NEW YORK – The Eastern Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA) Hellenic Republic Voting and the Diaspora webinar panel discussion on January 15. The informative discussion, introduced and moderated by EMBCA founder and President Lou Katsos, featured insights into the topic from the distinguished panelists including author/poet Nicholas Alexiou, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the American Hellenic Project (HAP); author and historian Alexander Billinis; Hellenic Independent Politician and Former Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis; Stavros Basseas, PhD, President and CTO of Nantsound; and Fotis Kapetopoulos, head of Kape Communications and senior writer/consultant for Neos Kosmos (English edition).
Katsos noted in his introduction that “in a historic, although restrictive step, some Hellenes living abroad will for the first time be able to vote under new guidelines.”
“Up until December 2019 Hellenic citizens permanently living abroad and who were on the electoral roll of Hellas could only vote in a national election if they traveled to Hellas to vote and the ability to vote in one’s permanent residency abroad had been a long standing demand of politically active first generation Hellenes in the Diaspora for decades,” Katsos continued. “The political confrontations and the public discussion in Hellas, regarding the voting rights for Hellenes Abroad is revealing in many ways of the current nature of the relationship between the ‘mother’ country and its Diaspora, and in the Diaspora regarding Hellas.”
Professor Alexiou gave the first presentation offering his insights into the Greek-American community and how immigration has changed over time.
Former Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis spoke in Greek about the need for more communication between the Diaspora and the homeland to find common ground moving forward.
Billinis spoke about the history of the Diaspora Greeks and also about his own personal experience as an American citizen and a citizen of Hydra, Greece, his home island.
Dr. Basseas spoke about the new voting law, noting that he did not expect more than the current number of registered voters from the Diaspora Greeks, about 3500-4000. He also shared examples from his own family of the ethical and legal limitations of the new law and offered his thoughts on what can be done to improve the law.
Kapetopoulos joined in the discussion from Australia and offered his insights on the Diaspora, noting that he “doesn’t expect anything anymore from Greece, what I do expect, at least, is a simpler tax system, the ability for me to be able to invest in Greece when I want to, a simpler process of getting a passport… and I find it fascinating that all the Greek parties are deeply concerned of the impact we may have on their voting.”
The video of the discussion is available on EMBCA’s YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/3Hcnz4I.
Katsos, in his concluding remarks, noted that the conversation will continue in upcoming events and invited everyone to join the next online panel discussion which will focus on George Kastriotis/ Skanderbeg (1405-January 17, 1468) the Prince of Epirus, on Sunday, January 29, 2 PM ET.
More information is available online: https://embca.com.