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Honor to the Greek Women of Diaspora 2010

Honor to the Greek Women of Diaspora 2010

Event in honor of the Woman of the Greek Diaspora

A message of optimism on the future of Hellenism was expressed by the distinguished women of the Greek Diaspora, who were honored last night at a formal event, organized for the third consecutive year by the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, in collaboration with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad.

Seven Greek women, from the equally numbered SAE Regions, with their modesty and dignity have rightfully gained the appreciation and admiration, not only of Greeks but also their fellow citizens in the countries where they live. Along with these women, two women nominated from the Prefecture were also honored.

“We honor seven women who exceeded themselves, who thrive in every area of social and professional life, offering their heart’s excess and promoting Greece all around the world”, stated the Prefect of Thessaloniki, among other things, whilst he requested the honorees to express the message that “we will not take Macedonia down from the flag of Greece”. He also described the Greek Diaspora as “the strongest, yet most unappreciated child of Hellenism, as Greeks abroad, live, create and accomplish great things, away from their motherland Greece.”

The Metropolitan of Neapoli and Stavroupoli Varnavas, made reference to the contribution of the women of the Greek Diaspora, who “carry out the mission of love”, describing those women as the only hope in a cruel and arrogant world.

On the role of ecumenical Hellenism, worthily represented by the honorees, spoke the General Secretary of the General Secretariat of Macedonia and Thrace, George Chatzikonstantinou.

Warm greetings from the Board of Directors and the President of SAE, Stefanos Tamvakis, who was unable to attend the event due to health reasons, were expressed by the Secretary of SAE, Dr. Olga Sarantopoulou.

“Those Greek women confirm that the female presence is unquestionably valuable for the present and future of Greek Communities of the Diaspora” stated among other things, Ms. Sarantopoulou, making reference to the timeless role of the woman of the Greek Diaspora, whilst she noted that SAE, pursues the strengthening of the role of women with the establishment and operation of women’s networks in its seven regions.

Women who honor the name of the Greek

The large audience of the event was moved by the speeches made by the guests of honour, who made reference to their work and the activities of Hellenism abroad world wide. They all had to say a big thank you to the Prefect of Thessaloniki and SAE, for their initiative to establish this event in honour of the Greek woman of the Diaspora.

“The work we offer to our new home, is done straight from our hearts and brings us closer to Greece, spreading our culture and language”, emphasized Alexandra Vaktsidis, from Adelaide, who through her activities, has been teaching for the past forty years the importance of community service. “Tonight’s event is yet another proof that our struggle triggers response and equips us with the courage to continue”.

Evidently moved, Kleopatra Zonara from Cordoba of Argentina, who has been voluntarily teaching the Greek language for over three decades to small children, stated that whatever Greeks in Latin America do for Greece, is done with great effort and sacrifice. Remembering her parents who infused her the love for Greece, she made special reference to her mother, who is of Argentine descent, who loved her husband’s birthplace as her own.

Margarita Kapetanea from Ramallah, Palestine, referred to the struggle and multidimensional activities of the Association of Greek Women in Palestine, in which she is a founding member and honorary president.

“The Association of Greek Women in Palestine will continue to offer whatever is possible to the people among whom its members are living, as well as Hellenism” stressed Ms Kapetanea, who asked for everyone’s help to transport all Greek women from Palestine to and from Greece, from Ben Gurion airport in Israel.

Concluding, she expressed her optimism on the current financial situation in Greece, reciting the lyrics of our great poet Costis Palamas “Prophetic” from the collection “The twelve words of the Gypsy”.

The love of Greeks from Kyrgyzstan, who lived tragic moments during the latest events in this country of Central Asia, expressed Olga Kuprianova, President of the Greek Community of Kyrgyzstan “Filia”.

“Even though across the country of Kyrgyzstan, we are only six hundred Greeks, most of them being senior citizens, we do our best to keep the flame of Hellenism burning, we learn the Greek language with our eyes turned to Greece” stated Ms. Kuprianova, wishing on her part that Greece will soon be out of this financial crisis, given the love of Greeks from all places of the world.

On the struggles of the Greek Community in Canada, the dictatorship years in Greece, but also Cyprus, in which she participated, spoke Ms. Vrisiis Mavrou-Paidousis from Montreal.

“Our life is a struggle that never ends” noted Ms. Paidousis, who led the establishment of resistance organizations, such as Makrygiannis, the Patriot Front and Greek Relief Fund.

Athanasia Siskou, who was recently repatriated from Germany, made reference to the role of the Greek Communities. Having served for over twenty years as a member of the Federation of Greek Communities in Germany, she struggled for the extinction of inequalities and injustices that occur daily, against women and immigrants.

“The role and presence of women in Greek communities and other representative bodies of Greek people, is very important but above all necessary” said Ms. Siskou. “My belief is that all Greeks together, regardless of their gender, religion, educational level and place of origin, must fight united through a single body”.

Ms. Elena Amvrosiadou on her part spoke of the beautiful struggle of voluntary organizations, whose activities must be further supported by Greece.

The dynamic entrepreneur, who covered the expenses of dispatching the members of the Greek Rescue Team in Haiti stated, among other things, that a woman is the one who promotes coherence in society and that the women of the Greek Diaspora are those who connect Hellenism with Greece. She thanked from the bottom of her heart all volunteers who selflessly offer their services to their fellow beings.

Harikleia Nikolopoulou, spoke of her relations built on love and trust with the citizens of Great Dereios of Evros, whereby she has been teaching since 2004, placing emphasis on the dignity of the Pomaks and their eagerness to teach their children Greek.

During the event, presented by the Journalist of ET3, Chryssa Samou, Marina Moustakas from the USA who could not attend for health reasons., was also honored. However, she sent her message recorded from San Jose in California, whereby in 1999 she founded the Institute and Museum of Greek Heritage.

Interviews (in Greek Language):

Ioanna Zonara-Georgalou

Athanasia Siskou

Alexandra Bakitsidou

Margarita Kapetanea

Olga Kuprianova

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