of B.I.O. efforts and projects, as well as the symposium co- organisers, H.E. the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Professor Jiri Marvan and the Director of Czech Airlines for Greece Mr. Bohuslav Santrucek. Moreover, I would like to express my gratitude to the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry for holding this event on its premises, to the Mayor of Athens for hosting a luncheon in honour of the Czech delegation, and to the Raptaki Group of Enterprises. Finally, I extend my appreciation to Helen Papadimitriou, Christos Efthy-miopoulos and Dimitris Charalambidis for contributing to the preparation of this publication.

Dr. Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis
B.I.O. President and Founder

Special appreciation is extended to the Commercial Bank of Greece for generous sponsorship of 1995 B.I.O. activities
The Hellenic-Czech Cultural Symposium and the subsequent publication of this volume were also made possible by the following B.I.O. sponsors for 1995:
K.P. Kyriakopoulos Rank Xerox Hellas S.A. A.G. Leventis Foundation ELAIS S.A. I.F. Kostopoulos Foundation Zeneca Hellas S.A. Rhodes Express S.A.