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It is a great honor for me to address the greeting speech at the opening of the “Workshop for the Greek Language and Greek Language Education” organized by the Centre for Greek Language, with the participation of the Ministries of Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs at the Capital of the Diaspora, and headquarters of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Thessaloniki.

I congratulate the Centre for Greek Language for the organization of this Meeting, as well as for the important work they have carried out and continue to do so all these years in operation.

The issue of language is the most crucial issue with regards to the future of our compatriots around the world, for the future of Greece. The Greek Language, which is one of the richest languages in the world, in terms of content and historical influence – the mother language of around 12.000.000 people today – requires, Ladies and Gentlemen, from each and everyone of us, respect, responsibility and consistency in its preservation and dissemination for future generations.

Since its establishment, SAE does not deal with the issue of Greek language in a short term basis but long term, having a vision, working actively with the Greek state, the academia and competent bodies.

We support the great effort which is launched by the Minister in this critical area, with her initiative for the teaching of the Greek Language in 400 centers worldwide, and the restructuring of the Educational System, which will take place after pre-conferences and meetings with the Greek Diaspora, whilst a rational management of human resources will be implemented, taking into account the needs of each area, especially those requiring special attention, whilst making use of Educators of the Diaspora.

The issue of Greek Studies chairs, as well as the operation of certain departments of Greek Universities abroad – including the Greek Quarter in Alexandria, which is another initiative of Ms. Diamantopoulou – gives us hope.

We support the idea for the establishment of a National Council for Language, which is indeed a splendid initiative which is directly connected to the present Workshop, as well as the new curriculum, which will be piloted in 700 schools, the use of digital technology, the broadening of the Certificate of Attainment in Greek, as well as the issue regarding detached educators.

We await with great interest the following October, the new draft law on Education in Greek abroad, a fact which further reinforces our optimism. We are ready and will participate in the consultation process for the development of a new, modern and effective framework for Education in the Diaspora.

I consider that the three pillars of “Language – History – Culture” are moving towards the right direction. The key is cooperation with all competent bodies, first and foremost, the Ministries of Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs, with which SAE is closely cooperating. We are ready to contribute with all our forces to the State, in this critical time.

I am certain that this Meeting will lay the grounds for a new beginning in the field of Greek Education, especially with regards to the Greek Diaspora, as it is reflected by the object of discussion of the majority of Working Groups, since the following issues will be discussed in detail, regarding the Teaching of the Greek Language not only as a Mother Language, as well as in the Education of the Diaspora and Chairs of Greek Studies of Universities outside Greece, as well as the promotion of the “Certificate of Attainment in Greek” and the integration of new technologies in language teaching.

Dear friends, I will conclude my brief greeting with a verse of Odysseus Elytis from “Axion Esti”:

“I was given the Hellenic tongue
my house a humble one on the sandy shores of Homer.
My only care my tongue on the sandy shores of Homer.”

I wish you success in your Workshop and I thank you for your attention.

Stefanos P. Tamvakis

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