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Meeting of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Spiros Kouvelis with Youths who are taking part in the 1st Meeting of the Coordinating Councils of SAE Regions Youth Networks. Collaboration with the SAE Board of Directors

New ideas and proposals, characterized by the freshness, optimism and unselfishness of the new generation, were submitted to the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Spiros Kouvelis by youths of the Greek Diaspora in their discussion which took place within the framework of the 1st meeting of the Coordinating Councils of Youth Networks of SAE Regions in Thessaloniki.

The youth of the Greek Diaspora stated that they now feel that they have a say and a role to play. They referred to the issues that concern them with utmost honesty, such as issues regarding the promotion of education in the Greek language and our civilization in the countries whereby they reside as well as their activities abroad related to the Diaspora issues and events. Furthermore, they submitted proposals for the amelioration of the Philoxenia Programmes and their stay in Greece for the purpose of Voluntary activities.

They also mentioned the need to establish a two-way relationship, the issue of inclusion of the Greek Diaspora in E-government and the creation of databases with the CVs of Hellenes abroad, as well as their concern for a better image of Greece abroad. In addition, more radical proposals were submitted in which Mr. Kouvelis showed interest, such as the issue of alternative military services, whereby Greeks abroad will be assigned to Environmental programmes.

The Deputy Minister stated that things are now taking a more substantial course and congratulated the youths on their agenda of their meeting, as well as their campaign to promote the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles, which is an issue of critical importance, according to Mr. Kouvelis. The campaign will commence on Monday on the occasion of their visit to the New Acropolis Museum.

Mr. Kouvelis also emphasized on the fact that in Greece, everyone must realize what the real needs of the Greek Diaspora are and that it should not only be taken care of when it is needed. He also stated that there is a need to collaborate with Hellenes of the Diaspora in programmes that will promote Hellenism, the Greek Culture, but also the need for constructive collaboration in countries where Greece displays a developmental presence. With regards to the Philoxenia programmes of the GSGA, he stated that these programmes must strengthen the bonds of youths of the Diaspora who must be brought into contact with contemporary Greece and take part in alternative programmes and initiatives which are related to the environment, culture, arts, etc.

“We will be holding an open discussion in order to make the best use of your proposals which are of great importance” stated Mr. Kouvelis to the Youth of the Diaspora, by also reassuring them that the support of the Greek state is given in their activities.

Meeting with the SAE Board of Directors

Earlier today the Deputy Minister of Foreign affairs had a meeting with the SAE board of directors in which the Honorary President of SAE Mr. Andrew Athens was also present.

After an analytical briefing which was held by the President of SAE Mr. Stefanos P. Tamvakis and Members of the SAE Board, Mr. Kouvelis emphasized on the importance of “knowing how we can make use of SAE, which is an established institution according to our national law, in order to become a tool for the realization of our political activities with regards to the Greek Diaspora.”

“We must clearly set our strategic priorities, our entrepreneurial goals on what we wish to accomplish” stated, among others, Mr. Kouvelis by specifically focusing on the issues of the Greek Language, the Greek civilization and most importantly on a two-way communication with the Greeks of the Diaspora. In addition he stated that: “we must look at specifica actions and as a result how we must plan ahead and the issue of financial support , in a time which is very difficult for the finances of Greece. However, it is a priority and we must make sure that every single euro we invest must bear substantial results”.

In the meeting, discussions were also made on the subject of the Diaspora Vote. The government, as stated by Mr. Koubelis will examine carefully the issue and during the open consensus which will follow, the presence of SAE is imperative.

“What is really needed here is an open and honest dialogue so that we can have a solution for this issue once and for all, which will make the Greek Diaspora feel more secure and feel that they are actually being represented”.

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