The role of Hellenism in Latin America and the efforts made by the newly established SAE Central and South America Region were praised by SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis addressing the 2nd Regional Convention in Santiago, Chile.
“Hellenism in Latin America is a proud and decent part of Greece. The efforts you have made for decades on your own have paid off considering that you have been able to pass on to local societies the Greek spirit and your love for Greece. Despite being a newly established region you have already produced remarkable work,” he stressed and congratulated Regional Coordinator Nikiforos Nikolaides and the Coordinating Council members.
Tamvakis thanked Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and Parliamentary Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad President Nikolaos Tsiartsionis, who are honoring the Convention with their presence, for the constructive cooperation and expressed the wish that they will jointly support the proposals concerning the Greek language and culture in the Region.
Delegates were pleased to be informed by the SAE President that textbooks and pcs offered by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation to be used in computer assisted Greek language learning will be distributed soon following his personal intervention, while a total of 40 Greek traditional costumes will be donated by the “K. Krystallis” Epirotic folklore society.
He referred extensively to the work done over the past two years by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad aimed at further upgrading the organization and stressed that for the first time the recommendations and conclusions of the Regional Conventions will constitute the main bulk of the Annual Report to be submitted by SAE to the Greek State in early 2009.
“We aspire to make SAE even more active. It depends on you to fulfill its consultative and supportive role towards the Greek State,” Tamvakis stressed, adding that this is “a role the Regions should have to undertake by displaying perseverance, patience and well-documented positions. He also pointed out that his and all the board members’ support to this noteworthy effort is a given.
Youth will be a priority for the next two years, Tamvakis said, underlining the successfully held SAE Youth Conventions and the establishment of Youth Networks in all the Regions.
“It is a mistake to say that Youth is just the future. Youth is the present,” he stated characteristically. “It is important for the young men and women, who are deeply interested in Hellenism, to be heard. It is even more important to offer them the necessary means for a more substantive role.”
The SAE President also announced that one of the initiatives, to materialize before the end of the Presiding Board’s four-year term, is the hosting of the Greek Expatriate Games both in the SAE Regions and Greece. Within this framework, a special study has already been drawn up aimed at the substantive networking of the young generation.
Tamvakis referred to SAE’s contribution to the promotion of the Greek national issues in every corner of the world fulfilling its supportive role toward Greece and Cyprus in direct cooperation with the competent political leadership, while underlining that cooperation with the Church and the Patriarchates is excellent.
Finally, he referred to the voting rights of the Greeks abroad, stressing the need for cooperation to find a “golden mean” for the representation of Omogenia in the Greek Parliament.
The SAE president, Greece’s ambassador Chrisoula Karikopoulou, Parliamentary Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad President Nikolaos Tsiartsionis, committee member MP Giorgos Salagoudis and Regional Coordinator Nikiforos Nikolaides visited the Greek communities of Valparaiso and Santiago where they were briefed on the activities undertaken and exchanged viewpoints with their board members.