The SAE former Soviet Union countries Regional Convention, held in the Russian city of Rostov on October 11 and 12 with the participation of representatives from all the countries in the Region, was concluded with great success.
Regional Coordinator and member of the Russian Duma Ivan Savvidis and all the delegates stressed that unity is the most important element in dealing with the common challenges. The decision to adopt a “Day of Unity of the 5th Region” attests to the consensus that characterized this historical meeting of the Black Sea Greeks.
“The issues concerning Greek education are the most important to our Region,” Savvidis stressed and requested the support of the Greek State to meet practical needs such as the supply with personal computers that will lead to the networking of the Greek expatriate bodies in the Region. He also stressed that Greece can and should utilize the tens of Greek descent MPs and elected officials in local administrations who have been voted in former Soviet Union countries.
On his part, SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis stressed that the conclusions reached in all Regional Conventions will form the core of the SAE Annual Report to the Greek State and underlined that the expatriate demands will have to be recorded. He also referred to a number of relative initiatives undertaken by SAE, such as, the broader participation of Greek expatriate organizations in SAE, the updated register of members, the importance of “DESMOS” NGO, the Expatriate Athletic Games, the promotion of the issue of the voting rights of Greeks abroad etc.
A message by Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis was conveyed by General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad General Director Ioannis Kyparissidis.
The convention was addressed by Greek MPs Giannelis Theodosiadis and Vasilis Geranidis who conveyed messages by Hellenic Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and the members of the parliamentary Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad.
A message by Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis was conveyed by Christina Kelesidou, President of the Center of Studies and Development of the Greek Culture of the Black Sea.
Within the framework of the convention, delegates unanimously approved the Region’s Rules of Operation, its activities report and budget.
Among the issues discussed was the situation in S. Ossetia and Georgia, the prospects of Greek education in the former Soviet Union countries, the role of the Region in the promotion of social programmes, the improved organization of the Region’s newly established Youth Network, etc.
Other issues were the hospitality programmes for Greek expatriates of all ages in Greece, care for elderly expatriates, hosting of Greek Festivals, the special difficulties faced by Greek expatriates in countries like Belarus and Armenia and the timeless tragedy of the Hellenism of Pontos.