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SAE History

World Council of Hellenes Abroad

In 1995, the Greeks abroad joined forces for the first time forming “Greece of the World”. A presidential decree instituted World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) to consult and advise the Greek State on issues concerning the Greeks abroad. A firm demand and vision expressed by World Hellenism materialized enjoying broad political consent.

The Founding Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad was held on November 29 through December 8, 1995 in Thessaloniki, which became established as the permanent headquarters and “capital city” of World Hellenism. Roughly 300 elected representatives of the largest Greek community organizations worldwide got together for the first time joining their forces. The spirit and emotion dominating in the conference quickly spread. The Greeks of America met with the Greeks in Australia, Africa, Europe and Asia. The Black Sea Greeks, unknown to many even in Greece, were also there.

SAE comprised of geographic Regions managed by an 11-member Presiding Board. Andrew A. Athens from Chicago, USA was elected first Council President (1995-2006).

SAE’s primary goal was to unite the creative forces of the Greek Diaspora to protect Hellenism and Orthodoxy in every corner of the world, preserve and spread the use of the Greek language, preserve the history and Greek cultural heritage, promote economic, business and scientific cooperation and communication networks.

Maturity and solid experience acquired over the years consolidated the belief that SAE can evolve into an organization with a great future.

The implementation of Law No. 3480/2006 gave SAE new momentum guaranteeing its consultative, advisory, assertive and supportive role to the Greek State. It acquired the role of a clearly defined world organization in terms of authority scope, organizational structure and operation of its individual bodies. The SAE Regions were increased from four to seven consolidating the fundamental principle of representation while the term in office for all its members increased from two to four years. Networks will be established through a decision by the corresponding Regional Assembly. The establishment of Youth Networks is mandatory for each Region (within two years after the 6th World Convention in December 2006).

The 6th World Convention in December 2006 elects Stefanos P. Tamvakis to the president’s office.

Andrew Athens was proclaimed World Council of Hellenes Abroad president emeritus.