Delphi Economic Forum Delves Into the Role of Greek Diaspora

A roundtable discussion dedicated to the Greek diaspora was held on Wednesday at the 9th Economic Forum of Delphi, which takes place in Delphi from April 10-13.

The discussion on how the diaspora, counting more than 7 million people worldwide, can strengthen ties with Greece was chaired by Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council.

In his statement, the Secretary General of Hellenism Abroad and Public Diplomacy, Yiannis Chrysoulakis, referred to the diaspora as an “invaluable asset which is a key priority for Greece”.

He spoke about the recent establishment of the postal vote, through which 17,000 people voted in the recent parliamentary elections, while he emphasized that the registration process for the European elections is also in force.

National plan for action on the Greek diaspora discussed at Delphi

He also spoke about the drawing up of a national strategy for the expatriate Greeks with 5,000 different actions, noting that “our country wants to strengthen its relationship with the diaspora and help the everyday life of Greeks everywhere.”

He referred to a new program of action for 2024-2027, which will be offered for consultation. The program, according to Chrysoulakis, has been based on five main pillars:

The first objective is the support and development of networks and structures of the expatriate community.

The second objective is to take advantage of the presence of the expatriates for local issues in host countries.

The third objective is preserving and strengthening the Greek language, especially among the young generation.

The fourth objective is developing further links between the Greek diaspora and the Church while the sixth objective is the upgrading of the services provided by the consular authorities, with the digitization of many procedures.

Ambassador Tsunis: My generation has failed

George Tsunis, the US Ambassador emphasized that “diaspora is something we talk about a lot, but it is also a misunderstood concept. We must ensure that the relationship between Greece and the US is more vibrant than ever. We must make sure that there are opportunities for Greeks to study in America.”

Tsunis said: “My generation has failed, we have not done enough. I am not impressed with what has happened in recent years, there are problems everywhere.

“Where is the Greek Harvard? Why don’t we have excellent Greek schools? We must do more, do more, and approach things with a sense of responsibility. We need leadership and leadership is lacking.”

The US Ambassador also slammed the lack of institutions that can interest the diaspora world, stressing the need for introspection:

“We don’t have institutions that fascinate the world, that’s the reality. We need to introspect and decide what we want. We don’t have institutions that people believe in, giving our children equal opportunities to participate in them.”

Tsunis also spoke about education and the lack of connectivity with Greece through educational institutions.

“It is time to get serious about creating institutions that facilitate this connectivity. We’ve failed at it, we don’t support each other, if it’s not ideal we don’t even want to hear it. In America we don’t have a Greek university, schools are closing one after the other. The diaspora is such a rich and successful group. Why is this not translated into institutions? We must do more. If we don’t create connectivity, every year a bigger gap will be created” he concluded.

Taking the floor, the Australian ambassador to Greece, Alison Duncan, underlined that the Greek diaspora is one of those passionate about their country, having already taken many actions, something for which the Greeks should be proud.

On a similar wavelength, former ambassador of Australia to Greecey, Jenny Bloomfield, stated that five years after her retirement, she saw “a new Greece, different, a maritime superpower and a developed economy”, for which more things must be done, in cooperation between the country and the diaspora.

For his part, John Sotos, Co-President of the Hellenic Initiative Canada referred to the Prime Minister’s recent trip to Canada, which, as he noted, “motivated Greece and activated the investor community”, adding, at the same time, that it should to simplify procedures for Greeks abroad such as the Greek passport or their connection to real estate they have in Greece.

He also emphasized the need to create an organization that includes diaspora Hellenism, in all countries of the world.


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