Tens of thousands of Greek expatriates of all ages, coming from all continents visit Greece each year within the framework of the hospitality programmes organized by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, with the participation of the Union of Prefectural Local Authorities (ENAE) and the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities in Greece (KEDKE).
SAE being aware of the multiple benefits stemming from the hospitality programmes, which yield more fruit year by year, cooperates with the Foreign Ministry-General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and other institutions with the purpose of contributing to their further development. Roughly 3,500 Greek expatriates took advantage of the hospitality programmes in 2007 alone.
The programmes aim at cultivating a two-way relation with Greece, particularly for the children and the young Greeks who had never visited Greece before. The programmes for children and the young combine entertainment with courses in Greek language, traditional dances and songs, in addition to visits to archaeological sites and other places of interest.
Guests are always left with the best impressions. Children exchange telephone numbers and mailing addresses with the promise to keep in touch and the certainty that they belong to the large family of World Hellenism.
“Building the future”: new hospitality programme sponsored by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with SAE
The twenty-day programme “Building the future” designed for children from Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Egypt aged 12-14 was held for the first time in June 2007 at the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad (GGAE) camping site in Malesina, Fthiotida Prefecture, central Greece, hosted by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE).
The programme was held in a very pleasant environment within the framework of the effort to build a spirit of coexistence in a better world. The children had the opportunity to participate in action teams, each made up of children with different religions and cultural heritage coming from all four countries. The connecting link was five children of Greek descent from each country.
In the events held to mark the end of the camping period the children danced Greek dances, presented an exhibition of their artistic works, sang songs and shared their impressions and experiences from their stay in Greece.
“We wanted the children to feel that they can build a better world, live in it happy and respecting each others uniqueness while sharing the same neighborhood. I don’t know if we’ve succeeded, but the fact is that the children, based on their own words, return to their countries filled with pleasant memories from Greece”, stressed Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, the programme’s sponsor.