The two-day proceedings of SAE Canada Regional Coordinating Council 2nd Regular Meeting were completed today held for the first time with the participation of the presidents of three major urban Greek Communities (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) at the initiative of Regional Coordinator Costas Menegakis. Also in attendance were the presidents of the Canadian Hellenic Congress, the Provincial Congresses and PSEKA Canada, as well as the Regional Youth Network Coordinating Council members.
The initiative by Costas Menegakis, aimed at coordinating the activities of all Greek expatriate bodies to meet the needs of Hellenism in Canada, was welcomed by all participants describing it as a milestone in the course of Hellenism in the country. Highlighting the distinct roles of the Greek expatriate organizations, Menegakis reminded that SAE does not take the place of any of them but on the contrary it supports initiatives that help strengthen the unity of Hellenism.
“Our goal is to engage in dialogue and coordinate the well-founded positions of the expatriate organizations,” Menegakis pointed out. “Aside from the cooperation, we aim at successfully setting up the necessary SAE networks that will allow us to focus on specific sectors such as, Youth, Culture and Entrepreneurship. Among our immediate priorities are the problems faced by Greek-speaking education which guarantees the future of Hellenism and the effective promotion of our national issues. At the same time, we have launched the recording of distinguished Greeks and philhellenes in Canada, who will consolidate our presence and strength in Canada and contribute to meeting our goals sooner.”
On his part, the newly elected President of the Canadian Hellenic Congress Crist Geronikolos stressed that “the only option we have is to work together to strengthen the Greek voice in the Canadian Parliament and local mass media putting communication with our members on a new basis,” a view supported by all participants in the meeting.
Within the framework of the meeting, PSEKA Canada President Constantinos Sofocleous gave a briefing on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and on the conclusions of the 16th World Conference of Overseas Cypriots held in Nicosia in late August attended by SAE Canada Regional Coordinator who headed a delegation of Canadian Parliament deputies.
Aside from procedural issues (first month activities assessment, the SAE Canada Region legal identity etc) the meeting also focused on issues of Greek-speaking education, including the problem that has arisen after the cutbacks in the funding of the Greek day schools in Montreal.
Among the priorities of SAE Canada Region are: the promotion of the just demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece – the Youth being actively involved with the collection of signatures – and the organizing of a Pan-Canadian cultural event with the participation of all Greek Communities, Federations and Associations. They also decided to immediately go through with the establishment of a Registry of Greeks in Canada, expected to be completed by the end of 2010, and the establishment of a Pan-Canadian Network of Businessmen. A special emphasis is placed on the communication policy through the SAE Canada website.
Menegakis briefed the participants on the developments as regards the voting rights of the expatriates and presented a new SAE draft text on the issue submitted in the latest meeting of the organization’s Board held in Thessaloniki. They also discussed SAE’s cooperation with the Hellenic Postbank (TT) and the opportunities for partial financial independence offered by the agreement reached.
The SAE Canada Regional Youth Network is recording a dynamic growth, underlined Coordinator Tassos Mastorakos referring to the very productive four meetings of its Coordinating Council. The recording of the Youth organizations in Canada has proceeded, as well as the construction of a website, while action committees have been set up similar to those of the Youth Networks in the rest SAE Regions.
The young expatriates expressed certainty that the first meeting of the Coordinating Councils of all SAE Youth Networks to be held in Thessaloniki in the first half of December, in parallel with the joint meeting of the seven SAE Regional Coordinating Committees, will constitute an opportunity to better coordinate the activities of young expatriates worldwide.
The SAE Canada Regional Youth Network Coordinating Council also expressed support to the construction of the new Cultural Center of the Greek Community in Toronto. According to a resolution issued, it will contribute greatly to the preservation and continuation of the Greek culture in Canada, meet the needs of the young and create the necessary structures that will improve the teaching of the Greek language while offering sports programmes and social services to the thousands of Greek expatriates living and working in the greater Metropolitan Toronto Area.
Visit to the Greek Community of Vancouver
The mission was warmly received by the members of the Greek Community of Vancouver, one of the historic Greek Communities in Canada established in 1927. In a formal dinner at the Community Center on Saturday, Community President Panagiotis Kletas welcomed the visitors conveying the joy of the local community members who constitute an integral part of the dynamic Greek Community in Canada. The leaders of the Omogenia toured the Community Center and were briefed on its various activities.
On Sunday, Sept. 27 the delegates attended mass at the Church of St George and later attended an open meeting with members of the Greek-Canadian Community held at the Community Center.
The SAE Canada Coordinating Council 2nd Regular Meeting attended the council’s members: Athanasios Foussias, Ioannis Theodosopoulos and Spyridon Volonakis, Canadian Hellenic Congress President Christos Geronikolos, the presidents of the Greek Communities of Montreal Vassilios Balabanos, of Vancouver Panagiotis Kletas and New Brunswick Nikolaos Papadopoulos. Also in attendance were: the President of Ontario Canadian Hellenic Federation Michael Neroulas, Alberta Hellenic Congress President Constantina Zarokosta, Manitoba Hellenic Congress President Pantelis Halamantaris, British Colombia Hellenic Congress President Dimitrios Douzenis and SAE Canada Office General Director Anastassios Mousas. The Youth Network was represented by Coordinator Tasos Mastorakos and members Panagiota Maragou, Costas Bonis, Eleni Cosma, Apollo Retsinas and Emmanuela-Despina Pontikaki.
SAE Canada Region Press Office