Repowering Greece

Repower Greece is the latest campaign setting out to win hearts and minds, but what must it do to make a real difference, and how do we get involved?

18 months ago, Athens-based communications strategist Alexandros Costopoulos created Repower Greece – an international public diplomacy campaign that seeks to confront the world’s negative perceptions of Greece and her people.
Neos Kosmos shares a Q&A session with Costopoulos on his crusade to recast Greece’s identity.
What’s at the heart of the Repower Greece campaign?
It’s rooted in our conviction that redefining Greece and restoring our credibility should not rely on a superficial re-branding or changing of mottos, but rather on clear messages and facts that justify our commitment to work diligently, forge solutions and move forward with a renewed result-oriented mind-set.
What we’re doing is crafting these messages out of the ingenuity and creativity that abound, as reflected in stories from key sectors of our economy, education and civil society.
Through a variety of events and programs with academic institutions, community organisations and think-tanks across the world, these stories offer clear evidence that Greece is not the failures or special interests of the few, but rather the talents and achievements of the many.
How does the campaign work and in what way can the diaspora get involved?
We’re a volunteer grass roots initiative, open to everyone, designed in such a way that any public or private organisation, academic institution, company or media can join the campaign and spread the word to their own network.
Although not targeted exclusively to Greek diaspora it is obvious that people around the globe with Hellenic roots – just like those in Australia – can play a critical role in the success of our initiative and in transforming it to a social movement. Whether a teacher, a journalist, a student or any professional, anyone can engage in our campaign with easy ways of communicating the messages, facts and stories of the real Greece.
So what practically can people do?
Talk about Repower Greece with your friends, family and broader network and mobilise them to engage.
Promote the campaign through your social networks and social media by sharing posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Repowergreece, tweeting by using hashtag #RepowerGreece and following us on Twitter. Download one of our flyers from www.repowergreece.com and post it on your college/university. Take a picture of it and post that picture on the internet. Its impact will surprise you!
You can also start up your own local Repower Greece committee and host discussion events with ideas to repower Greece and empower our youth.
You’ve recently been involved with academic institutions in the US. What did those sessions achieve?
Repower Greece is a public diplomacy campaign relying on forging a genuine dialogue with its key audiences – whether these are tomorrow’s leaders or think-tanks, opinion-influencers or policy makers.
The US Academic Talks listened to concerns and shared ideas. We invited groups of students and professors to prepare specific proposals on vital issues with regard to Greece’s future. It was remarkable, whether in Harvard, MIT, Columbia, CCNY or any other of the participating institutions we heard concrete, well-prepared and results-oriented proposals demonstrating not simply an interest but a commendable desire to participate in our collective effort to move forward.
What can be achieved by the network Repower Greece has created? How can it overcome negative images?
Repower Greece managed to become a platform where civil society, private and public organizations, corporations, NGOs, universities and schools are getting together to exchange ideas, resources and networks and allow tactical solutions to flourish. Repower Greece reflects the power of all the things that we can achieve together.
From a communications/perceptions management point of view, to overcome negative stereotypes or our own negative image, we need to restore our credibility through stories and facts which justify that Greece, just like any other country, cannot be defined by the mistakes, interests or incompetence of the few, but from the creativity, talents and achievements of the many – our strengths, accomplishments, triumphs … our philotimo and ingenuity. That’s how we can redefine, empower or repower our country.
What plans do you have for the future?
We’ll continue looking for local partners and friends in other countries, and expand our Academic Talks series – hopefully soon in Australia. At the same time we’ll continue to outreach domestically – gathering Repower stories and enhancing our ‘Views of Tomorrow’s Leaders’ program – aimed at empowering the youth and safeguarding them from a crushing negativity that prevails in Greece in these challenging times.
What message do you have for Greek Australians?
Regardless of the immense suffering that the majority of the Greek people face in their everyday life, the real opportunity of the current societal crisis is that we can rebuild our country upon a new set of values and priorities, and leave behind obsolete and self-interested perceptions and repower our country with renewed perceptions.
We are determined to move forward and your ideas, expertise, insight and participation can contribute significantly in this effort. Once we find ways to connect, to come and work together, we will be able to forge solutions. Repower Greece is one such way.