We met with the Secretary General of Greeks Abroad John Chrysoulakis, in his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and discussed the issues of Greek diaspora. In a full-length interview to Panagiotis Sfaelos on Active Radio London, Mr. Chrysoulakis outlines his vision and the actions of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad.
Mr. Chrysoulakis speaks warmly of the Greek diaspora which, as he said, is thirsty for Greece. Expatriates wish to be close to their homeland, which they love. And that is why the vision of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad is to bring closer all expatriates with Greece and this will be achieved through its 80 actions, which are under way all over the planet, where Greeks live.
Particular referece was made to the crisis of the Covid-19, where the Greek doctors abroad were found to be in charge of the leading medical teams in the fight against the pandemic. The successful teleconference organized by General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad, during the pandemic, involved 100 eminent Greek doctors from 25 states and the result was impressive. As Mr. Chrysoulakis pointed out, he is impressed and proud of our expatriates who succeed in the countries where they live. As he pointed out, Greeks unite in periods of crisis, but it would be good for Greeks to be united always, not only in crises.
With regard to the right to vote for our expatriates, Mr. Chrysoulakis said that he was satisfied with this positive development, although the new law only gives the right to vote to some expatriates but not all, as was the original design of the government. But it is the first step towards the equal participation of our expatriates in the political events of our country. The General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad will soon take initiatives to give a new form to the Council of Greeks Abroad, which will become a more representative body. In this context, diaspora conferences will also be organised.
Mr. Chrysoulakis referred to the teaching of the Greek language abroad and to the new platform www.staellinika.com which was created by the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad in collaboration with the INN CENTRE OF GREEK STUDIES at SIMON FRASER University, and with the support of the “STAVROS NIARCHOS” (INS) Foundation, so that the children of expatriates can become familiar with the Greek language. In fact, in the first 50 days of implementation, we had 11,000 registrations from 110 states.
On the issue of the conversion of Agia Sophia into a mosque, Mr. Chrysoulakis said that the Greek organizations abroad, in cooperation with the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad, have been mobilized by resolutions. At this point he also stressed that the role of the Orthodox Church is a catalyst for Greeks abroad.
Mr. Chrysoulakis assured Greeks living in the UK that the Greek Foreign Office will be close to them in any difficulty with Brexit. Further, a series of actions are planned for Greek expatriates in the UK. Particularly, there are events for 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution that will come to Britain too in 2021, in cooperation with Piraeus Bank. Many actions will be digitised and transferred to the United Kingdom. Also, those expatriates who will find themselves in Greece in the summer of 2021, these actions will wait for them to show them around. Further, the platform www.staellinika.com will soon enter all Greek schools in the UK. In addition, a series of cultural events, exhibitions, festivals and awards of distinguished expatriates in the UK will take place.
Another important action organized by the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad is the program “Back to Roots” for the hospitality of Greek children of expatriates of 12 to 18 years of age. During their stay in Greece, we will teach them the Greek language and the Greek culture in order to become ambassadors of Greece abroad. The program, although it was scheduled for implementation in 2020, due to the coronavirus, they will be implemented in 2021.
Overall, the first and most important objective of General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad is the systematic communication with Greeks abroad. The second objective of General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad is the exploitation of the human resources of Greeks of the diaspora with long-term actions. The third objective is to improve the services provided to the Greek Consulates by digitizing services. Fourthly, the spread of the Greek language and Greek culture to greek expatriates and philhellenes through a new movement of philhellenism abroad.
Mr. Chrysoulakis also referred to the Cyprus issue and said that we will never forget the missing persons. On the occasion of the sad anniversary of 20 July 1974, Mr. Chrysoulakis declared his support to our Cypriot brothers and wished that the problem of the Turkish occupation in Cyprus will soon be over.
Who is John Chrisoulakis
John Chrysoulakis is a Civil Engineer, with a Master’s Degree from the USA and a Doctorate from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and is Professor Emeritus.
He has taught at Academic Institutions in Greece and abroad.
He has managed bodies in the public and private sectors, as well as large European consortia producing new technologies and has important International Administrative and Scientific work.
He was elected Vice President of the World Organization of the National Centres for Public Administration and President of the National Centre for Public Administration and Self-Government.
He has worked in many European countries and in the USA, working together and in contact with many Greek diaspora organizations and Greek diaspora councils.
He has worked with many International Organizations and has participated in a large number of Councils, Committees and Conferences within and outside Greece.
He has a large number of publications and books.
Listen the whole interview here: