“Who Represents the Hellenic Diaspora? : SAE and Current Hellenic Republic Legislation” Panel Discussion

Join us for EMBCA's “ Who Represents the Hellenic Diaspora ? : SAE /Συμβούλιο Απόδημου Ελληνισμού / World Council of Hellenes Abroad, and Current Hellenic Republic Legislation” Panel Discussion Webinar on Thursday March 18, at 12 P.M. EST (6 P.M.Athens EEST). The panel for this unique event will be introduced and moderated by Lou Katsos, EMBCA's President/Founder. The distinguished panel will include Entrepreneur Stefanos P. Tamvakis, elected member of the Board of Directors of both the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit and Business Foundations, and former President of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE); Entrepreneur Tassos Terzidis President of Lion Design Hellas and former General Secretary of the Federation of Pontian Societies of Greece, and Member of the Pontian Studies Think Tank ; Author/ Poet Nicholas Alexiou Professor of Sociology and Director of the Hellenic American Project at Queens College; Genocide Scholar Dr. Panayiotis Diamadis and Historian/ Translator Dr. Marina Frangos. Discussions have taken place in the Hellenic Republic Parliament and legislation passed relating to a new/ re-created "SAE/Συμβούλιο Απόδημου Ελληνισμού / World Council of Greeks Abroad. The legislation for the Hellenic diaspora, Hellenic government outreach, or who was representing the diaspora in those discussions with Hellenic politicians around this legislation is not known by most Hellenes in the diaspora, nor has it appeared in the Hellenic American press. "Who Represents the Hellenic Diaspora" in the title is being asked rhetorically. It is the hope as a transparent diaspora community service this panel discussion will help demystify the current legislation, and lead to more research and discussions on this very important topic.

A little background. The Hellenic diaspora (Ὁμογένεια) , is one of the oldest and largest in the world, with a continued presence from Homeric times to the present and has played a very important role in Hellenic history. Currently the total number of Hellenes living abroad is uncertain depending on studies and definitions with estimates varying from about three million or so to about seven million worldwide. Assimilation and loss of the Hellenic language has influenced that definition in studies including factors such as intermarriage , assimilation and self-identification. The World Council of Hellenes Abroad known as SAE or in the Hellenic Συμβούλιο Απόδημου Ελληνισμού, ΣΑΕ) was originally founded in 1995 in Thessaloniki following the passing of Hellenic Republic law no. 3480/2006. It was given an advisory role to the Hellenic state on matters relating to the Hellenic Diaspora/ Omogeneia. It was anticipated to be the main body representing people of Hellenic ethnic descent living outside the boundaries of the Hellenic state. It's stated main goal was to "bring together the Hellenes of the Diaspora creating a global Network aimed at planning and materializing programmes for the benefit of the Hellenic diaspora to be subsequently conveyed to the Hellenic State thus fulfilling its role as an advisory/consultative body". It had a brief history for a number of reasons which will be explored in this panel discussion and at its peak it did have youth camps and academic conferences, humanitarian projects and political lobbying coupled with some active participation of the diaspora. Over the last few years there had been numerous discussions about restructuring it with new legislation. The new / recreated SAE/Συμβούλιο Απόδημου Ελληνισμού/ World Council of Hellenes Abroad legislation was passed in the Hellenic Parliament (158 votes out of 300) on February 26, 2021. It was publicized in the past by various Hellenic governments that the new legislation would ensure transparency while maximising engagement.