Highlighting the problems and potential of Greek expatriates in Europe vis-à-vis the current social and economic developments was the objective of the SAE Europe Regional Convention held in Frankfurt, Germany on October 24-26.
The convention constitutes a follow-up to events and initiatives promoting the presentation of ideas and proposals with the purpose of improving the common endeavor for the Greeks abroad. The proceedings were broadcast live online for the first time giving the opportunity to thousands of Greeks worldwide to be briefed and actively participate by emailing their own questions and proposals.
A priority was given to the promotion of networking and the improvement of communication and cooperation between the SAE Europe Region members focusing on the development of collaborations and coordinated strategies for the benefit of the Greeks Abroad. The immediate intention was to update and record the SAE member positions.
The convention proceedings were launched with a message by the Ecumenical Patriarch conveyed by Bishop Bartholomew of Arianzos and a message by Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, responsible for Greeks abroad, conveyed by General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad General Director Ioannis Kyparissidis.
Also, the convention addressed Parliamentary Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad President Nikolaos Tsiartsionis, committee 1st Vice-President Grigoris Niotis and European Network of Elected Greeks in Local Government President Ilias Galanos.
SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis opened the convention briefing the delegates on the course and activities of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad.
The convention themes were directly linked to the activities of SAE and its members:
The first topic concerned the “Current policy on Greeks Abroad” presented by General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad General Director Ioannis Kyparissidis.
A special chapter in the convention proceedings was dedicated to “Education and Education Policy in the 21st century for the Greeks in Europe” addressed by Ministry of Education Special Secretary for Cross-Cultural Education Angelos Syrigos.
Delegates showed special interest in the issue of the “Voting rights of Greeks abroad and the election of Greek expatriate parliament deputies” addressed by SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis and SAE Europe Regional Coordinator Giorgos Amarantidis. The delegates agreed with the positions outlined, stressing the need for the Greek expatriate positions to be heard.
Within the framework of the convention, KAPA Research Director Tasos Georgiadis announced the conclusions of a research on the Identity of the Diaspora Greeks conducted by his company.
Ktimatologio S.A. President Christos Goulas was also present and briefed the representatives of Greek expatriate organizations on the important national land registry project currently underway.
SAE Europe Regional Coordinator Giorgos Amarantidis briefed the delegates on the activities undertaken by the Regional Coordinating Council, stressing that the main goal is to bring together the human resources of Hellenism abroad.
Former Coordinating Council members were honored in a special ceremony held during the convention and shared their experiences with participating delegates.
A special section on the agenda was the Regional Convention and Coordinating Council Rules of Operation which were unanimously approved after a detailed discussion.
The Convention was dominated by well-put interventions, concerns, positions and comments that contributed to a fruitful dialogue between the representatives of Greek expatriate organizations and the speakers.
Aside from the useful conclusions expressed by participants in the form of proposals and interventions, which will be included in the convention minutes, certain realizations were also reached as being established based on the convention proceedings.
The first realization concerns the fact that the convention met a lasting demand of the Greek expatriates as regards their participation.
Through the Convention, SAE Europe Region launched a public dialogue with the Region’s Hellenism fully utilizing new technologies. This is a dialogue that seeks to find a golden mean of cooperation boosting the role of Greek expatriate organizations in Europe in a substantive manner.
The second realization concerns the need to shape an updated policy on Greeks abroad taking under consideration the social needs of Greek expatriates, those of the younger generation in particular, an updated policy that will release the most creative part of Diaspora Hellenism.
In conclusion, the Convention highlighted fundamental issues like the need to further develop and modernize the expatriate organizations, a common goal of all Greeks in Europe.
The wide variety of topics and the many positions expressed lead to the conclusion that a weekend is not enough for detailed and thorough recording of the issues that concern the Greek expatriates in Europe.
SAE will continue to record them within the framework of specialized one-day meetings.
Information as regards the Convention proceedings can be found on the website: conference.sae-europe.eu.