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Message of Dr.Olga Sarantopoulos  Secretary of the World
Council of Hellenes Abroad on the start of the new school year
Vienna12.09.2011

The school year starts today, marking a new chapter in the lives of young people and providing a fascinating journey to knowledge. This year’s season is amid an unprecedented economic crisis that permeates the social and cultural fabric of our society; it begins with several problems that limit our expectations.  We are confronted with new challenges, new anxieties and new hopes.

Education is the key motivator and strength of any organized State; it is the road to progress, social welfare, and culture. It is directly related to the future of our country. Our rich heritage is based on values ​​and principles of proper education as a prerequisite for the moral advancement of the spiritual maturity of the individual.

Today, in an era where the 21st century brings sweeping changes in the thought and actions of the people, the conquest of the Knowledge Society can build a model of education put forward by the Greek tradition and heritage. The educational process should be based on the values ​​of the balance between intellectual and physical development, critical thinking, innovation, inspiration, and creativity.

The school of the future for which everyone is talking is not an invention today, but Greek heritage.  It is a school open to society and open to knowledge. A school that will create a restless young spirit, will also enable the cultivation of talents and skills of the new generation.

The Greek Omogenia around the world carries the struggle for the preservation of Greek-language education and the proper functioning of the schools. Together with the help and support of the Greek-Orthodox Church, community and organizations along with the Greek State, the Omogenia aims to preserve Greek identity, language and culture. The network of Greek schools operating throughout the world and attended by thousands of students of second, third and fourth generation Greek origin are directly affected by the crisis. They are stripped of teachers, lack textbooks, and are threatened with elimination.

I therefore call on all Hellenes around the world, all the relevant bodies, our Church, organizations of Greeks, and philhellenes, to support with all their strength our schools. And I call on the Greek State to embrace the children of the Omogenia in these difficult times and to offer the possibility to the schools to continue their valuable work, as the most important chapter for the Greeks Abroad is to preserve our identity, the language, the values ​​of our tradition, our religion, elements that differentiate us as a people with its own, separate path in history.

I encourage everyone, students, parents, teachers, clergy, and especially the Greek State to refer to messages, institutions and values ​​taught by our culture, enabling the new generation to share our rich heritage with the world.

For the future of Hellenism, for the future of our country, for the future of our children, for the continuity of our culture.

 
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