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SAE Conventions 2008 Regional Conventions U.S.A. Message

Message

Dear colleagues, Members and friends of SAE, USA,

Almost two years have passed since we took the reins of the Council of Hellenes Abroad of the US Region. Our philosophy and intent from the very beginning until now has been to give meaning to the institution within the legal context that defines its function: i.e. for SAE to be rendered in actuality “a consultative, advisory, demanding and supportive instrument to the Greek State” and fulfill its mission “ as an expression of all the forces of Hellenism everywhere”.

In this context, we are aware of the weaknesses of Law No. 3480 for the “Organization, function and scope of responsibilities of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and other regulations” and have asked for the clarification and revision of certain regulations of it. Also, we have asked from the world chair to explore ways by which the Council of Hellenes Abroad will become financially independent from the Greek State and each and every government of said. Hellenism of abroad must have the opportunity to express itself freely.

We think that the major national issue of Hellenism in the USA as much as internationally relates to the Greek language, education, history and culture and to these – as you’ll see in our report – we gave priority in the last two years.

The attraction of the younger generations remains our biggest challenge and I believe that last October we laid the basis for the dialogue with the representatives of the younger generations of the Greek-American community at the Founding Convention of the Youth Network of SAE, US Region. However, each of our members and every organization of the Omogenia ought to ascribe utmost importance to the issue of Youth and attempt to offer incentives, initiatives and support to its representatives. Our young men and women will show us the way to preserve Hellenism in the American Continent.

Our region is deemed most important with respect to the role that it can play in the advancement of our national issues. In cooperation with the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Ambassador Alexandros Mallias, we tried to brief and coordinate the greater Omogenia by way of relevant meetings in Washington and New York. Our strength as American citizens of Greek origin would be way more effective were we to proceed with the systematic recording of our constituency and more so with our inclusion on the American election catalogs. It is obvious that Hellenism of America can influence the American government in issues that concern us as citizens of this country but also in foreign policy affairs.

The triptych “Education, Youth, National Issues” constitutes in general the constitutional objectives of the majority of the organizations of the Omogenia. Also, issues such as Greek-American relations, economic diplomacy, business dexterity, the environment, the promotion of our country as a tourist destination and many more could be promoted if there were greater communication and coordination among us.

It also depends on us whether as Greek Americans we will acquire a strong voice in order to make demands, pronouncements and suggestions to the Greek State and, certainly, to support Greece in the context of SAE, USA. In order to reach that level, we need to comprehend the meaning and reason of being of SAE, i.e. the value of coordinated efforts of Hellenism regionally and internationally. It is clear that the biennial regional and the quadrennial international conventions are no longer adequate.

All organizations, then, must revise and update their charters so that these allow more flexibility, cooperation, communication and coordination between all forces of Hellenism on these issues. Time passes and we must overcome our selfishness, differences, self-promotional desires and the tendency to only care about our respective specific territories of origin and work together toward common national goals. We must realize that as Omogenia, nothing should divide us. On the contrary, our goals unite us; especially our vision for Hellenism of USA to continue its brilliant course toward the future, stronger and more than ever united. Criticism and self-criticism are very easy; however, they will be useful only if they are accompanied by practical suggestions and this is exactly what we are attempting with this report.

Let us be honest with ourselves and consistent with the people who gave us the mandate to lead our countrymen in USA. We will not be able to succeed working isolated either as individuals or organizations.

With the wholehearted wish for Hellenism and Orthodoxy to shine in the firmament of the superpower in the world, let us all join hands and work collectively with love and unity.

Theodoros Spyropoulos
SAE Coordinator, USA Region