Two Greek officials – one from the government and the other from the main opposition party – addressed the diaspora on Wednesday afternoon.
“We want you back,” Greece’s Deputy Minister for Greeks Abroad Konstantinos Vlasis said, echoing the sentiment of other government officials, including Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself during an event organised as part of the Open Dialogue Series. And, in another virtual conference, it was main opposition Radical Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) deputy Theodora Tzakri, shadow for the diaspora, who addressed the community at an event organised by the Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies of the University of Sydney.
Despite the opposite political angles, both Ms Tzakri and Dr Vlasis considered the importance of Greek language learning in the Antipodes. Τhe SYRIZA deputy made numerous suggestions for keeping language alive in the Antipodes, such as “training up” Greek Australians and the creation of a teaching academy for Greek language rather than sending out Greek educators on secondment.
Dr Vlasis spoke of digitisation of programs, such as the staellinika platform and the books and educators made available for the diaspora.
Regarding the constitutional right of the diaspora to vote, Dr Vlasis admitted that the conservatives failed to achieve the primary goal of Greeks voting from their place of residence without restrictions “due to the opposition of political parties”, but Ms Tzakri said SYRIZA supported “Greeks abroad having a voice”. Her party supports the creation of four representatives for the diaspora, permanently based abroad, one in Europe, another in North and South America, Oceania and another representing other countries.
“This proposal would give Greeks abroad voting rights without distinctions and limitations,” she said.