The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) is to be reformed after a recent meeting by the deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Konstantinos Tsiaras with the governing council of the organisation. SAE was formed in 1995 to consult and advise the Greek state on issues concerning Greeks abroad. Its Oceania branch is comprised of local Australian and New Zealand organisations. The fortunes of SAE, an entity completely funded by the Greek government, have ebbed low of late, due to the financial crisis in Greece. It was therefore decided that: 1. A slim-line committee, chaired by a representative of the Greek Attorney General’s Office and be comprised of members of the governing council of SAE, members of the Foreign Ministry and the Secretariat for Greeks Abroad is to be formed. Within two months, it will submit draft legislation outlining reforms in the organisation’s structure and operation. 2. The draft legislation will be submitted for discussion and review by ‘Greeks abroad’ after which time it will be put before parliament to be enacted in the usual manner. 3. Upon the legislation being passed by Parliament, the election of a new governing council for SAE will take place without delay. The Deputy Foreign Minister and the governing council of SAE are at great pains to point out that the new SAE shall be entirely self-funded, it shall be open to participation by and will represent all Greeks abroad and will act as an umbrella organisation for all existing Greek organisations throughout the world. Deputy Foreign Minister Tsiaras also raised the possibility that the governing council of SAE may be increased by nine members, these being “outstanding Greek personalities who reside abroad”. It remains unclear whether these will be appointed or elected as details of the proposed structure are yet to be determined. The prospect of a restructure of SAE was met with mixed emotions by representatives of its SAE Oceania Branch. While most welcomed the need for reform, delegates opined that the structure of Greek communities around the world in the global age is complex. Issues such as mixed marriages, language loss, the fact that the majority of the community here in Australia is disengaged from the local organisations currently recognised by the Greek government as representing them all need to be taken into account when determining who will be represented on the Council. Some delegates also expressed reservations about SAE’s advisory role to the Greek state on issues concerning Greeks abroad. One prominent delegate stated: “In the past, the mechanisms to provide advice simply did not work. Any new legislation will have to set out exactly how this new body is supposed to advise the Greek government, whether such advice will be binding and what redress is available to SAE should the Greek government not take its advice”. Concern was also expressed with regards to the method in which the proposed new legislation will be provided to the local community for comment, especially considering that SAE local branches exist diverse communities of Greeks throughout the world, all with different concerns and interests. “Who will review this document?” one local delegate asked. “Will it be an open forum or via written submission? If we are not happy with the proposals is there any scope for making change? None of these things are clear.” As the reform of the World Council of Greeks Abroad appear to be in its infancy, the consensus among Oceania SAE delegates is a cautious optimism for change, and the hope that the necessity for the existence of a worldwide network of unity will overcome any teething problems the revamped organisation will experience.