A detailed “mapping” of the far-flung Greek Diaspora and expatriate communities around the world in order to strengthen ties with the homeland, in tandem with better promoting Greek national positions abroad, features as one of the foreign affairs ministry’s goals for 2024. The latter is expected to be included in a “long-term strategic plan” for Greeks living abroad.

The plan will come up for approval by the Cabinet in a coming meeting before being posted – for all interested parties – for public debate and deliberation.

One key provision in the planning is the creation of an online platform to finally register expatriate and ethnic Greek organizations, along with a catalogue of distinguished people of Greek descent. The online platform is part of the government’s efforts to have a more precise and timelier picture of the Diaspora’s activities, such as the particulars of community leaders, the location of organizations, clubs etc. Another goal is to better coordinate with the Diaspora over lobbying in favor of Athens’ positions and challenges on the world stage.

Another simultaneous registration, part of the digital transformation of consular services, potentially involves every Greek citizen living abroad, as the latter are called upon to voluntarily submit contact information on an online platform when they seek consular services.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has already spoken over the need to reinforce the “footprint” of ethnic Greeks and Greek-descent individuals abroad, both on the international stage and vis-à-vis Greece itself. Speaking over the recent period, Mitsotakis referred to “ambassadors of the homeland in the countries where you are flourishing; bridges of communication with the peoples there.”

The specific four-year strategic plan (2024-27) will be unveiled after this week’s passing of a bill allowing Greek citizens to cast postal votes from their place of residence in European Parliament elections and national referendums.

According to reports, Foreign Affairs Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis and Deputy Minister Giorgos Kotsiras will present a “road map” at a Cabinet meeting with targeted actions along five main axes: everyday life (using digital services etc.), Greek-language learning (with the use of AI in new interactive tools), culture (with the strengthening of bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation), education (especially dealing with ‘brain drain’) and Orthodoxy (such as strengthening of ties with ecclesiastical institutions of Orthodoxy abroad).

Reducing distances

In terms of the first axis, i.e. improving the daily life of Greeks abroad and reducing the their “distance” with the homeland, information shows that the creation of a special mobile phone application is progressing, allowing users to access numerous services, along with the recording of issues concerning the Diaspora on gov.gr platform.

Another axis is the promotion of Greek-language learning through modern methods and digital tools. Within this context, the “Staellinika” platform is already up and running after it was launched in autumn 2020. The latter provides free materials for individual users as well as schools.

For instance, a digital learning tool became available last week for French and German speakers, joining the already available tool for English, Spanish and Portuguese-speakers.

At the same time, according to reports, contacts are underway with all Greek embassies in order to achieve the greater promotion of events around the world on the occasion of World Day of the Greek Language, which is annually celebrated on Feb. 9.

*By Eleni Evaggelodimou, Journalist at Ta Nea & To Vima